Showing posts with label CD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CD. Show all posts

Nov 19, 2012

SPIDER BAGS "Shake My Head" CD

     I don't think there is much dispute the Creedence Clearwater Revival are one of the top 5 greatest AMERICAN rock-n-roll bands of all times. When it came to being a square peg in a round whole at their time-they seemed to do it best. 
     I mean, there they were in San Francisco doing their thing along with everyone else of the era but they never seemed to fit in. While some bands around them were taking a hold of forms of blues and country and trying to load in an LSD and kale & bean sprout fueled rocket to outerspace-CCR wanted to keep it on the ground, covered in dust and smelling like fresh mowed grass, cold lager and burgers on the grill instead of greasy patchouli oil, weird bathtub wine and unwashed feet. While others were donning frocks, capes, ruffles and color combinations that looked like a rainbow had just vomited all over the place-those guys stayed dressed in flannel and denim. They weren't the sound of college kids and college dropouts trying to avoid going to war or, gasp, trying to avoid a job. They were the sound of regular working people be it in the swamps of the south or the farms of the Midwest.
     Because of that is probably the reason why on classic rock radio stations, who have successfully convinced the average music fan that bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane recorded 3 or 4 maybe for songs tops that are deemed classic worthy enough to be overplayed everyday for as long as classic rock radio exists while Creedence has like 10.
     Just a speculation here but it is a fair guess to think that Chapel Hill, North Carolina's Spider Bags have more CCR records on their shelves at home than by any other band.
     That is not to say giving this, or any of their previous records (this is their 3rd album), a spin is going to make one think The Son of Cosmo's Factory or anything but there is a "what we do is simple but we do it well" vibe that always looms large on the Spider Bags sound. The sound of guys who would not only loan you a shovel but would help you dig a hole and then when done could exchange a philosophical conversation with but in simple common man terms and not a bunch of mystic mumbo-jumbo or many misquotes.
    The band's main man, Dan McGee, words land more in the short story category than sing along song lyrics but save themselves from the singer-songwriter pretensions and the sounds themselves steer clear of of getting lumped into the way overused Alt-country or hokey Roots Rock tags.
    The band is essentially a Rock-n-Roll band grabbing from here and there and pieced together into something that becomes their own.
     Be it sounding like Phil Spector's Ramones shucking corn in a chicken coop on the last loser in town anthem "Friday Night",  blurry eyed and staring at the sun Byrds on a bender hayseed drone of "Daymare", "The Moon Was a Schoolgirl" epic ball of want and frustration, The Jack Oblivian-like "Shape I Was In" to having Mr. Jack O himself adding a bit of Motown bassline on the should I dance with the girls at the bar or stumble home before one of their boyfriends want to punch me theremin fringed "Simona La Ramona"-the Spider Bags sound at home both playing in front of a barn full of people dressed up in their Saturday evening best or downtown hipsters looking for a dive bar to slum at.

Oct 19, 2012

FAWN "Coastlines" CD

     Most often in the college-radio world, the term “pop” is given with a derogatory sneer, and a dismissive wave of the hand. If I told you that a song like “Hurricane Fire” had a series of “whoo-ooh-oohs” through the bridge, it may not propel you to pay particular attention to the record. You should pay particular attention to this record. This album, which features Detroit-based musicians Christian Doble (Kiddo, Child Bite), Alicia Gbur (The Nice Device, The Von Bondies) Matt Rickle (Thunderbirds Are Now! , The Javelins) and Mike Spence (Those Transatlantics), is pop, in a way, say that the Pixies played pop, a little loud at times with driving guitars, a little soft at times, and with hooks all through the album. A song like “Break It Off” begins with drums and adds bass reminiscent of old Pixies. The guitars that follow are also influenced with the best of 90s college radio, and come complete with harmonies between Gbur and Doble. The vocal interplay between the two helps add depth to this album, which, in less capable hands, could have come off like a tribute to the 90s scene, but instead takes elements of this sound, and makes it original. One of my favourite moments on this record occurs in the opening minute of “Cobra On The Beach”, which has a great driving guitar lead which dies down to allow Gbur’s vocals come to the forefront. The chorus, with combined vocals and chiming guitars, is one of the best examples of “pop” that have been released in a while.
      There is more to this album than “pop” and vocals. The twin guitars in a song like “Suicide” bring an almost blues-y college rock riff to the song, and lead single “Pixels” has a twinkling guitar adding to the slightly chugging rhythm. Bass features prominently on occasion (particularly on “Hurricane Fire” and “Break It Off”, the latter which would have been my choice for single), to help provide more texture to the album. Coastlines comes across as a real collaboration, rather than one songwriter driving the overall direction. The fact that all members are credited on each song, adds to this sense of collaboration.
      If you like the Pixies, and thought Yuck’s album last year was good, I recommend checking out this album.

Dec 1, 2010

WHEELS ON FIRE "Liar, Liar" CD and "Cherry Bomb" 7inch EP

I'm taking a wild guess here but it's more than likely these Athens, Ohio boys and girl sound is the product of a couple "weird/cool" uncles that played them a bunch of records growing up. The older of the two uncles played them things from the early Stiff Records roster and telling them "None of these bands would've amounted to nothing if it wasn't for Nick Lowe AND THAT GOES DOUBLY FOR ELVIS COSTELLO!"
The younger uncle was all about 90's garage punk. He regaled them with stories about how many times he saw the New Bomb Turks and so on, but the band he drilled into their head was the Oblivians simply for the reason "Beneath the scum there's some classic pop song moves there. One day the rest of the world will figure that fact out."
It seemed to make an impression on the band especially in the both Nick Lowe and the Oblivians took standard "rock" foundations, in former's case country music and 60's radio pop and the latter with primal blues and teenage garage gunk, and they've manage to meld all of it into the tunes that rock all over both these releases. A snappy backbeat and sticky organ provide the foundation for the two guitars to switch between bashin', janglin' and throwin' out hooks that dig into your back and pull you up & move you around while Jack O'Yarberesque vox of the brothers Chaney sing/shout tales of young lust and all the things go with it.
The album, Liar, Liar, is jammed full of loud pop gems like the beach ball bouncy "Bad Lie" and "Losin'", bubblegum found in a box of dirt sounds of "Looking At You" and "Sarah" and the Modern Lovers tinged "Stick Around" and "I Wanna Know." The single on Kind Turkey is more of the same but a just little bit more scruffy with some soul music infection and some doo-wop nods thrown in for good measure.

Jul 26, 2010

GOREVETTE "Lustfully Yours" CDEP

"Damn generation gap. Do I really have to explain who Nikki Corvette is?" I think to myself. It seems that yes, I do. Of course I do have to realize that not everyone grew up in the days of having a subscription to CREEM magazine and got the Bomp! newsletter/mail order list in the mail (you know, actual mail delivered by a mailman) when they were in junior high but even some of the the decade or two younger than me rock-n-roll fans who can sing the lyrics to the Donnas "Gimme My Radio" (which Nikki gets name checked in) think she's a fictional character that just happened to rhyme with "cheeba cigarettes". Little do they know that she held a pivotal role in Nikki and the Corvettes by not only as a lady not only fronting a rock-n-roll band in the dawn of the 80's but writing her own songs as well paving the way for bands from the Go-Go's through the Donnas and beyond.
After taking a long while out of the spotlight Nikki returned to the rock-n-roll world in the early 00's after Bomp! reissued the long out of print Nikki and the Corvettes album to not only a devoted slew of original fans but a generation of new ears too. She eventually returned to her hometown of Detroit, became friends of Amy of the Gore Gore Girls and as a result formed the band Gorevette and released the EP that we have here.
While a couple songs here are reminiscent of the Nikki (and the) Corvette(s) of yore such as the bouncy & bubbly "Baby, Let's Rock" and the nod to the Shangri-La's (check out the talking part in the song to hear for yourself if you don't believe me) "Honey, Please Don't Go" others like the full of fuzz box guitar blare "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me" and big beat backend groover of the title track stay loyal to the good things that are rock-n-roll but souped them up to these days of the post jet age. Welcome home Nikki. It's great to have you back!

Jun 4, 2010

KOMMIE KILPATRICK "Weird City" casette and "Life Sucks 2" CDR

You say the name Kommie Kilpatrick around these parts and it's greeted with excitement and cheers. Not because the band is a household word or anything but because it's a pretty funny play on the name of the former Detroit mayor who thought he was Teflon coated hip-hop superstar and anything he did wrong or bad wouldn't stick to him. Well, after having to resign from his mayoral gig, becoming a convicted felon and numerous probation violations which have now led him to one and a half to five years in Jackson State Prison even most of his staunchest supporters (the small handful he had left) are even thinking "Damn, what a dumbass".
The name is appropriate for the band too because they aren't in any way trying to sound like any kind of deep thinkers or or statement making intellectuals. Nope, they want to get drunk, get loud, maybe get in a fight, maybe even get laid and make it back home in one piece at about the same time the sun is coming up. Kinda like their namesake but without the police escort and strippers getting snuffed out for knowing too much.
The classic USA dumb punk sound of the Angry Samoans "Back From Samoa" and the Circle Jerks "Group Sex" play big into their sound. Quick blasts of obnoxiousness, most of the songs just barely top the one minute mark and a good number of them are over and done in half that time, about bad food, bad beer, bad hangovers, bad driving, bad luck and girls with bad, bad reputations that even these lunkheads have to think twice before taking the back to their place. Of course they DO take them back to their place but hey, they at least thought twice before they did. PUNK ROCK!