Showing posts with label Tennessee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tennessee. Show all posts

Jul 9, 2018

JEFFREY EVANS and ROSS JOHNSON "Caldonia" 7inch


When Baron Ross Johnson and Monsuier Jeffrey Evans hang out, it is anyone's guess as to what kind of devilry may happen. Bad jokes and tales of misspent youth are common and a spilled drink of some sort is not unexpected. It also usually leads to music being made.

Reverberating like they recorded this at the bottom of a handle of Dickel No. 8, the two bang away at two deep south folk standards, mangling something that has been heard done a billion ways into something ripped bare and bleeding. If you're familiar with the Original Panther Burns single that Spacecase released a few months back, this has the same stripped-down hanging out in a living room feel. The difference though is that the record Ross did with Tav sounds like a dapper afternoon. This is very late night and rumpled.

"Caldonia" gets battered and then left for dead in an auto salvage yard. Backward and blanging blues bite from Mr. Evans six strings as he howls, while Mr. Johnson taps and whacks a rhythm that paces a path only it knows. Sounding like he's using trash cans lids as cymbals, the metallic crash and rattle give the whole thing a before there was an Einst├╝rzende Neubauten there were hillbillies.

"Cotton Fields" bursts out, gets all wobbly, breaks down and then falls into an oddly shaped pocket and then catches a countryside stride. The only thing missing was a choir of barroom angels to join in on the chorus.
Order a round at Spacecase Records

Dec 2, 2017

THE ORIGINAL PANTHER BURNS "Rock Me" 7inch


What started as a performance art thing to confuse and confound the Memphis intelligentsia and uptights alike in 1979, Panther Burns have been around for close to four decades now. Over all that time, the people in the band back Tav Falco have changed many times as has the music, slithering through a gamut of weirdo rockabilly and the swampiest of rock to eventually stabs at the great American songbook and straight up tango music.

If one wants to hear something close as they can to something that sounds like the ORIGINAL Panther Burns lineup that's happening in the right here/right now, most would probably not expect to hear it would be from two of cats from that original trio (the third being LX who of course has been gone from this world since 2000) but here we are.

Recorded in one day, this is sound of two old souls hanging out in a laidback setting and laying it down unadorned and pure. The Baron Ross Johnson's work on the traps is lackadaisically sublime as it has ever been, keeping time in a loose manner and always putting booms and crashes where many might not think they belong but they definately do when he does it. Tav's guitar work sounds like the south. Swamps and hills. Humidity and pig fat. It all comes out in the snakey blues string work and his croon is just as blurry eyed and velvelty as his devotees dug it for decades.
Get it from Spacecase Records.

Jan 25, 2017

MANATEEES Superman Dam Fool LP

     It has not been confirmed that Memphis Tn.'s Manateees bathe in Sasquatch's blood. Nor is their substantiated that they brush their teeth with gasoline either. None the less, both stories are quite believable.
     One huge glop of bare-bones punk rock wallop and equal parts cement mixer rattle, unadulterated detestation and a sense of humor that's as dark as some slimy stuff found at the bottom of a very polluted river, the 'Teees big cheese Abe (he of bands such as the Oscars, True Sounds of Thunder and Lover!) with the assistance Keith on bass and Charms of Nots fame on the skins for these recordings, knocked out enough songs in the first few years of the band's existence to have 5 different 7inches come out on 5 different labels.
     Superman Dam Fool, which is named after some graffiti that was scrawled on a brick wall on Poplar Avenue in Memphis, comps those early records up into one tidy LP collection. Tidy only in the fact only that instead of having to dig out those different slabs to get the fix, they're all together on one piece. Aside from that, and a little fixing in the mastering department to keep the aural detonations at a constant eardrum scouring level, it's about things like summonings demonic beasts, taking matters into their own hands while possibly dealing with delirium tremens and hitting the nail on the head on what goes through our feline friends brains when they're awake. It's slimy and it's sludgy. It gets a thrill from creating a maelstrom and watching the aftermath it caused.
Blak Skul Records

Dec 14, 2016

ROSE GRAHAM "Black Christmas"


     There no info on Rose Graham on the web. Same pretty much goes for this single even. It was released on a label called Klondike which was a subsidiary of Holiday Inn Records. Sam Phillips of Sun Records took over running the Holiday Inn label from a couple of businessmen around 1963.
     There's a Memphis thing all over this. Stax horns blast, a sweet drum break and the basslines are like proto-funk. Rose wails absolutely destitute if she can't lead the sleigh.
     Though there may be a Memphis connection this is not the same song the Emotions did on Volt in 1970. Pervis Staples wrote that song. This one is written by Vida Mays (Whoever that is. Not much coming up digging deep around the wire for the name either.)
      A cat named Don Smith also did this song. His version was released on as a single VJ International from most likely '74 judging from the catalog numbers of some other things that label released that year. Looks like it may have been his only record too. Guess what. There's not much info him to be found on him as well. Maybe this song had a curse on it or something.
      I found Rose's version on compilation record of questionable legitimacy a few years ago. Noticed the song wasn't on YouTube. Uploaded it so I can share it every year.

Oct 24, 2016

SAVOY MOTEL S/T LP

     From the wildman rockabilly howling of his one man and the crude destructo trash of the Rat Traps to the Buzzcocks and other hooky tinged influenced blasts of Cheap Time,  Jeffrey Novak has been laying down chunks of punk rock sounds for over a decade now. The common thread that ran through all those bands was an identifiable footing planted in garage rock roots.
     His latest project, Savoy Motel (which also includes a couple folks from Heavy Cream), may throw those expecting that sort of thing shining through off. Sounding like it would make a perfect sandwich if put between the Young Marble Giants and Funkadelic, this record is all about a party but maybe not so much a party that involves spraying cheap cans of beer everywhere. Sipping colorful drinks with umbrellas in them though? Perhaps.
     Loaded with clickity-tickity rhythm boxes accents abounds, some falsetto that can get a little cheesy but not willies inducing like Mick Jagger's are on "Emotional Rescue" and enough space echo'd wah-wha guitar rips to cover an entire city in searing fuzzies, there's songs like funky southern pop groove of "Sorry People"and "Everyone Wants To Win" that can make even a dingy and damp evening feel more like an afternoon of gold (be that both of the Cuervo and Acapulco sort) sunshine that needs to be danced in.
     When nighttime rolls around, the strange new wave and jittery funk that fires up the boogie machine of "Souvenir Shop Rock", the disco record that sounds like it's being warped from being in the hands of a glitter rock band that's "Mindless Blues" and the way "Hot One" answers the question of what would happen if Devo and ABBA traded places, can get party lights to flash in an off-kilter way that'll have people making up new dance steps and their neighbor from downstairs hitting the ceiling with a broom stick to get them to calm it down.
     To say that the 70's influences are blatant is more than obvious. It's everywhere from the sound to the way the band looks. The cool thing here is though instead of absolute pastiche that would have the novelty wear off by the third listen, the band intent goes way deeper than spending a week listening to the 70's at 7 for a couple hours and then thinking they got great idea. For starters, those  don't play anything from Can's Ege Bamyasi, or The Incredible Bongo Band both of which Savoy Motel sound like the have every morning along with a plate of tropical fruit and coconut rum.
https://savoymotel.com

Sep 2, 2016

NOTS "Cold Line" 7inch

Photo by Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury
     Because of calling Memphis home and they're records have bee released on Goner,  Nots often get the "garage punk" blanket through on them. The thing is though they don't sound like anything from Back From The Grave nor much like any contemporaries they'd get bracketed in with that comes with the tag. If there's was anything that a listener would associate with the blues on a Nots record it would be more about the band's aural darkness than something that might be heard in your average backyard on a Saturday while some cuts into a roasted pig.
     If anything, the band is much more closer to the late 70's jittery UK  DIY art-conk than what usually flows down through the Mississippi. The differences though where that stuff acted a bit demure and hoity-toity about its agitation, Nots don't mince words. They use guitars as serrated knifes to make jagged patterns and searing synths to then cauterized the wounds. Instead of offering something for the pain, drums beats rattling as the only distraction for the brain while a chorus of bawls and wails jeer.
     "Cold Line" takes the listener to a dark and damp place. It's a dampness that is not of the cold, clammy sort the we've been told in fables that the English deal with though. The goth here is of the southern type. Slathered in humid echo the song sounds as if it recorded in some graveyard where dorky psychobilly zombies get made into dust after passing through a 5 story tall grater.
     Covering a song that any self-respecting maven of weirdo music considers definitive and a touchstone for a whole form usually leads to a lot of derision. "HOW COULD THEY DO THAT?" I don't know how many times now I've heard a band do a take on "T.V.O.D."  and no matter how sincere and serious that band may have been about doing it justice, it's usually sounds like a cornball tribute or something else simply unconvincing. Somehow though when the Nots do it though it really seems like they've have been sucked in by the video addiction and are using an IV that's hooked up to cable television feed.
www.goner-records.com

Apr 7, 2014

NATURAL CHILD "Dancin' With Wolves" LP

     Let's talk a little bit about Country Rock.
     When I say country rock I don't mean the assembly line Wal-Mart shopping "Rockin' Country" bullshit that name checks Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash in the lyrics but has more in common with the Little River Band or Foreigner than any sense of country traditions much less rock AND roll that is all over commercial country radio these days either.
     I am talking something much more loose. Much more scraggly. Much more smelling like dirt, pollen, sweat and a fish fry. Something that maybe isn't dressed like a farmer but also isn't dudded up in embroidered jeans and a backwards designer baseball cap. Something can be rough and tumble when I wants to be or yearning when it feels like but I both cases sounds like it's for real and not gone through some market analysis flow chart to spell such feelings out to the lower common denominator. 
     Bands with folks that look more like the stoners that hang a beat up old Bondo buggy at the flea market or beach and not male models on their way Planet Fitness at the mall.
     Hailing from Nashville Natural Child are Country Rock. As we all know Nashville is the place where people go to get discovered to become country music stars but it also the place where the bullshit "Rockin' Country" assembly line works day and night to kill the sound that made people want to go there in the first place.
     While their previous releases entertained ideas such as "What if Neil Young's cocaine booger from The Last Waltz traveled back from '78 and wrote and recorded every album from Harvest to Zuma instead of Neil (and, of course Crazy Horse) himself" or "Waylon Jennings listening to Alex Chilton" there has been something that has had the listener thinking that the band was sincere about what they were doing. But, there was also an underlying smart ass nod and wink thing happening that may have had some thinking just how sincere. On Dancin' With Wolves, with the adding of a pedal steel and piano player into the official band line up, and the songs sounding, dare I say it, slightly more cultivated and composed-Natural Child show they've been dead level about it all along.
   The down home dose of laid back southern funky stuff of the album's opener, the "Out In The Country", the small late night jazz combo tinged "Bailando Con Lobos" and  the soulful Hammond organ that blurs the line between Saturday night and Sunday morning laden "I'm Gonna Try" sound as if they could've been plucked from a Capricorn Records jam session circa '73.
     Others like "Don't The Time Pass Quickly" where a hell raising hayseed takes a day off from kicking up some dust to roll around in the hay with his gal, the 3rd album era Velvet Underground sitting on the porch of the general store vibe of "Firewater Liquor" and "Saturday Night Blues" good time seeking a bits of rambunctious hick rockin'. The weed smoke gets thick down the backroads on "Country Hippie Blues" and shot glasses in honky tonk clink while people wonder once again if Hank would of done it this way for "Rounder."
http://naturalchildband.blogspot.com

Jul 4, 2012

Wednesday Photo by Dale: Jack Oblivian Yarber at Donovan's in Detroit

   
     Jackie O and his band rolled through Detroit last Wednesday at Donovan's Pub. As usual it was an awesome show and the last configuration of his band is one of the most bad ass ones he has had yet.

   
      The set was, as usual, full of songs from his solo and Tearjerkers records, Oblivians tunes and a handful of cover tunes.    


     A couple special guests got up and jammed on some tunes including former southerner and current Port Huron resident Dale Beavers. Dale played with Jack on the Compulsive Gamblers Crystal Gazing, Luck Amazing album. Jack called out to him from the stage (which was actually just a clear spot of floor in the corner of the bar) asking if he remember his parts to "Wait A Minute, Joe" a song they co-wrote together for the album. Jack then turned to his guitarist John Paul Keith and said "This is gonna be FUN!"

   
     Before and after the show Jack and I got to catch up on things. It has been a couple years since we have seen each other (but that seems to be the case with most of my rock-n-roll friends as I live out in the sticks and it's more times than not a 60 mile drive one way to see any live music I want to check out. Factor also in that most of my show going pals/shotgun riders have jobs and responsibilities too heading out to a rock-n-roll show on a weeknight ain't what it used to be.)
     The first thing he said to me was "Man, You have gotten taller." One of the many other things we talked about was my currently in long hibernation  record label Bancroft which put out his "Dirty Nails" single some years back. We are making arrangements to get the original pressing plates back to him. It was one of the fastest selling records I put out but financial strains and life in general at the time kept it from seeing a repress at the time (sounds familiar as I am someone straits at the current moment too. Yep, the story of my life more often than not). Who knows, maybe he knows someone who will help a 2nd pressing see the light of day again some time.
https://www.facebook.com/jackoblivian       

May 8, 2012

ALICJA POP "I Play The Fool" 7inch

     Mention that Memphis, Tn.'s Alicja Trout was a New Wave archeologist in the Clears, a duet partner with Jack Oblivian, post-punk murk maker in the Fitts, the attitude enhancer/foil to Jay Reatard in the Lost Sounds and hard rockin' lady in the River City Tanlines and you aren't even coming coming close to scratching the surface to mentioning the contributions she has has made to make record collections around the world grow.
     Do we need to mention Mouse Rocket? Nervous Patterns? Black Sunday? Her label Contaminated Records?  Etc. Etc. Etc?
     Getting the gist, right? She is always up to something worth taking an earful of.
     A couple years back she released her first single under the alias Alicja Pop! She was a new mama (as in having a kid-not the rock-n-roll sense of the term-though she is that as well) and the first record of songs she released under the name, a 7inch called Shining Apple, had a bit of a Krautrock goes, well, a kiddie music feeling to them.
     While the pop on the previous record under this nom de plume as a bit whismy and bright version of "POP!"-here there are several more weird long shadows and shades of darkness.  Synth sounds hum behind simple rhythm patterns while guitar slash at time and at others blurry. Over top of it all is Alicja's voice, multilayered and melodic, adding fire and ice dimensions to the listening experience. Think the Cars Panorama album meets that Bangles EP that had "Mary Street" on it.
http://www.certifiedprrecords.com/

Oct 25, 2011

JACK OBLIVIAN "Rat City" LP

     Each time Jackie O'Yarber releases a record it's like hanging out in a used record store that doubles as a greasy spoon eatery. So not only selling music they serve up cooked in beef tallow french fries, the juiciest burgers for miles around and when you ask for a Coca-Cola they don't tell you "We carry Pepsi products". Instead inform that you've got the choice of RC Cola or a Boilermaker.
     Unlike a lot of record stores too that have their selection somewhat divided up into genres-Jack's used record emporium and grill sometimes don't even bother having them filed in alphabetical order. Forgotten Memphis soul sides of the 60's find themselves leaning next international cheeky pop hits of the 70's, million sellers classic rock standards sandwiched between basement rock and garage punk bands that pressed 300 copies of their only record before fading into obscurity and all but forgotten save for a few collectors of such things and pure country & western slabs find themselves neighboring with synth laden/funny hair driven new wave 12 inches.
     This has resulted in Memphis Jack Oblivian living by the adage of what Pablo Picasso (or was it someone like David Lee Roth) said that "Good artists borrow, great artists steal" and his latest album, Rat City, is no different. Jack processes all of the sounds that has passed through his brain through the years, be it a lick here, a lyric there, and assimilates them into his own brand of musical barbecue sauce. Listening to it can raise some interesting and mostly likely ridiculous conversation amongst collectors of arcane and fans of music that's not so popular with regular everyday people these days.
     For instance would the ghosts of Lightnin' Hopkins and Hound Dog Taylor give Jack the keys to a phantom Cadillac for keeping their boogie alive on the record's full of fuzz title track and the cracked ribs barroom dance beat bottom'd "Old Folks Boogie" or would the pissed and pull out a gun for him not giving them co-writing credit as well doing adding a bit of punk rock mess to the proceedings? A similar question could be raised with the Stax foundation that it sounds "Caboose Jump", a tune about it beinga long time but, baby, she's still looking fine, that would instantly fill dance floors in a more perfect world, is built upon.
    Is the opening line "Yeah, What are you gonna now' of the Jonathan Richman if he wasn't afraid to fight country rock charmer "Girl With The Bruises" inspired after hearing Clash's "Clampdown"? And what happens if you take another country rock charmer, grafted it with some of the vibes that Stiv Bators Disconnected was going for could you get much better results than "Dark Eyes"? I'm thinking mostly likely not. Consult your own Magic 8-Ball if you feel the need though.
     Does Jack hide his copy of the Talking Heads Remain In Light album when company is over because he doesn't want to get cracked on for liking that goofy new york art disco but now is letting the secret out for the goofy new york art disco gets soaked overnight in butter and black pepper with "Crime of Love".
     If Tom Petty heard "Girl On The Beach" and "Jealous Heart" (which opening line has gotta be a subtle nod to Alex Chilton with it's "I'm free to do what I want" and where the songs protagonist goes from working in a gas station in the bad part of town to getting a gig as a late night radio disk jockey. Talk about total American rock! You can't get it much more than that) would he think "I remember when I wrote songs like this. And people still like him" then call Jeff Lynne to curse him for all those plastic coated production jobs he's been doing forever?
    Is it a good thing that Jack doesn't have some disgruntled ex-manager that would try to take him to court over the reasoning that "Mass Confusion" sounds like the dirty funky blues that he's been doing since the Oblivians (but with an, ahem, "more studio rock session guys" rhythm section.)
     With all that said not only are Jack's records a fun time listen but can be a fun game of playing Spot The Difference. Party record of the year!
http://biglegalmessrecords.com

Sep 9, 2010

ALICJA-POP! "Shining Apple" 7inch

Alicja Trout has done "pop" before. To name off a bit of her musical background there's the Lost Sounds, Mouserocket and the River City Tanlines for starters. Sure, the "pop" elements may have been disguised in those projects from time to time but she's always known her way around writing something that sticks and really isn't that the basis of all good "pop" music anyway?
On this record the "POP!" on a side one's "Shining Apple" is 80's DIY pop such as the Young Marble Giants equipped with a better tape machine so they can layer some girl group harmonies while getting sidetracked by some motorik hypnotics.
Some years ago I recall reading an interview with Daniel Johnston where he was asked what his influences were and how he would describe his music to someone who may not have heard it before. His reply mentions some a contemporary bands at the time as well as him discussing his love for the Beach Boys. One thing I've learned by knowing quite a few real deal outsider musician's like him is that in their heads that is what they hear but it usually takes someone else to cover a song wrote by them to bring those kind of sounds to the forefront. Here, on the b-side's cover of Johnston's "Walking The Cow", Alicja brings them out with a 60's sunshine feel rubbing shoulders with melodic beep-beep-boop synth bits.
http://www.certifiedprrecords.com

Feb 3, 2010

v/a "I'd Buy That For A Dollar" Vol. 1 & 2 7inch EP

Kalamazoo renaissance man and 3 meat pizza fan UFO Dictator found himself in a bit of a dilemma. He was hearing so many new rock-n-roll bands out there but had so little time (and money cuz after all it is Michigan and that's the story of most people's lives here anymore) to get their sounds committed to vinyl.
"Oh, what to do...what to do?" he asked himself? Then one late night it came to him and this series was born.
Kicking off volume one is garage gothsters Black Orphan. Their "Parasitic Mind" sounds like what a record would if Gary Numan moved to Michigan and collaborated with Timmy Vulgar. The Menthols are up next with a springy & spongy beat, Agent Orange like vocal parts and rockin' guitar solo that is "R Is For Russian".
Flipping the record over the hits just keep on a' comin' with The Legendary Wings "20,000,000 Miles to Earth". They usually do the young & full of desperation power pop very well but here it's a 3 chord banger of tension working some fine line between Hawkwind space travel and the trash can kicking sound of prime records from the Rip Off stable. Though this volume is all about some west coast Michigan bands it finishes with some international flavor with Spain's Los Steaks who's "Pills" is not the Bo Diddley song but a huge drunk at the amusement park organ blast backing up a Cheap Trick meets '78 punk sing-a-long.
Volume Two gets the hell out of Michigan all together (though there is a big foam finger included in back sleeve art sporting a Tigers "D" on it). Albany, New York's Cave Weddings whip up a batch artery clogging of snowbelt pop with"Just Like A Fool". It's Ramones/Devil Dogs greasy cheeseburger rockin' that smears the windshield with fingerprints of cute loud harmonies and a Back From The Grave looseness that thousands of JohnnyJoeyDeeDee try-a-likes would never understand (because their too busy practicing downstrokes and only listening to the Ramones and not any of the bands that influenced them). Next up to bat are the Useless Eaters out of Memphis, Tennessee. They don't sound anything like Elvis or Tora Tora though. "Surrounded" is a herky jerky jump arounder like a mechanical man being rewired by chimps whose actual forte is teaching the Electric Eels how to surf.
On side two Madison, Wisconsin's Gut Reactions sound like the illegitimate kids of the Cramps and some meth slinging bikers on "What Are We Doing" and Chicago's Wanton Looks "Worst Side Of Me" sounds like a white frosting covered bowl of glass. It's seems all fluffy, sweet and unassuming on the surface with it's Go-Gos with a whole more distortion going but underneath it at it'll beat you up.
http://www.ufodictator.com