Saturday, May 23, 2020

Snapshot Of A Beginner: An Interview with Nigel Chapman of Nap Eyes & Show # 830

Nap Eyes fourth full-length album Snapshot Of A Beginner was released in March 2020 on Jagjaguwar/Royal Mountain/Paradise Of Bachelors. While the last album 2018’s I’m Bad Now, drew on existential and themes of a cosmic nature, Snapshot Of A Beginner continues this thread of themes. Introspection is ever present in the music of Nap Eyes. The music and lyrics of Nap Eyes have a way of identifying with the listener in a personal way, as if the songs are about them. Musically, Nap Eyes have drawn comparisons to bands such as The Velvet Underground, Television, The Clean, Leonard Cohen, this one comes into its own also adding elements of bands such as early Walkmen, Yo La Tengo, and the music of David Berman. Production wise, Snapshot of a Beginner was produced by James Elkington and Jonathan Low at The National’s Long Pond Studio. For most of the band’s recorded output they have recorded live off the floor with minimal to no overdubs. This album differs in that aspect adding additional layers to the production of the Nap Eyes sound.

“So Tired” begins in awash of atmospheric synths and acoustic guitars. As the instrumentation builds, surf inflected guitar leads, laid back bass and eager drumbeats, develop among the lyrical themes put forth by vocalist Nigel Chapman. With lyrics such as “And you don’t have an answer for everything/Alright/It’s quite a difficult game/It’s got too many rules” and “I’m so tired/Of trying to recreate”, Chapman lyrics drift in themes of self doubt, confidence and procrastination. When combined with the music featuring the haunting country slides of Brad Loughead, the floating basslines of Josh Salter and intertwining drums of Seamus Dalton, Nap Eyes are propelled forward in a new direction. The very make up of this initial track, captures the listeners attention in a way that only Nap Eyes can.

“Primordial Soup” takes on philosophical contexts as it draws themes from science, religion and questions existence and purpose. In the verses the sparse instrumentation of acoustic guitar, shimmering guitar leads/synthesizers, syrupy basslines and marching drumbeats envelop the listener. As the chorus hits, the pace picks up as words such as “I stood on the edge of the sea/And wondered why all this is around me” ask if meaning, existence and purpose were wondered about even in the earliest stages of primordial life. “Even Though I Can’t Read Your Mind” arrives as track three on Snapshot Of A Beginner. The song draws on indie rock, folk and alt rock sounds as the lyrics question levels of expectations that people expect of each other. “Mark Zuckerberg” the next track on this album, was the first single released for Snapshot Of A Beginner. This jangly rock track features lyrics written by Caleb Glasser (of Halifax’s Fake Buildings). With lyrics such as “Is Mark Zuckerberg a ghost?/Maybe, maybe/Where are his hands?/And why don't you ever see them public?”, the song asks the question of whether Zuckerberg is real or not, while also throwing in details of him collecting sand and people doing hits from a bong made of granny smith apples. The song operates as a character driven song that is funny, but also poignant. There is more out there than in the digital realm. The ending lines of “Transcendence is all around us” carries with it a true introspective weight that is relates to our current times.

“Mystery Calling” features layers of guitar effects, contemplative drums, keyboards, anchoring basslines and vocals that travel in a mellow cloud throughout this song’s five minute and three seconds length. Arriving from the same space as songs such as “Boats Appear” from 2018’s I’m Bad Now, “Mystery Calling” questions the unknown, with cosmic themes and lyrics indicating a desire to move forward, but not knowing exactly how. “Fool Thinking Ways” is a mid-tempo track that arrives at a lyrical epiphany of how change can come in and disappear in an instant amongst a layered musical atmosphere. “If I Were In Prison” scorches with volume sounding somewhere between shoegaze, Guided By Voices and Dinosaur Jr. as it questions what it would like to have freedom found then lost. This song attacks with guitar parts from Brad Loughead as they twist and bend throughout the steady drum and bass rhythm section. “Real Thoughts” features guitar arpeggios ala The Rolling Stones “Paint It Black”, driving bass and drums and lyrics that search for the truth. At the halfway point, the lyrics “But won't you please share your/Real thoughts with me I don't want to be hidden in a shroud/And I don't want to be hidden from those around me”, combine with the Television-esque guitar parts, backing instrumentation and Chapman's vocal delivery for a maximum effect. The song ends in intense feedback and fiery band chemistry.

“Dark Link” was inspired by the video game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. This mellow song dates back to Chapman’s pre-Nap Eyes band days. With lyrics such as “The night wind was picking up/This life never ends/There's no chance of giving up, only/Getting up again”, this song isn’t so much about a video game, but the story it can tell to those that have experienced it. The song delivers messages of hope and enthusiasm, even when there seems to be no hope at all. “When I Struck Out On My Own” is sparse with its musical atmosphere and contemplative lyrics about the fragility of time, while “Though I Wish I Could” ends the album. Combining an up-tempo rock aesthetic with a laid back groove, the song delves into lyrical themes of regret and self-criticism. With Snapshot Of A Beginner, Nap Eyes produce a strongly layered album that is focused, yet critical of itself. Snapshot Of A Beginner never loses the spontaneous, stream of consciousness chemistry of Nap Eyes past as it travels and evolves introspectively and externally.

Listen to an interview that Revolution Rock did with Nigel Chapman of Nap Eyes here:

Show 830 Playlist (Nap Eyes Interview):

1. King Khan - I'm Rich Bitch
2. Daniel Romano's Outfit - Jokerman
3. Nap Eyes - Mark Zuckerberg

Nigel Chapman (of Nap Eyes) Interview Part One

4. Nap Eyes - Roll It
5. Nap Eyes - Dull Me Line

Nigel Chapman (of Nap Eyes) Interview Part Two

6. Nap Eyes - Though I Wish I Could
7. Ed Kuepper - A Trick Or Two
8. Johnny West - Buying Time At The End of the World
9. Alex Chilton - Lost My Job
10. The Illusions - City of People
11. Peach Kelli Pop - Princess Castle
12. Colleen Green - Wild One
13. King Tuff - Magic Mirror
14. Necking - Detective Olivia Benson
15. Downtown Boys - I'm Enough (I Want More)
16. Screaming Females - Soft Domination
17. The Pretty Things - The Journey
18. The Pretty Things - Midnight To Six Man
19. The Pretty Things - L.S.D.
20. Devo - Uncontrollable Urge
21. The Strokes - Selfless
22. Woolworm - Dogman
23. Iggy Pop - Corruption
24. The Avocados - I Never Knew
25. Tough Age - Waiting Here
26. The Distributors - T.V. Me

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 23.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Little Richard & Show # 829

Born as Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932 in Macon, Georgia, Little Richard was a music icon. Along with artists such as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Elvis Presley, he was one of the founding and pioneering musicians that preached rock and roll music. Also known as “The Architect of Rock and Roll,” Little Richard’s combination of rowdy energy, driving piano rhythms, outrageous, gender bending stage presence and often sexually charged lyrics would go on to set a new standard in music. Combining elements of gospel, R&B, boogie-woogie and blues, Little Richard came up with his own brand of music. His raw, unfiltered music appealed to both black and white audiences, which was also something new at the time.

Little Richard had a string of unstoppable hits starting with “Tutti Fruitti” in 1955, but Richard had recorded singles for RCA Victor and Peacock Records prior to this single. His first single in 1951, “Taxi Blues” is considerably tame compared to the power of his early rock singles that were recorded from about 1955 to 1957 and put out on Specialty Records. Interest generated in Richard when he provided a demo of “Tutti Fruitti” to Specialty Records in 1955. The song combined elements of gospel, boogie and blues music. The nonsensical lyrics “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom” were apparently made up while Richard was washing dishes at a job he working at. He also came up with lyrics to the song “Good Golly Miss Molly” this way too. In a 1999 interview with MOJO Magazine, Richard stated: “The effects and rhythms you hear on my songs, I got ’em from the trains that passed by my house. Like ‘Lucille’ came from a train – Dadas-dada-dada-dada, I got that from the train.” If you listen to those early driving rhythms you can hear it. Songs such as “Long Tall Sally”, “Rip It Up”, “The Girl Can’t Help It”, “Jenny Jenny”, “Lucille” and “Keep-A-Knockin’” followed in this 1950s period of songs that Richard released. But towards the end of the 1950s, Little Richard stopped playing rock music and studied to be a preacher. Richard also switched his musical focus to gospel music. He recorded several gospel records, including 1961’s The King of Gospel Singers, which was produced by Quincy Jones.

Little Richard returned to rock music in 1964 with the album Little Richard Is Back (And There's A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On!). He crossed paths with a young Jimi Hendrix at this time, who would become part of his touring band. He is also featured on some recordings with Richard, but not many. Hendrix would go out on his own not too long after this. Although Richard would not have the same charting successes as his early 1950s singles, he continued to record music and tour successfully. He would appear in popular culture throughout the decades that followed, whether in film, TV or in music. His influence on music was enormous. His songs have been covered by many artists that he would also go on to influence such as Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie to name a few. His stage presence and energy would also go on to influence how rock music was presented to audiences. His energetic, flashy presence that would captivate audiences would go on to influence everyone from James Brown to Prince and others. To say that Little Richard was an influence on rock music is an understatement. The music that Little Richard created broke down barriers in music. The scream and howl heard in his music helped to give birth to rock and roll and it continues to be heard all over.

Show # 829 Playlist (Little Richard, Run Coyote, Jon McKiel, Dead Ghosts):

1. Little Richard - It Ain't Whatcha Do (It's The Way How You Do It)
2. Little Richard - I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)
3. Little Richard - Bama Lama Bama Loo
4. Little Richard - The Girl Can't Help It
5. Little Richard - Ready Teddy (Takes 2 & 3)
6. Little Richard - Taxi Blues
7. Little Richard - Little Richard Boogie
8. Little Richard - Long Tall Sally (Live)
9. Little Richard - Jenny Jenny
10. Little Richard - Ohh My Soul
11. Little Richard - Kansas City
12. The Beatles - Lucille (BBC 1963)
13. The Kinks - Long Tall Sally
14. The MC5 - Tutti Fruitti
15. The Marksmen - Scratch
16. Kid Congo Powers - Peanuts
17. Chad VanGaalen - Reformat (Egypto)
18. Mount Eerie - Cooking Pt. 2
19. Numbing - Body
20. Jon McKiel - Mourning Dove
21. Run Coyote - Private Eye
22. The Squires - Aurora
23. The Northwest Company - Get Away From It All
24. Scorpio Tube - Yellow Listen
25. Dead Ghosts - Freak
26. Matt Ellis - My Neighbourhood Is A Dump
27. Matt Ellis - Missing You
28. Chance & Jackie - Dark Spots
29. Dead Ghosts - Merle
30. The Pack AD - Gas Station Food
31. Lie - All Night Long
32. X - I See Red
33. X - Delta 88 Nightmare
34. Bob Dylan - False Prophet

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 16.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

The Nelsons: An Interview & Show # 828

The Nelsons formed when two Windsor punk bands merged together. Often called the first supergroup in Windsor, The Nelsons were made up of two parts of the band The Spy’s (guitarist Dale D’Amore and bassist “Coma Joe” Desrameaux) and two parts of the band The Hardtops (guitarist/vocalist Dom D’Amore and drummer Dave Garant). While the band had punk leanings, The Nelsons took a more rock based approach to their music drawing influences from the 50s and 60s having a sound once described as “heavy, but fast, rock and roll, easily danceable and very entertaining” in an article in The Lance in 1981. This band is often mentioned in articles about The Spy’s and other Windsor bands from the early 80s time period such as The Dry Heaves, but not too much is known about them.

The Nelsons played live in places in Windsor, Detroit and London, Ontario from about 1981 until about 1985-1986. They built up a following and had different lineup changes throughout their existence. Bassist Joe Desrameaux left the band before they made it into the studio to make any recordings. Dom D’Amore would switch to bass (his original instrument of choice in The Hardtops), guitarist Shawn McAiney would join on guitar and Dale would leave the band after a few years to move onto other musical pursuits. Following the split, various members of the band went on to be part of or form other bands. Dale has been playing with Guitar Army since the 90s. This band has featured members from this time period and others (Dave Garant currently plays drums in this group). The Nelsons never officially released any music, but their live shows are often talked about. It’s just one of those things. You had to be there.

Continue reading for an interview that Revolution Rock with Dale D’Amore (guitarist) and Dom D’Amore (vocalist/guitarist/bassist) of The Nelsons. They provide insights into The Nelsons band history, recording and playing live.

RR: How and when did The Nelsons form, who was in the band and how did you come up with the band name?

Dale: Well the Spy’s were about done and Coma Joe and I wanted to keep working together. The Hardtops were packing it in so it was perfect. Joe and I hooked up with my brother Dom and Dave Garant from the Hardtops to form The Nelsons. I always thought the first lineup could be like Sonics Rendezvous Band, playing hard, fast rock and roll.

The name I think came from Frank Carlone [singer/guitarist in The Spy’s]. I am not too sure on that.

Dom: I think it was 1981 when the Nelson’s formed… if not, it’s close. Seems like an eternity ago. I have no recollection of how we came up with the name. I’ve spent the last several decades believing it was my idea… but now I’m not sure. Lol! I had a punk band called The Hardtops and Dale of course had The Spy’s. Both bands began to wither from within and The Hardtops drummer Dave Garant and I merged with Dale and Joe Desrameaux from The Spy’s. I was playing bass but was happy to move to guitar in The Nelsons since Joe really wanted to stay on bass. Not sure if he played a six string back in the day?

RR: Did The Nelsons ever release any recordings at all officially and what was it like trying to make recordings back then as compared to now? Were there plans to put out a single or an album at the time?

Dom: There were several versions of The Nelsons over time, but I don’t think there was a studio recording with the original lineup. Joe left the band, I moved to the bass and a better guitar player, Shawn McAiney joined. Good guy, a friend. God, we all went to the same high school. This is what I remember anyway. Dale tends to hold this stuff closer to the heart than I do. He may remember it differently… and he’ll likely be correct.

Dale: No release of anything that I know of. I wanted to put out a record, but we had no money and the economy was a mess. Not too many people were buying records because no one had work. Recording was harder I think, you needed big tapes and so on, now it's all done on a computer, you can record anyplace it seems now. We were working on getting gigs, I mean nowadays you send out an electronic press kit and book shows somewhere. Back then you had to make long distance calls. We had a couple of managers who got us gigs in Detroit and London, Ontario. We were to tour with The Romantics but it all fell a part.

RR: The Nelsons did play live a lot. Do you have any particular memorable live moments from your years with this band that you’d be willing to share?

Dom: Well it’s probably no surprise, but I don’t think I was ever sober when we gigged. Not polluted drunk, but definitely altered so it’s hard to pick a particular moment. We were playing mostly originals, so we were often relegated to some pretty raunchy places that didn’t really understand us… like The Cedar Lounge in London ON. I suppose some of the highlights would be playing in Michigan at a couple of punk bars called Nunzio’s and the once famous Bookies Club 870.

Dale: Well we did play a lot. I liked the gigs out of town we were doing lots of originals and cool covers. I remember opening for Teenage Head at Dannys that was cool, and a weeklong gig at Sacs pub at the University of Windsor was real cool.

RR: You recently started a Facebook page for The Spy’s and an old newspaper article was posted not long ago about doing a video for two Nelsons songs. What do you remember about making that video and when was the last time you saw the video?

Dale: Well the bad thing is we never saw the fucking video! I don’t know what happened. The guy held the video up and we kind of forgot about it, that’s what I remember. We did not pay for it so we couldn`t push the guy too much. We did get the audio recording though.

RR: The article also mentions songs that were recorded for this video, “When’s It Gonna End?” and “Company Man”. What can you tell us about these songs that you recorded for this video and how do you feel the music that The Nelsons made differed from your earlier band The Spy’s/The Hardtops?

Dale: Yeah, I wrote “When’s It Going To End?”, it was a funky kind of blues song. I later used the riff for a song called “Rock and Roll Bitch” that I wrote with Jamie Greer for the 2011 Magnificent Bastards album. And “Company Man” was a cool rockabilly type song Dom wrote. I really liked that song. I thought it would have sold lots of records.

For me The Nelsons songs I wrote were a little less punk, more good old rock and roll stuff. Dom wrote some great stuff during that time.

Dom: I wrote “Company Man”. It wasn’t a punk-type song, but more influenced by a couple of English bands that I loved, T-Rex and Status Quo… still love em! The theme was loosely based on a story a journalism prof told me. He worked in PR for Massey Ferguson and other huge companies and talked about how the company wanted you to immerse your entire life and family into the organization.

RR: What do you remember about the Nelsons song "Never Hated Fun" whether recording or otherwise? What was the song writing process like in The Nelsons?

Dom: I remember that Dale wrote it and it was a regular set opener in our live shows. I vaguely remember recording it, but never liked the way I sung it. I think it was about Dale’s angst with the evolution of the punk scene, as it became fashionable.

I wrote songs and Dale wrote songs... I can’t remember if Joe ever wrote any in the band, he wasn’t in it long… and I can’t recall Shawn McAiney writing any either. Dale or I would bring the basic song to practice, show the rest of the band and just build it from there. There was no e-files to send back in those days.

Dale: “Never Hated Fun” was the first song that I wrote for The Nelsons. Coma Joe and I wrote a couple together, one called “Traveling”, kind of a 1960`s tune and another called “Paying Bills” or “Them Bills”, I can't remember, lol. I think Joe played “Them Bills” when he was in Toast with Jamie Greer. It was a kick ass punky tune. “Never Hated Fun” was about the same old faces and places we played and hung out at. There was a big change coming for us as a band and for the whole Windsor Punk scene. Pat Sprague (Hardtops/Guitar Army) always said that that song should be our single. R.I.P. Pat.

The recording was funny it was at Aldon studio and I had a Orange amp 100 watts with a Marshall cabinet that needed to be cranked, but we could not turn up at the studio so the sound is a bit lame.

So when Coma Joe left it was just Dom and I writing songs. I would bring one in and he would bring one and have the boys come up with their parts, but yeah just the two of us writing. Near the end of my time with The Nelsons some of my songs were too punky as I remember hearing, lol. We were playing lots of different places and the band was heading to a new direction. The band did real well after I left I must say, but the focus was not really on original music as much.

RR: What can you tell us about some of the newly discovered songs that you’ve shared with us? How did you rediscover them and do you remember where/when you recorded them?

Dale: The songs are a bit weak at times but really it was a good time for me I was learning so much.

The songs are on tape and I had them put to CD. I don’t have all the recordings. I think we had 8 or 10 songs studio recordings, I hope one of the guys have it. Actually all these recordings are after Coma Joe left (he went on to start a family) and Dom is on bass and Shawn McAiney is on second guitar. I have some live recordings with Coma Joe live at the Cedar Lounge in London Ontario. We do “Machine Shop”,” Underground” and a couple powerhouse tunes we wrote together plus covers of Canned Heat and The MC5.

The songs were recorded at Aldon Studio in West Windsor, same place the video was shot. It was a four-track studio and Don the owner would wear a red sport jacket and be real uptight lol. I don’t think he cared for me much, sneaking in alcohol to the sessions lol. The same studio Contradance did their E.P.

Dom: I can’t find the old tapes I have, though I believe they are in my home somewhere. I remember packing them up when my kids were young and hiding them in a safe place so the kids didn’t get at them. I hid them really good… or my wife chucked them and doesn’t want to admit it. Ha!

RR: How long were The Nelsons a band for and what was the next band you were a part of?

Dale: Well I left in 1982 or 83 not too sure, and Pat Sprague of The Hardtops and later Guitar Army replaced me. They went on to be a very popular band until late 1980`s. I don’t know why they broke up. I went to California and played with a blues band and a punk rock band for a month or two. I came back to Windsor and had a short-lived band with Karen Marrero called Killing Time. Karen went on to front Lost Patrol and I went to Toronto and formed Too Much Too Soon. We had some success in the tough Toronto band market.

Dom: The Nelson’s went on until about 1985 or 86… I think. Dale moved to Toronto at some point to try and make it in the music biz. In the end I was the only original member and I actually had the most fun in that last lineup. We played all the bars and played events around Windsor and Chatham. We still played originals but mostly covers that were danceable rock. We mixed in new stuff, old stuff and originals. We actually had a huge following for a year or two and the members all became good friends. Jerry Raniwsky, drums, Mike Obradovich, guitar and keys, Pat Sprague, lead guitar and me on bass. I played in several bands with Pat and Jerry afterwards.

RR: Dale, the last couple of years you’ve been playing with a few bands. You were in a band with South River Slim briefly and are still playing with Guitar Army. What are your plans next musically?

Dale: Well Guitar Army is still playing and recording, it will be 27 years come November 2020. I play once a month at Phog with Guitar Army or Dale D`Amore and the Home Rockers and all over the Windsor. Lol

We were working on another Show in Las Vegas for May 2020, but this pandemic killed everything for that. I recorded some tracks of songs that I had and was planning to release it at the end of May, but with this shit going on it’s all on hold. Strangely enough I have a song that I recorded a year or so ago titled "I Am The Last One Standing" that was due out and on the album, but it is too close to this lock up we are in to put out. May be real strange.

Here are some additional questions where Dom discusses his time with The Hardtops and The Ronald Reagan Story:

RR: The Hardtops are often mentioned in articles about bands from this time period in Windsor's history. How/when did The Hardtops form and what do you remember of your time with this band? Was there ever any documentation made of the band (through photos or demos/recordings)?

Dom: I had played in a couple of cover rock bands as lead singer prior to The Hardtops. The band immediately prior to The Hardtops was called Legacy. We were playing Van Halen and such. Dale was a budding guitar player and I brought him into the band as the rhythm player. He was really into the punk thing… which I didn’t quite have my head around yet. He left Legacy to start what ended up being The Spy’s. They practiced in the basement of our family home and I went to see a gig or two. I remember thinking it was kind of cool and figured I’d start a band. I was learning to play the guitar as well and found that it was more fun making up my own songs than it was to learn other people’s tunes. Plus you certainly didn’t need to play your instrument well to be accepted in the punk scene and the general simplicity and energy of the music made it a good fit. It was also a time when bands like Toto and Journey were all over the radio, and I couldn’t relate to that stuff. I always liked music that was harder, faster and more on the edge, like Kiss, Rush (early days), Sabbath, Slade… though I did have a couple of guilty pleasures like, Dire Straits and Roxy Music. It seemed like I could get a band on the scene pretty easily. I contacted my high school buds Pat Sprague and Dave Garant. Pat was a great guitar player, and Dave is an awesome drummer. They were both interested so I picked up a bass guitar. I found it much easier to master than the 6-string. I started making up new songs… though I did the writing on the 6-string. We practiced on the abandoned top floor of a place on the corner of Pelissier and Chatham, which at the time was called Fiddler’s (we played there too)… later it was Cadillac Jack's and most recently the Beer Market I think? That was 1978 or 79. Soon we started playing the local punk shows. Lots of fun. We also did a studio recording of about 10 songs… which I can’t locate at the moment.

RR: You played bass on some recordings with one of Frank Carlone’s post Spy’s bands, The Ronald Reagan Story. What do you remember of your brief time being a part of that band, recording with them and playing live shows with them (or being on the same bill with them)?

Dom: OMG. The Ronald Reagan Story was so much fun. Frank wrote the tunes. He was brilliant, particularly his lyrics. Brian Chick (drummer) also wrote one that was on the recording. Oh yeah, we did a studio recording. Again…. wish I could find it.

I can’t remember which band (Hardtops, Nelsons) I was in at the time, but I remember thinking it was weird to be in 2 bands on the same scene… not sure why? So I decided that I would wear a mask and create a character. I had a goalie mask at home… like the one Jason of Friday The 13th fame wore. I utilized that, along with wrestling training gear and called myself Dr. Death. The character was also supposed to be a former pro-wrestler. I had the wrestling gear because I was actually on the U of W wrestling team at the time. Goofy, but great times.

*Listen to this week's episode of Revolution Rock to hear several unreleased songs by The Nelsons*

Show # 828 Playlist (Originally Aired On May 9th, 2020)(The Nelsons, Daniel Romano, METZ, Tony Allen, Kraftwerk and The Stranglers):

1. METZ - Acid
2. Blessed - Thought
3. No Aloha - Work Shirt
4. Dumb - Party Whip
5. The Stranglers - Goodbye Toulouse
6. The Stranglers - No More Heroes
7. The Victims - T.V. Freak
8. The Outcasts - Self Conscious Over You
9. Psychic Void - Small Talk
10. The Tearjerkers - Bus Stop
11. The Quivers - Nice To Meet You
12. The Nelsons - Cub's Boogie
13. The Nelsons - Never Hated Fun
14. The Nelsons - Company Man (Live)
15. The Nelsons - Machine Shop (Live at The Cedar Lounge - London, ON)
16. Don't Bother - Your Head
16. Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin - High School
17. Ty Segall - Cents
18. Kraftwerk - The Robots
19. Kraftwerk - Showroom Dummies
20. Wares - Tether
21. The Clean - Change Your Head
22. Bloodshot Bill - Switch' Gears
23. Daniel Romano - They Haven't Got A Word For That Yet
24. Fela Kuti & Africa 70 - Zombie
25. Torsade - Naïve
26. Fontaines D.C. - Winter In The Sun
27. Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death

Download/listen to this show here!

Saturday, May 02, 2020

X Alphabetland & Shows # 825, 826 & 827

On April 22nd, X released a new album online via their bandcamp page entitled Alphabetland. Originally intended to be released in August, the band and their label Fat Possum pushed up the release date due to the COVID pandemic. Coming as a surprise to fans of the band, this album originated from two main sessions that took place in 2018 and 2020 with producer Rob Schnapf. Alphabetland is also the first full-length album featuring the original members of X in 35 years. It is vital and refreshing. The drums, bass, unfiltered guitars and impassioned poetic vocals capture what people love most about X. Musically, the album sits somewhere near the first two X albums and 1982’s Under The Big Black Sun.

“Alphabetland” opens the album. With its driving bass, drums and unhinged guitar leads from guitarist Billy Zoom, this song features lyrics such as “Tearing up the sidewalks/Pouring wet cement/Erasing your initials/Alphabet wrecked” and “Blue you wear like martyr blue/Atom bomb bruises/Cold War flu”. With the lyrics on this title track, Exene Cervenka and John Doe sing in metaphors that tie the past and the present together, as they evoke a working class/cold war mindset and a sense of finding yourself. “Free” features more space and groove, in-between roots rock and a classic X punk sound. Lyrically, with words such as “Lemme go free/Don’t tell me I can’t”, the song resonates messages of longing and revolt. “Water & Wine” wades in themes of the poor vs. the rich and privilege and division. Musically, this propelling track features another intense 50s rock influenced solo by Billy Zoom and also saxophone also provided by Zoom. With words such as “The divine that defines us /The evil that divides us” and “There’s a heaven and there’s a never/There’s no tomorrow only forever”, the song also draws parallels to our current climate. “Strange Life”, reflects themes of band life, but also features isolation motifs, “I Gotta Fever” is a fast stop and start song that delves into a state of the craziness of love, “Delta 88 Nightmare” is the fastest track found on Alphabetland.

Clocking in at just over a minute and a half, “Delta 88 Nightmare” is a song that first appeared as a demo on the reissue of X’s debut album Los Angeles. The song itself was influenced by the John Steinbeck novel Cannery Row and a road trip that was taken to see “if there might be remnants of those romantic hobos and bohemians up in Monterey.” as X told Rolling Stone in 2019. "Delta 88 Nightmare" was released as a single in 2019. This song and its funky B-side “Cyrano deBerger’s Back”, a song originally found on the 1987 album See How We Are with a slightly different band line up, was recorded with three other tracks that served as the beginnings of Alphabetland. “Star Chambered” with drummer DJ Bonebrake's unshakeable rhythms, jagged guitar riffs and back forth verses between John Doe and Exene Cervenka, finds a social outlaw navigating judgment on themselves. “Angel On The Road” is a memoir of life on the road with lyrics such as “I wish I was someone else/Someone I don’t even know/I wish I was somewhere else/Making angels in the snow” that display an innocence and longing for something different or better.

“Goodbye Year, Goodbye” echoes the chaos of 1981’s Wild Gift. The song lyrically entails an emotionally disjointed New Year’s Eve party that brings forth an unpredictable poignancy. “All The Time In The World” ends Alphabetland. This Beat jazz piano track features a poem recited overtop by Exene Cervenka and guitar work from Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, tying in the band’s connection to the Doors on their first four albums (Ray Manzarek produced those albums). With lines such as “History is just one lost language after another/After another/And when they’re all taken together/We still can’t decipher the past/Or decode the future/We’re just lost without a map” this song changes up the fast paced momentum of Alphabetland as it carries a heavy lyrical weight. Alphabetland brings poetic lyrics and newfound energy to the fold in X’s catalog. It doesn’t try to be something that it’s not, and while it does have similarities to what we love about X’s early music, it doesn’t simply retread old ground here. Alphabetland engraves its own letters into the cement for the past, present and future times.

Show 827 Playlist (Originally Aired On May 2nd, 2020)(X, Joel Plaskett, Damaged Bug):

1. X - Alphabetland
2. X - Sugarlight
3. Redd Kross - Clorox Girls
4. Joel Plaskett - Complicated Love
5. The Diodes - Eaton Square (1982 Outtake)
6. Deperuse - Jungle
7. Randy Newman - Have You Seen My Baby?
8. Andy Shauf - Things I Do
9. Born Ruffians - Breathe
10. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - The Deportees Club
11. The Afghan Whigs - What Jail Is Like
12. Tom Waits - Lie To Me
13. The Sadies & Gord Downie - Goodbye Johnny
14. Chris Knox - Light
15. The Sneaky Feelings - Billy Wild
16. Tall Dwarfs - Get Outta The Garage
17. Sleater-Kinney - All Hands On The Bad One
18. Gum Country - Somewhere
19. Daniel Romano - I'm Afraid of Elevators
20. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead - Baudelaire
21. Paul Jacobs - Animal Farm (Kinks Cover)
22. Dead Ghosts - Blackout
23. Flatworms - Antarctica
24. Damaged Bug - Microminature Love
25. The Strokes - Why Are Sunday's So Depressing
26. The Men - lease Don't Go
27. Port Juvee - Drugstore
28. Lie - LSD
29. Mannequin Pussy - Denial
30. X - Star Chambered
31. X - The Worl'ds A Mess (It's In My Kiss)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 2.

Show 826 Playlist (Originally Aired On April 25th, 2020)(Pottery, Bikini Kill, Bob Dylan, The Sadies & Iggy Pop):

1. Pottery - Take Your Time
2. Pottery - Texas Drums Pt. I & II
3. Bikini Kill - New Radio
4. Bratmobile - Cool Schmool
5. Fiona Apple - Shemeika
6. PJ Harvey - The Wheel
7. Angel Olsen - Forgiven/Forgotten
8. Dick Dale - Surf Beat
9. The Lyrics - So What!!
10. The Moving Sidewalks - 99th Floor
11. Actual Water - She's A Priest
12. Galore - Lemon Tea
13. The Gonks - I'm A Gonk
14. The Pack AD - Shake
15. The Sadies - Strange Birds
16. The Sadies - Wagon Wheel
17. Car Seat Headrest - Martin
18. Elliot Smith - Big Decision
19. Mountain Goats - January 31, 438
20. Bloodshot Bill - Don't Let Go
21. Amos the Kid - What Did You Do
22. Larry Wallis - Police Car
23. Jets of Airs - Telephone Operator
24. Vivian Girls - Most of All
25. Paul Jacobs - Show Me Something
26. Iggy Pop - Play It Safe
27. Iggy Pop - Family Affair
28. Hot Garbage - Easy Believer
29. ROY - Take Off Your Tin Hat
30. Double Date With Death - Copier-Coller
31. Queens of the Stone Age - Head Like A Haunted House
32. Bob Dylan - I Contain Multitudes
33. Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash - Matchbox

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 25.

Show 825 Playlist (Originally Aired On April 18th, 2020)(Nap Eyes, The Chats & Pavement):

1. Double Winter - Cool City
2. Outrageous Cherry - A Bunch Of Lonesome Heroes
3. MC5 - Gold
4. The Gories - Drowning
5. Andre Williams - Pulling Time
6. The Greedy Echoes - Houdini
7. Ray Charles - In The Heat of the Night
8. Wilco - Citizens
9. Fiver - (It Won't Be Long) And I'll Be Hating You
10. Cowboy Junkies - (You Don't Get To) Do It Again
11. Courtney Barnett - Out of the Woodwork
12. Sonic Youth - Sunday (Live In Los Angeles 1998)
13. The Chats - Dine and Dash
14. The Chats - Smoko
15. The Thrill - Memory Wipe
16. Pavement - AT&T
17. Black Flag - Forever Time
18. The Cramps - Psychotic Reaction
19. Port Juvee - Hope To Lose
20. Elephant Stone - House On Fire
21. Calvin Johnson & The Sons of the Soil - Lies Goodbye
22. The Gruesomes - Someone Told A Lie
23. The Modern Lovers - Dignified & Old
24. Nap Eyes - Even Though I Can't Read Your Mind
25. Cindy Lee - Bondage of the Mind
26. Deerhunter - Agoraphobia
27. Nap Eyes - If You Were In Prison
28. Big Thief - Masterpiece
29. Pottery - Hot Like Jungle

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 18.