Saturday, October 12, 2019

Mudhoney Digital Garbage and Mark Arm interview & Show # 796

In September 2018, Mudhoney released their 10th full-length studio album titled Digital Garbage. The album is ripe with a political slant on the current state of the world attacking, questioning and addressing the perils of everything from social media to alt-right politics. Underneath all of this, Digital Garbage simmers with garage, punk and post punk influences that help to sharpen the message being delivered here. Recorded with longtime collaborator Johnny Sangster at Litho studio in Seattle, Digital Garbage follows 2013’s Vanishing Point, a series of singles and 2018’s live album LIE.

“Nerve Attack” opens Digital Garbage. With its stop and start guitar and bass riffs, Mark Arm and Mudhoney open this album placing the listener into a certain state with lyrics such as “All my atoms are vibrating faster/Don’t you touch/Because I will shatter” and “My skin is cracking and so is my brain/Can’t catch my breath/Get outta my way/I think I’m under a nerve attack” that empathize an uneasy, anxiety driven outlook. “Paranoid Core” drives even further with its dark, sarcastic lyrics mixed with punk dynamics. Released as the first single from Digital Garbage, “Paranoid Core” is one of the strongest songs on this record. “Please Mr. Gunman” has lyrics that were inspired by a TV news response to a 2017 church shooting, addressing consumerism, education and religion with an aggressive musical approach, “Kill Yourself Live” is a song that balances a Devo “Gut Feeling” influence with Mudhoney’s garage dynamics, lyrically the song is festering with lyrics that are so tongue-in-cheek about the like-culture that has generated itself in our modern times that the tongue cuts like a razor blade. At the end of the song, the lyrics state “And you’ll live on in digital garbage/Lest we forget” as the music levitates with a 60’s/? and the Mysterians inspired organ with freighting effect. “Night and Fog” comes in slowly with a post punk inspired bassline played by Guy Madison as Dan Peters drifts in with drum rolls and crashes, all of this builds with Steve Turner and Mark Arm’s guitar, feedback and Arm’s vocals. Near the end of the song, a Mark Arm wail brings us into a storm of feedback and heavy guitar, bass and drums ala Black Sabbath.

“21s Century Pharisees” features different time signatures in the verses with woozy, sweeping synthesizer parts played by Guy Madison. “21st Century Pharisees” and the psychedelically acoustic “Messiah’s Lament” take on Christian conservatism. “Hey Neanderfuck” features scuzzy guitar riffs and the lyrics “Thanks for inflicting your misery/On the rest of us” and “All the oxycontin in the world/Won’t make your pain go away” that focus on a society created by certain types of people in power and the mess we have to deal with. The song’s title originates from a skit on a 70’s National Lampoon comedy album. “Prosperity Gospel” pours into a compelling intensity with its staccato guitar parts and punk energy that pinpoints onto the worship of the rich in America, while “Next Mass Extinction” is a slow blues dirge, featuring harmonica (played by Steve Turner), as lyrically the song states that “Nothing will replace us/In the next mass extinction”. The song offers no answers, but throws the listener into the void of the present and the unknown with its bleak criticism. “Oh Yeah” ends Digital Garbage with a short punk blast bringing in a form of optimism. With lyrics such as “I want to carve/I want to glide/I want to get in the ocean and clear my mind”, “Oh Yeah” celebrates with an escapism from all the toxic digital mass that collects in our brains in our daily lives encouraging skateboarding, surfing and riding your bike instead.

For some, hearing that band is doing an album that is politically charged can be dissuading. Mudhoney vents, and questions many themes that are troubling at this point in time, but they aren’t riding their high horse and being preachy on this album. Despite all the bleakness that we face and have to deal with, Mudhoney produce an album that is impassioned with some of their strongest lyrics and music to date. Many reviewers have stated that Mudhoney always sounds the same, but they must not be listening close enough. Yes, Mudhoney sounds like Mudhoney, but they do explore other musical landscapes here. On Digital Garbage, Mudhoney deliver a sound and a fury that rivals their best records.

Listen to Revolution Rock's interview with Mark Arm of Mudhoney here:

Show 796 (Mark Arm Interview):

1. Patti Smith - So You Want to Be (A Rock n' Roll Star)
2. Science is Fiction - Getting Late
3. Fruit Tones - A Bag for Life
4. The Sweater Girls - Pavement
5. Sweet Toothe - Ware
6. Repo Man - May I Interject
7. The Muffs - Red Eyed Troll
8. Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick
9. Mudhoney - Chain That Door


10. The Monkeywrench - Look Back
11. Mudhoney - Nerve Attack
12. Mudhoney - One Bad Actor


13. Mudhoney - Suck You Dry
14. Mudhoney - Poisoned Water
15. Big Thief - Shoulders
16. Saba Lou - Telepathetic
17. The Sylvia Platters - Boseelagerstrasse
18. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Rover and Rusty
19. The Vondells - El Duello
20. Shotgun Jimmie - The New Sincerity
21. Paul Jacobs - Easy (Warmer Weather)
22. Paul Jacobs - Picture in the Paper
23. Dream Cars - Without a Name
24. John Coltrane - Village Blues (Take 3)
25. Mudhoney - I Like it Small
26. Mudhoney - Editions of You (BBC Session)

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

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Wolfmanhattan Project and An Interview With Kid Congo Powers & Show # 795

Wolfmanhattan Project is a band made up of Mick Collins (The Gories, The Dirtbombs), Kid Congo Powers (The Cramps, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Gun Club and The Pink Monkey Birds) and drummer Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, Lydia Lunch’s Retrovirus) that first had a single out in in 2015. The single which featured the song “Smells Like You” backed with “You Are My Glue”, was described on In The Red Records website as “trashy, swampy, sleazy, damaged music you'd expect from the gentlemen involved." In April of 2019, a full-length album was released from this group entitled Blue Gene Stew. This long awaited debut album creates its own musical atmosphere with elements of garage, punk and no wave. Lyrically, the music often ventures into sci-fi obsessions, conspiracy theories and a psychedelic trippiness.

Blue Gene Stew starts off with “Delay Is The Deadliest”. Sung by Bob Bert, the song features off kilter guitar riffs travelling into punk and no wave territory while lyrically Bert rants over top. “Now Now Now” digs into a deeper psychedelic groove. Kid Congo Powers vocals levitate above the dual guitar attack that he and Collins deliver with the words “What you say is what you do now/Cause what you say is what you do now now now” that repeat themselves in a hallucinogenic fashion. “Braid of Smoke” floats into the listener’s subconscious with a gritty, R&B psych style as Collins sings visual, abstract lyrics. The song ends in an explosion of drums and distorted guitar solos. “I Feel You” features sci-fi sounding effects with cowbell and primal drums throughout this rockabilly rave-up with raunchily poetic lyrics supplied by Powers, “Sticky” is a sleazy garage song with lyrics projecting a modern day paranoia, “Jar in a Suitcase” revels in its strangeness. Featuring Lydia Lunch, the song portrays an experimental spooky, sci-fi funky aesthetic as Lunch and Collins trade off vocals, while “Silver Sun” deflects a grimy garage aesthetic.

“Toynbee Tiles” unwinds itself with the tale of the mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. These tiles began appearing mysteriously in US major cities in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Although their origin is still unknown, these tiles were found embedded in the asphalt in the streets of about two dozen US major cities and places in South America. They bore the message “Toynbee idea/In 2001 movie/Resurrect the dead/On planet Jupiter.” This message appears throughout this song in different variations, sung by Bob Bert in a chant-like way between complex samba rhythms, strange Doppler sound effects and pitch altered vocals that move with a beat poetry make up putting the listener into a trance-like state. The song explores a futuristic, yet surrealist sonic soundscape that could easily apply itself to our modern day outlook of the world. “Last Train to Babylon” ends Blue Gene Stew. This song brings forth a sort of distracted blues with psychedelic sounding guitar effects as the drums hold down the centre. Lyrically, Collins sings, “Flying saucers landing now/Deliver us the newborn king,” and “The towers of Babylon are burning/Board the train and seal the deal” stressing the need for something new among the ongoing chaos and destruction.

Recorded over several sessions, Blue Gene Stew features baritone guitars. This type of guitar differs from a standard guitar. It is a deeper sounding guitar with a longer scale length. The album also features standard guitar, along with drums and other instruments that all add to the overall sound of Blue Gene Stew. While their previous musical foundations still permeate the music on this album, Blue Gene Stew is not exactly what you might expect from Mick Collins, Kid Congo Powers and Bob Bert. With Blue Gene Stew, Wolfmanhattan Project explores a different musical landscape. It is one weird, wild trip that you won’t be able to forget you took.

Listen to Revolution Rock's Interview with Kid Congo Powers here:

Show 795 (Kid Congo Powers Interview):

1. Wilco - Everyone Hides
2. Surf Curse - River's Edge
3. Angel Olsen - What It Is
4. Kurt Vile (Featuring The Sadies) - Baby's Arms
5. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen Speaks
6. Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds - Rare as the Yeti


7. Gun Club - Eternity Is Here
8. The Cramps - Rockin' Bones
9. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - City of Refuge


10. Wolfmanhattan Project - Now Now Now
11. Teenanger - Bank Account
12. Psychic Void - Dirty Hands (CJAM Session)
13. The Leather Uppers - 1000 Lashes
14. Orville Peck - Winds Change
15. Bloodshot Bill - Be My Own
16. Light Bulb Alley - Roads Must Part
17. Wax Mannequin - Chance to Dance
18. Women - Locust Valley
19. The Cramps - Thee Most Exalted Potentate of Love (Live)
20. Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds - La Arana

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 5.