Saturday, June 03, 2017

Chris Cornell (1964-2017) & Shows # 659 & 660


Following a concert with Soundgarden in Detroit, it was announced on May 18th, 2017, that Chris Cornell, musician, songwriter, solo artist and member of Soundgarden had passed away. He took his own life and the news of this sent a shock through the music world. The music that Cornell created with Soundgarden was very different and very unique. It set them apart from the other Seattle “Grunge” bands of the 90s. Soundgarden were a heavy rock band, pulling in influences from bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, but also with other influences such as The Beatles, touches of punk and several other elements. Lyrically, Cornell often draped the heavy riffs created by the band that surrounded him with darker imagery. The lyrics, while dark were presented in an intelligent way that at times seemed to deal with personal struggles such as depression, but also other issues that surrounded the world around them. Often at times lyrics were used in conjunction with the music to poke fun at certain issues at times in a humorous, but intelligent way. And while all of these things helped to make up the music that was Soundgarden, they sounded like nothing else.

Soundgarden emerged from the underground into the mainstream in the 90s, along with several other bands from Seattle. Throughout this time and through the rise of Grunge music, as it was called, in the mainstream, Soundgarden had something different to say than the usual overproduced mainstream band did. The 90s were a different time, a lot changed for many reasons and the heaviness and lyrical prowess of the band’s music struck a chord with many people. Cornell originally started playing drums and singing in a band cover band called The Shemps, who played around Seattle in the early 80s. The band also featured Hiro Yamamoto, who would be a bassist on early releases and in the early stages of Soundgarden. Guitarist Kim Thayil joined the group when Yamamoto left The Shemps. When this band broke up, Cornell and Yomamto started jamming together, eventually adding Thayil in the process. In 1984, Soundgarden was formed. Cornell switched to vocals and another drummer joined the group, Scott Sundquist so that he could focus on vocals. Through Sub Pop Records, Soundgarden released two EPs Screaming Life in 1987 and Fopp in 1988. The band lineup would change until 1991, when the lineup featured Matt Cameron on drums (who joined as their drummer in 1986) and Ben Shepherd on bass. The first release with this band lineup was 1991’s Badmotorfinger, it was their third album overall. Also, now signed to A&M Records, the band’s popularity took off and two more albums would follow, 1994’s Superunknown and the 1996 release, Down On The Upside.

Cornell had also released many albums as a solo artist, with other artists such as Temple of The Dog and Audioslave. Recently, Cornell released the single “The Promise”, which was recorded for the soundtrack of the same name. Soundgarden, who originally split in 1997, shortly after the release of their album Down On The Upside, reformed in 2010. An album followed entitled King Animal in 2012. Several reissues of the early band’s albums had followed and the band had been rumoured to be working a new album prior to Cornell’s death. One of the lyrics from a Soundgarden song, “Outshined” inspired the movie Feeling Minnesota. Even Johnny Cash covered “Rusty Cage” in 1996. It’s hard to forget the band’s music videos for songs such as “Black Hole Sun”, “Rusty Cage”, “Blow Up The Outside World” or songs such as Ty Cobb”, “Kickstand”, and “My Wave” to name a few. The imagery was strong in all of these things, whether it was the video or the songs themselves. Fans, friends, actors and many others have since come out to show tribute for Cornell following his death. The music that Cornell created, whether you were a fan or not, you can agree was different and something unique. There was no other band that sounded like Soundgarden. The lyrics in combination with the music were at times seen as odd or weird, but really it was just something different that didn’t fit one particular category. This affected many people. Many people identified with what Cornell had to say and even a long time from now, still will.


Playlist for Show # 660 (Originally Aired June 3rd 2017):

1. Kestrels - Thorn
2. Hooded Fang – Queen of Agusan
3. Dusty Mush - Hot Tomato
4. Girl Pool – Corner Store
5. New Pornographers – High Ticket Attractions
6. Robyn Hitchcock – Virginia Wolfe
7. Soundgarden - Kickstand
8. Soundgarden - Blow Up The Outside
9. Chris Cornell – Spoon Man (Demo)
10. Chris Cornell – Seasons
11. Soundgarden - Face Pollution
12. (Sandy) Alex G – Witch
13. Mount Eerie – Death is Real
14. Mountain Goats – Rain in Soho
15. Craig Finn – Jester & June
16. Canailles – Backflips
17. Neil Young - Looking For A Love
18. Dead Ghosts - All In A Row
19. Los Straitjackets - Heart of the City
20. The Velveteins - Midnight Surf
21. Nap Eyes - Roll It
22. Gang War - These Boots Were Made For Walking (Live)
23. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jangling Jack
24. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jesus Alone

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 3.


Playlist for Show # 659 (Repeat of Show # 606: Them, Art Bergmann & The Mark Inside):

1. Them - Baby Please Don’t Go (Take 4)
2. Them - Turn On Your Love Light (Alternate Version)
3. Them - Richard Cory
4. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Frying Pan
5. The Standells - Rari
6. The Howlies - She’s In Control
7. The Velveteins - Beach Reprise
8. The North Carolina Music Love Army - Stick To The Plan
9. Papa Ghostface - Samhain
10. Border Patrol - This World
11. Jose Contreras - Psychic Radio
12. Art Bergmann - A Town Called Mean
13. Art Bergmann - In Betweens
14. Daniel Romano - I Had To Hide Your Poem In A Song
15. White Fang - Chunks
16. Monomyth - Transmission
17. The Ronald Reagan Story - Ronnie (I Voted For You)
18. The Minstrels Of Truth - I Want Your Business
19. Generation X - Kiss Me Deadly
20. The Police - No Time This Time
21. Gang Of Four - Call Me Up
22. Dee Dee Ramone & The Chinese Dragons - What About Me?
23. The Vores - Stress
24. The Bureaucrats - Grown Up Age
25. Idols - You
26. Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World
27. Old Code - Crooked Smile
28. The Mark Inside - Where You Are
29. The Mark Inside - Shark Attack (I Can See Them Circling)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 27.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Danny & The Darleans Bug Out & Shows 656, 657, 658


Bug Out is the second full-length album by Detroit’s Danny & The Darleans. This band features Danny Kroha, who has played with The Gories, Demolition Doll Rods and many others, drummer Richie Wohlfeil who has made a name for himself playing with the Detroit Cobras and numerous other Michigan related bands, and bassist Colleen Burke. Burke previously played keyboards with the Chicago art punk band We Ragazzi and is currently playing bass with another Detroit band, Outrageous Cherry. This line-up of musicians have their share of experience with notable acts, but when together as Danny & The Darleans they project a gritty garage sound influenced by garage music from the 60s, but sounding like something completely their own. It has its own beat, its own vibe and its own attack.

The first track on Bug Out is the song entitled “Bug Out Bag”. The song attacks with fuzzy bass, hard hitting drum grooves, and stop and start guitar riffs. The term “bug out bag” is something from survivalist culture. It is a bag that contains only the essentials for survival in case of a sudden disaster. As the guitar descends from verse, to chorus and into its sneaky razor sharp solo, Kroha sings of a character grabbing only the essentials as he heads for the hills and away from his “scene” that seems to have abandoned him. As he escapes or “bugs out”, for something better, he realizes that he will eventually have to return. “I’m Right Here” swelters with a fuzzy, almost blues urgency, “Outta May Way” with its ringing guitar chords and thrashy drumming features lyrics, such as, “In the heat of the morning/In the cold, cold night/I’m a black panther roaming/And I’m ready to strike”. This song oozes with intensity and determination as the album slows down for the song “Girl”. Originally by The Keggs, Danny & The Darleans take this song and give it added bravado and groove. Kroha sings with a potent cocktail of desperation, hopefulness and urgency, as the song wraps around a tale of a love gone wrong that was supposed to be meant to be.

“Let’s Stomp” attacks with Burke’s dominating bass, handclaps, tambourines catchy drums and other danceable grooves with a proto-punk vibe. Following an R&B rave up version of “Leaving Here”, “Who Dat?:” demonstrates the in the pocket drumming ability of Richie Wohlfeil in a tale of paranoia with a Who inspired fury. “Soul On Ice” is a hard hitting garage number featuring a fiery attack with whirlwind drumming, rolling basslines and slashing guitar chords. With lyrics, such as ,“You put me in a cage/That only fuelled my rage” and “You got my soul/You got my soul on Ice”, the song deals with an oppression, a suspension of high spirits and the desire to overcome it and break free. “Dr. Finger” is a slow bass and drum driven track complete with organ and reverb drenched guitars. Lyrics such as “Dr. Finger/Give me pills” and “I can’t sleep/I need my pills” the song tells the story of a character dependent on pills, addiction and despair. “Wild About My Lovin’” is a song that is just as raucous as its title, featuring word play, howls, guitar solos and a grittiness to it.

The album ends with a version of “Little Black Egg”, a song originally by The Nightcrawlers from Daytona Beach, Florida. Originally released in 1965, the song tells a thinly veiled, yet bizarre fairy tale of what could be several meanings, yet in the context of this album, the song, played at a slightly slower pace, seems to be a victory in survival. Throughout the twelve tracks found on Bug Out, each song in one way or another is a tale of survival, whether overcoming a certain hardship or just moving forward in some fashion. With “Little Black Egg” at the end of this album, we learn that the characters who have been woven throughout these songs are not discarding what they went through, but they are keeping these experiences tucked away in the back of their mind as they escape for something new and better through perseverance. The term “bug out” means to escape or to do something without abandon. That can be found in many forms throughout this album. Bug Out is a musical bag filled with twelve songs, no more or no less. With Bug Out, Danny & The Darleans unleash an album that resonates with sophistication and gritty realism while instilling a bug out state of mind.



Playlist for Show # 656 (Originally Aired On May 6th, 2017:  Danny & The Darleans, Guided By Voices, Beastie Boys & The Rolling Stones):

1. Teenage Head - You’re Tearing Me Apart (Single Version)
2. Young Canadians - Where Are You
3. CLIFFS - Portland To Vermont
4. Sunshine & The Rain - I’m Not Your Girl
5. Soft Serve - Pats Pub Open Blues Jam
6. Mac DeMarco – A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
7. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall
8. Daniel Romano – When I Learned Your Name
9. Courtneys – Iron Deficiency
10. Perfume Genius – Slip Away
11. Lychi - Married
12. Guided By Voices - Glad Girls
13. Guided By Voices - Packing the Deadzone
14. Guided By Voices - Overloaded
15. Bobby Bare Jr. - Strange Bird
16. The Pogues - Gentleman Soldier
17. Craig Brown Band - Overthinking
18. Wire - I Should Have Known Better
19. Beastie Boys - Lee Majors Come Again
19. Sprinters - Don’t Care
20. The Smiths - These Things Take Time
21. Buzzcocks - Friends of Mine
22. Undertones - Here Comes The Summer
23. The Fleshtones - Rick Wakeman’s Cape
24. Checkerlads - Baby Send For Me
25. The Libertines - I Get Along
26. Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen
27. The Rolling Stones - Andrew's Blues
28. The Rolling Stones - No Expectations (Alternate Version)
29. Danny & The Darleans - Bug Out Bag
30. Danny & The Darleans - Little Black Egg


To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 6.


Playlist for Show # 657 (Repeat of episode 605:  Fire Engines, Bob Dylan, Shotgun Jimme & Them):

1. Fire Engines - Discord
2. Walrus - Fur Skin Coat
3. The Burning Hell - Nostalgia
4. Simply Saucer - Dance The Mutation
5. White Lung - Dead Weight
6. Supermoon - Stories We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves
7. Frankie Cosmos - Sinclair
8. Car Seat Headrest - Fill In The Blank
9. Adriean Teacher And The Subs - Terminal City
10. Outrageous Cherry - Sign Of The Times
11. Shotgun Jimmie - Province To Province
12. John Lennon - Crippled Inside
13. Bob Dylan - As I Went Out One Morning
14. Bob Dylan - Melancholy Mood
15. Bob Dylan - That Old Black Magic
16. The Velvet Underground - Coney Island Steeplechase
17. The Modern Lovers - She’s Cracked
18. By Divine Right - Que Paso?
19. Radiohead - Identikit
20. John Cale - Barracuda
21. Leonard Cohen - Tonight Will Be Fine
22. Dead Ghosts - That Old Feeling
23. Them - Mystic Eyes
24. Them - Gloria (Demo)
25. Them - Here Comes The Night (Take 2)


To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 13.


Playlist for Show # 658 (Repeat of episode 643: The music of Skip Spence):

1. Moby Grape - Indifference (Live) (Live (Historic Live Moby Grape Performances 1966-1969 - 2009)
2. Jefferson Airplane - Blues From An Airplane (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off - 1966)
3. Skip Spence - Books Of Moses (Oar - 1969)
4. Skip Spence - After Gene Autry (Demo For Columbia Records) (After Gene Autry/Motorcycle Irene - 2009)
5. Moby Grape - Skip's Song (Demo) (The Place and The Time - 2009)
6. Moby Grape - Omaha (Moby Grape - 1967)
7. Mudnoney - War In Peace (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
8. Outrageous Cherry - Keep Everything Under Your Hat (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
9. Moby Grape - Motorcycle Irene (Wow - 1968)
10. Skip Spence - Doodle (Oar Outtake) (Oar - 1969)
11. Skip Spence - Lawrence of Euphoria (Oar - 1969)
12. Skip Spence - Cripple Creek (Oar - 1969)
13. Skip Spence - All Come To Meet Her (Oar - 1969)
14. Skip Spence - Little Hands (Oar - 1969)
15. Skip Spence - Margaret - Tiger Rug (Oar - 1969)
16. Tom Waits - Books Of Moses (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
17. Beck - Halo of Gold (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
18. Greg Dulli - Dixie Peach Promenade (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
19. Mark Lanegan - Cripple Creek (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
20. Jefferson Airplane - It's No Secret (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off - 1966)
21. Moby Grape - The Lake (Grape Jam - 1968)
22. Moby Grape - Funky-Tunk (Wow - 1968)
23. Skip Spence - Land of the Sun (More Oar: A Tribute - 1999)
24. Skip Spence - War In Peace (Oar - 1969)


To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 20.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Guided By Voices August By Cake, Doug Gillard Interview & Show # 655


Guided By Voices latest release, August By Cake starts off in a momentous way. It starts with an announcement by singer, songwriter and mainstay of the group since their early beginnings, Robert Pollard. The song itself features horns, handclaps, intertwining guitars and rolling basslines, which at times come off with a John Entwhistle R&B slant. Lyrically, the song seems like it could be partially autobiographical. August By Cake also marks the 100th release by Robert Pollard (when you count all of his affiliated releases with other bands and as a solo artist) since 1986. In addition to this, August By Cake is also the first double album to be released by Guided By Voices. The album appropriately is different from other releases in the Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard cannon, but also has many similarities to past music that has been created.

The previous release by Guided By Voices, 2014’s Please Be Honest, featured instrumentation recorded solely by Robert Pollard. Prior to this GBV released five albums and an EP with the classic 1992-1996 era GBV line-up featuring Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell, Greg Demos and Robert Pollard. This release is a reunion of previous GBV band line-ups as well as a new one. The band lineup features guitarist Doug Gillard (who played with the band initially from 1997-2004), Kevin March (who played drums with the band in the early 2000’s and 2014) and Robert Pollard. The new lineup also features bassist Mark Shue and guitarist Bobby Bare Jr. This album is a strong effort that marks a second reunion of sorts. With 32 tracks clocking in at 71 minutes, there is plenty of material here to sift through.

“When We All Hold Hands At The End of the World” is a short song that seems to poke fun at getting older and adult life, “We Liken The Sun” is a song with plenty of arpeggios and guitar distortion, reflecting a sound from 1996’s Under The Bushes Under The Stars and abstract lyrics, “Packing the Dead Zone” seems to be a social commentary about our current social media trends, “What Begins On New Year’s Day” is an acoustic pop song with heavy segments of drum hits and guitar stabs and chords. This song is reminiscent of 90s era GBV songs and lyrically seems to be addressing proposed promises/failures in a reflective fashion. The song is very short, like many GBV songs they seem like they could be not completed or perhaps a demo in some cases. But, this is part of what makes GBV so interesting, there are hidden gems throughout this release, and all GBV for that matter. They are brief, but memorable.

For this album, Robert Pollard wrote songs initially intending to release a single album, but he had too many songs for a single album. Instead, he decided to proceed with a double album and asked each member of the band to contribute two tracks each. As a result, there is a new freshness to the songs found on this release. “Goodbye Note” is one of two songs written/recorded by guitarist Doug Gillard. With it’s descending guitar patterns the song seems to call for understanding in a relationship that involves life with a band on the road. “Deflect/Project” with lyrics such as “Deflect/project oh your actions are never circumspect” and “Planned obsolescence is the goal” this song emphasizes a dichotomy between being relevant and taking risks in a post-punk musical aesthetic. “Absent the Man” is a song by bassist Mark Shue with lyrics that seems to reflect a disconnect in band life/home life. “Chew The Sand” another Shue track, is an instrumental of sorts with mumbling lyrics, heavy drums and dusty guitar effects that at times drift into prog rock territory (Shue also contributes the song “Sudden Fiction” to this album as well). Bobby Bare Jr.’s contributions include the angsty garage song “High Five Hall of Famers” and “Upon The Circus Bus” an acoustic song with loud talking/banter in the background with allusive lyrics. “Overloaded” a song by drummer Kevin March, is a jangly pop song reflecting a situation showcasing someone that may have put a bit too much on their plate and is sorting through it. “Sentimental Wars” musically is an acoustic, drum filled and organ-dominated affair. Lyrically, March is searching for sentimentality or connection with lyrics such as “We are all fighting/Can we ever find the time to be alone?” and “Just take my hand/I will be with you always”.

All of these songs, whether they are Robert Pollard originals or by other band members, feature a certain cohesion to them. There is a flow to this album, that makes all of the songs seem seamless, but not in a stereotypical way. “Dr. Feelgood Falls Off The Ocean” as do several of the songs on this release, resembles a 90s era GBV sound. Lyrically, the song is a tale about suburban life. “The Laughing Closet” is a melodic track with abstract lyrics, “Whole Tomatoes” is an acoustic song that sounds like it could be a demo, while “Amusement Park is Over” reflects on a past, but once joyous memory.

August By Cake ends with the song “Escape To Phoenix”. An upbeat rock song with lyrics such as “Grand destinies/New hot topics/The escape scene” and “Watching eternity/The people demand an answer”, the song seems to be about a character always wanting to do more. The song ties in with the album’s opening and boisterous track “5 Degrees on the Inside”, but ends with a chant that is taken from lyrics in “Circus Day Hold Out”, another track found on August By Cake. The words “Crank up your monkey and organ without me” end the album. They fade out in what sounds like an abstract phrase and sense of camaraderie. With Guided By Voices, a lot of their songs are like abstract art. There are certain phrases and titles in the songs found on their albums that are open to interpretation and more open ended, despite their usual short length and lo-fi quality at times. This has been something present in all music released by Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices and is part of what sets them apart from other bands.

A lot of areas are covered on this album. A song like “Packing The Dead Zone” for example touches on social commentary on current social trends. There may be a vast amount of data and information out there today, but there is also a limitation. With GBV who have always had lots of material on their releases and many releases for that matter, more GBV is a good thing. For the 100th release featuring Robert Pollard, it certainly doesn’t sound stale. August By Cake has many layers to fill the listeners plate. And while this album features 32 songs, there is not too much on their metaphorical plate here. There is just enough to satisfy newcomers to the band’s music and diehard Guided By Voices fans alike.

Check out my interview with Doug Gillard here:



The Playlist:

1. Juliana Hatfield - Good Enough For Me
2. Tacocat - I Love Seattle
3. Slowdive - Don't Know Why
4. Chad Vangaalen - Clinically Dead
5. No Fun - Planet
6. Gem - Suburban Girl
7. Doug Gillard - No Perspective
8. Guided By Voices - Goodbye Note

DOUG GILLARD INTERVIEW

9. Robert Pollard & Doug GIllard - Pop Zeus
10. ESP Ohio - Royal Cyclopean
11. Guided By Voices - An Unmarketed Product
12. Zoom - Sweet Desperation
13. Cousins - Lullaby
14. Tuns - Throw It All Away
15. Slow Down Molasses - Secret
16. Construction & Deconstruction - Onomatopoeia
17. Shotgun & Jaybird - Borrowed Minivans
18. Woods - Bleeding Blue
19. Warm Soda - Don't Stop Now
20. The Finks - Now
21. The Scenics - Western Hills (Live - Toronto 2016)
22. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Judy
23. Pavement - Unfair
24. Tim Darcy - You Felt Comfort
25. Guided by Voices - Dr. Feelgood Falls Off the Ocean
26. Guided By Voices - Universal Truths and Cycles
27. Guided By Voices - Hold On Hope


To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 29.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Universe and Me Tobin Sprout Interview & Show # 654


Tobin Sprout is perhaps best known as being part of the classic era line-up of lo-fi indie rock band Guided By Voices, but Sprout has been releasing solo material, along with other side projects since the mid-90s. The Universe and Me is his seventh full-length album. For this album, the songs take on a more aggressive approach, as opposed to 2010’s Bluebirds of Happiness Tried To Land On My Shoulder, which was a more piano driven affair. One of his strongest efforts to date, The Universe and Me features a selection of older material from songs that were recorded at Sprout’s Michigan based studio in the past and newer material recorded for this album. As a whole, the songs on this album feature a contemplation of past worldviews. It is a coming of age of sorts, however, Sprout is 61 years old. The Universe and Me contains a complex youthfulness that is found within each of the songs maturities.

“Future Boy/Man of Tomorrow” opens up the album. It is a fuzzy driven rock track that recalls a Guided By Voices aesthetic, it is however, not the same. Lyrically, the song deals with a youth fascinated by superheroes as he transitions to adulthood. This is contrasted with the song title for a certain nostalgic feeling as the character in the song puts on his adult uniform. The title track is a piano driven song that pulls from a Beatles musical influence. “A Walk Across the Human Bridge” is another upbeat rock song contrasted with “Manifest Street”, which is a slower jangly pop song. The song with lyrics such as ”Something to do was raised and grew/On manifest street/In a treasure chest of dreams you’ve kept” conveys a sense of maturity from looking back on the past.

“When I Was A Boy” is a wistful, heartfelt song that explains that even though the character in the song is older, he still feels the same and takes on the world and turns out the cold, “Cowboy Curtains” displays a loss of innocence, “Heart of Wax” melts with a jangly, almost R.E.M. influence, while “I Fall You Fall” is executed in a Neil Young and Crazy Horse fashion. The last song recorded for this album, it is sung with, as are all of the songs on this album, a youthful exuberance, this song seems to show a father that comforts his child stating “You fall/I Fall/It’s so simple”. It is also, as many songs on The Universe and Me, one that can take on many meanings.

“Tomorrow From Heaven” is a lush pop song, complete with distorted guitars, as “Just One Kid (Takes On The World)” is a more rock and roll affair. With heavily distorted guitars, handclaps and power pop song dynamics, this song also features strong lyrical prowess. The lyrics are pretty straightforward, matching the song’s title, showing someone with nothing to lose. “Future Boy (Reprise)” ends the album. The song picks up where the beginning of the album started off. Where the first song “Future Boy/Man of Tomorrow” reflected a growing youth that is eventually dressed a uniform symbolizing adulthood, the reprise version of this song reflects the man this character became, one that wanted to forget his past, but decided to learn and grow from it.

The songs on this album are short, but well put together. A good song is a good song. There are 14 of them on this album, all of which contain an undeniable youthful energy. The production is sometimes rough around the edges, but it just further proves the point that a song can be great regardless of the production style, if done properly. The songs on The Universe and Me showcase a complex feeling, one draped in the colours of nostalgia, but also one with a new sense of understanding. This is a feeling that permeates all of the tracks that are found on The Universe and Me. It is one that like the album’s front cover provides the listener with a sense of awe and wonderment.

Check out my interview with Tobin Sprout:



The Playlist:

1. The Clash - Police & Thieves
2. The Congos - Sodom & Gomorrow
3. Robyn Hitchcock - I Pray When I'm Drunk
4. Brain James - Why? Why? Why?
5. Feefawfum - No Content
6. Tobin Sprout - The Universe and Me

TOBIN SPROUT INTERVIEW

7. Tobin Sprout - Moonflower Plastic (You're Here)
8. Tobin Sprout - To My Beloved Martha
9. Guided By Voices - Awful Bliss
10. Fig.4 - Behind Her Eyes
11. The Kinetics - Take A Train
12. Ron Gallo - Pleasure Yourself
13. The Jesus & Mary Chain - Always Sad
14. The Evaporators - Welcome To My Castle
15. Lush Buffalo - Jane The Ripper
16. Jay Som - 1 Billion Dogs
17. Middle Sister - The Sea
18. Beams - Black Shadow
19. Elliot Smith - Speed Trials
20. Spoon - First Caress
21. Blessed - Endure
22. Mad Ones - It Never Rains
23. Iggy & The Stooges - I Got A Right (Raw Power Sessions Outtake)


To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 22.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Sadies Northern Passages & Shows # 651, 652, 653


Northern Passages is the 10th full-length album released by Toronto’s The Sadies, who formed in 1994. This album makes connections with the band’s past, musically and spiritually as well as connecting with the present and future. Dallas and Travis Good have a musical history that is deep rooted in country and folk music. They are the sons of Margaret and Bruce Good. Bruce, alongside Brian and Larry Good (Dallas and Travis’ uncles) performed and recorded music as The Good Brothers. It’s also no secret that The Sadies have collaborated with numerous artists such as Andre Williams, John Doe, Neko Case, Gord Downie, Neil Young, Garth Hudson and many others. On Northern Passages they collaborate with a new contributor, Kurt Vile.

Several of the songs on Northern Passages are like walking into a wide-open field. With each track The Sadies make new paths and breathe new life into previous paths that they’ve travelled through in the past. “Riverview Fog” opens Northern Passages in a psychedelic folk fashion. It is slow and conjures up the feeling of walking on an overcast day prior to a rainfall. Lyrically the song acts as a letter and combination of thoughts to an old reclusive friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while. “Riverview Fog” is said to be about Rick White of Eric’s Trip/Elevator, who alongside Greg Keelor (of Blue Rodeo), Dallas Good, Travis Good, Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky of The Sadies played in The Unintended. With lyrics such as “I know that’s not where you’re at today/Stay calm in your quiet getaway”, “Long gone are the days/They’ve all passed away” and “But I know you’re where you need to be/Out in the country”, “Riverview Fog” mixes up a complex pairing of thoughts and reflectiveness, while at the same time displaying a hopefulness.

“Another Season Again” switches to a more fuzzed up garage path. If the path on “Riverview Fog” was one of an overcast day just before rainfall, “Another Season Again” is more chaotic, like running through a downpour. “There Are No Words” is a slower, dirtier, fuzzier song, as you catch your breath from the previous track. Lyrically the song simmers with a search for meaning or words, as it questions and propels forward before the song’s ending, which slows down into a country outro. It makes way for a new path set by a new collaboration with Kurt Vile. Vile toured with The Sadies years ago and on “It’s Easy (Like Walking)”, Ville’s hazy, laid back approach opens up a new dynamic for The Sadies. The song while lethargic, has a certain mysteriousness to it. With words such as “My hand’s got a permanent air guitar tick/But don’t confuse it with a crutch/’Cause I like it a lot”, “Like playing guitar with your brother/Like planting one foot in front of the other” the song seems to be about The Sadies and The Good brothers and how music seems to come to them so easily. Yet at the same time this lethargic folk song also shows how The Sadies are able to work so well with other bands and collaborate in a way that serves the song first, above anything else.

“The Elements Song” clocks in at five minutes and 21 seconds and calls for being aware of your surroundings. Musically, it was the first song that they worked on for Northern Passages, which was recorded Dallas and Travis’ parents’ basement and produced by Dallas Good. With this song The Sadies take little bits of the music that has surrounded them throughout their career. The Sadies tread through familiar pathways that some would say have been passed through before, but when The Sadies travel through, it sounds mesmerizing. “Through Strange Eyes” is a country-garage song with strong narrative lyrics, dealing with the devil, a place without love and birds in flight. “God Bless The Infidels”, is a country song, featuring backing vocals from Margaret Good that questions our current social climate, however, it is a song that has a universal message. “The Good Years” is a sweeping dark country-folk song that is haunting, both musically and lyrically. This song was name checked on The Sadies website as “Northern Gothic”, and this is a path that no matter how many times it is walked through, it is still powerful.

Following the reflective “Questions I’ve Never Asked”, “The Noise Museum” comes in as the last and the 11th track on Northern Passages. This instrumental track, the only one found here takes on an Ennino Morricone slant mixed with surf elements and is executed in a cinematic fashion. With an overall sound that can be described as an “acid-folk-country-punk trip”, Northern Passages finds The Sadies navigating through familiar and new territories. The Sadies are not travelling through a path less travelled here, but they are creating their own.

Playlist for Show # 653 (Originally Aired on April 15th, 2017):

1. Street Chant - Pedestrian Support League
2. The Verlaines - Death & The Maiden
3. The Chills - Doledrums
4. The Rolling Stones - Cool, Calm & Collected
5. Bubble Puppy - Lonely
6. The Soul Motivators - Dr Know It All
7. The Easybeats - Saturday Night
8. The Gooeys - Scary Black Cherry Nap
9. The Moby Dicks - Mike Molloy
10. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Julie's Place
11. Dream Whip - Hopeless Romantic
12. Elephants Memory - Jungle Gym At The Zoo
13. Craig Brown Band - I Wondered What
14. CATL - Lamplight The Way
15. New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions
16. Timber, Timbre - Sewer Blues
17. Protomartyr - Want Remover
18. Dude York - Tonight
19. The Flaming Lips - Just Like Before
20. Paul Jacobs - Favorite Number
21. The Oblivians - No Reason To Live
22. Pow Wows - Hey Doctor
23. The Jury- Who Dat?
24. The Zombies - Gotta Get A Hold of Myself
25. The Zombies - Indication
26. The King Khan & BBQ Show - Too Much In Love
27. The Gruesomes - Wish You Were Her
28. The Gruesomes - Who Dat?

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 15.


Playlist for Show # 652 (Originally Aired on April 8th, 2017):

1. The Sentinals - Exotic
2. The Reprobettes - Danger!
3. Spencer Burton - Dark Cloud
4. By Divine Right - Field Of Trampolines
5. Adrian Teacher & The Subs - Late Last Night
6. Shotgun Jimmie - Drunkeness
7. Calvin Johnson - Lies Goodbye
8. The Sadies - Riverview Fog
9. The Sadies - It's Easy (Like Walking)
10. Beams - I Wanted To Tell Her
11. James O-L & The Villains - West End
12. Lychi - Married
13. The Orwells - Fry
14. Mexican Knives - Turner
15. 3-D Invisibles - Cool Ghoul
16. Johnny Thunders - Cool Operator
17. Damaged Bug - The Cryptologist
18. Idols - Girl That I Love
19. The Adverts - Safety In Numbers
20. The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet
21. Link Cromwell - Crazy Like A Fox
22. The Jujus - Do You Understand Me
23. The Collectors- We Can Make It
24. Northwest Company - Eight Hour Day
25. The Benders - Can't Tame Me
26. The Black Lips - Freedom Fries
27. Guided By Voices - West Coast Company
28. Guided By Voices - Keep Me Down
29. Guided By Voices - Sudden Fiction

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 8.


Playlist for Show # 651 (Originally Aired on April 1st, 2017):

1. Vangelis - One More Kiss, Dear
2. Dion Lunadon - Fire
3. The Maggie's Marshmallows - No Friend of Mine
4. La Conversion Des Sauvages - Dans La Granges
5. La Conversion Des Sauvages - Jappe Le Chein
6. Little Richard - Jenny Jenny
7. Little Richard - She's Got It
8. Muddy Waters - Can't Be Satisfied
9. Townes Van Zandt - Who Do You Love (Live At The Old Quarter)
10. Stompin' Tom Connors - The Ketchup Song
11. The Sadies - Through Strange Eyes
12. T. Hardy Morris - Painted On Attitude
13. Saint Pe - Spun and Spurn
14. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Sick Bug
15. Tim Darcy - Still Waking Up
16. The Beets - Cold Lips
17. Bob Dylan - Braggin'
18. Teenage Geese - Itchy Feet
19. Cub - Cast A Shadow
20. Jack Lee - Hanging On The Telephone
21. Jack Lee - Women
22. Ron Gallo - Put The Kids To Bed
23. Ron Gallo - Why Do You Have Kids
24. Tobin Sprout - Future Boy/Man of Tomorrow
25. BA Johnston - Alley Beers
26. Preoccupations - Zodiac
27. The Mummies - Zipa Dee Do Da
28. Xanadu - No Change

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for April 1.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Chuck Berry (1926-2017) & Shows # 649 & # 650


Chuck Berry, a pioneer in rock music, passed away in March at the age of 90. He has been called the “Father of Rock n’ Roll” and is responsible for helping to lay the foundation for rock music. What set Chuck Berry’s music apart from others at the time was his ability to go into deep thought and mix his lyrical style with his musical ability and prowess. Mixing elements of country, western and blues, his music would often speed along with as the lyrics rested atop of the music, giving the listener a different point of view. When his first single “Maybellene” was released on Chess Records in 1955, it was a very different time. There was separation amongst black and white audiences and pop music was filled with standards that were covered by multiple artists. Not only did Berry inject his lyrics with more feeling and poetic elements than the standards that came before him, he also helped to shift gears in how rock music was made by writing his own songs. He was a musician, songwriter and performer. This combined with many other musicians from that time period, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, among others, helped to define what music could be.

Many of his songs were ripe with social commentary, but they were presented in a subtle way. For example, in “Memphis, Tennessee” Berry sings of a separated couple as he tries to reach his 6-year-old daughter via telephone. While this is a love song, it is a different type and it wasn’t the generic love song you would expect to hear at the time. “Johnny B Goode”, while now seen as a standard cover, was semi-autobiographical and deals with race, but not as the main focus of the song. Like many songs that seem simple in their musical dynamics, lyrically this song is also complex. Many of his songs deal with having a good time, cars, dancing, school, love, but are executed in a way that they rise above the music. This is part of what puts Chuck Berry in a different category from others at the time.

While Berry’s music was very influential and innovative, he himself was not without complexity. Berry had run-ins with the law. He went to prison several times. A lot of the situations he went through raised questions and were not without controversy. However, when it came to music, it was something that Chuck Berry understood. He pulled from his influences, Nat King Cole’s vocal style, T Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Carl Hogan, Ray Charles, Charlie Christian and mixed it with elements of country western, jazz and blues for one universal thing. These things when combined with a song, whether it was “Johnny B Goode” or “Maybellene”, “Promised Land” or any other of his early numbers, we called it rock and roll. His music integrated American audiences, young and old and in popular culture. Called “The Eternal Teenager”, Berry performed his music with a youthful exuberance. It can even be heard in his voice on the single “Big Boys,” from his now final album, Chuck. Like the cars brought up in many of his songs, Chuck Berry often switched gears in song and in his career with a fiery intensity. He was also a showman with a wild rock and roll show, from his relentless, driving guitar solos to his signature duck walk. Berry also never had a dedicated backing band following 1955-1956. He would usually pick a band from local musicians in town prior to the show and this would make up his backing band for that particular show. From the opening moments of his first 1955 single “Maybellene”, to the countless live shows that he played throughout his career, Chuck Berry duck walked right into America’s hearts.

Show 650 (Chuck Berry Tribute Show):

1. Chuck Berry - Reelin' And Rockin' (Alternate Version)
2. Chuck Berry - Rock And Roll Music (Demo)
3. Chuck Berry - I Want To Be Your Driver
4. The Rolling Stones - Come On
5. The Rolling Stones - Around And Around
6. The Courtneys - Silver Velvet
7. The Courtneys - Minnesota
8. Skye Wallace - Stronghold
9. Dean Drouillard - Mid Sea Flood
10. Bo Diddley - Fireball
11. Of The Pack - Feel The Same
12. Century Palm - Inner Vision
13. AC/DC - School Days
14. The Kinks - Beautiful Delilah
15. The Sonics - Roll Over Beethoven
16. Chuck Berry - Sweet Little Rock n' Roller (Take 11A)
17. Chuck Berry - Viva Viva Rock n' Roll
18. Chuck Berry - 21 Blues
19. The Famines - Zero Sum
20. TV FREAKS - Don't Read The News
21. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Talk 2 Her
22. Dany Laj & The Looks - Sweet Pretender
23. The Matinee - Figure It Out
24. The Rolling Stones - Carol
25. The MC5 - Back in the USA
26. Chuck Berry - Big Boys
27. Chuck Berry - Wee Wee Hours


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


Show 649 (Chuck Berry, T.Rex & The Velvet Underground):

1. Chuck Berry - Bio
2. Chuck Berry - Around And Around
3. Chuck Berry - Back In Memphis
4. The Routes - Thousand Forgotten Dreams
5. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Sleep Drifter
6. Cawama - Come Around
7. Specifics - 13
8. B.A. Johnston - I Need Donair Sauce
9. Cheap Trick - He's A Whore
10. Blank Square - Empty Head
11. Meatbodies - Scavenger
12. Tim Darcy - Tall Glass of Water
13. Temples - Certainly
14. Mick Futures - Mini Mag
15. T. Rex - Dandy In The Underworld
16. T. Rex - Teen Riot Structure
17. T. Rex - Celebrate Summer
18. The Velvet Underground - Femme Fatale (Alternate Version)
19. The Velvet Underground - I'm Waiting For The Man (Live - The Complete Matrix Tapes 1969)
20. The Feelies - Flag Days
21. Whoop-Szo - Another Show
22. Leonard Cohen - Leaving The Table
23. The Sadies - There Are No Words


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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Germ Free Adolescents & Shows # 647 & # 648


Like many bands that formed and created music in the UK in the late 70s, X-Ray Spex was influenced by the Sex Pistols. Formed by Poly Styrene (vocals) and Lora Logic (saxophone), Jak Airport (guitar), Paul Dean (bass) and B.P. Hurding on drums in 1976, X-Ray Spex shot out of the vortex of the 70s UK punk scene. They ended as a band shortly after the release of their full-length album, Germ Free Adolescents. Musically the band featured a sound influenced by 70s punk, but one that came off with a sound mixing elements of proto punk, glam and mod music. You can hear the influence of Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Mick Jones (The Clash) and Mick Ronson (David Bowie), amongst other influences in the band’s make up. This sound was mixed in with saxophone and erratic high energy levels provided by lead singer and front woman, Poly Styrene. Lyrically, X-Ray Spex delved into many anti-commercial based themes that questioned Britain’s consumer based society at the time.

Germ Free Adolescents opens with the song “The Day The World Turned Day-Glo”. In between the chugging guitars and sleazy saxophones, Styrene sings of a world painted with and dominated by, synthetic products that glows in a haunting disdain. “Obsessed With You” features lyrics such as “You are just a concept/You are just a dream/You’re just a reflection of the new regime”, mixed in with a chorus that features lyrics that portray a love/hate relationship that can show commercial products as being disenchanting and romantic to some. “Identity” attacks with buzz saw guitars and soulful 50s saxophone parts and lyrics that rally for independence and finding yourself. The song can take on many forms, but also relates to the way women perceive themselves based on the “perfect” image that is broadcast by the mainstream media. The message in this song is one that still rings true today. “I Live Off You” features excellent R&B saxophone parts performed by Rudi Thomson. He joined the band after Lora Logic left the group shortly after the recording of the band’s first single Oh Bondage! Up Yours!/I Am A Cliché. The lyrics have an effective melody that drifts from melodic to high pitched. Lyrically the song portrays a chain of command of exploitation, whether it is by commercialism or by other means.

“Germ Free Adolescent” takes things down a bit as a more mid-tempo number with dominant bass, keyboards, drums and vocals. Styrene sings of toothpaste and a character obsessed with cleanliness, so much so that it appears this character that has a form of OCD that cannot wash off the advertisements that they hear on a daily basis. “Art-I-Ficial” features lyrics such as “I know I’m artificial/But don’t put the blame on me/I was reared with appliances in a consumer society”. In between the proto-punk guitar riffs, drum rolls and bouncy basslines, Styrene sings of a fakeness that is created by consumer society and one that is difficult to separate yourself from. “Warrior In Woolworths” drifts into T.Rex territory, “I Can’t Do Anything” features static sounding guitar, rolling basslines, wheezy saxophone lines and is notable for the lyrics “Freddy tried to strangle me with my plastic popper beads/But I hit him back with my pet rat”. This song, like many on Germ Free Adolescents is layered in multiple meanings. “I Can’t Do Anything” seems to be a cathartic song dealing with oppression.

“Plastic Bag” boasts heavy guitar riffs and speedy saxophone lines that drift in between the slower breakdowns of the song. This song, like many on the album, question the way society is and how people live within it. Poly Styrene could be saying here that her mind is “like a plastic bag”, it can be filled with anything and is often perceived as cheap and disposable. But, within this song and amongst the songs on Germ Free Adolescents, the lyrics cry for a search for satisfaction that is lost due to an alienation that separates us from our true potential. Heavy stuff at times, but it is executed in a way that it is not all bleak and the deeper meanings of Germ Free Adolescents sink below the surface of these songs, only resurface at differing points.

By 1980, X-Ray Spex split up and various members were on to other things. Although they reformed for another album, Conscious Consumer in 1995, the impact of their first album and of their first single and what some view as their finest moment, “Oh Bondage! Up Yours”, overshadows other points in the band’s history. Germ Free Adolescents questions, challenges, and brings up themes of commercialism, identity, oppression and gender roles in a way that is just as relevant today as it was in 1978. With Germ Free Adolescents, we learn that there are some things you just can’t wash off so easily.

(Note: This write-up refers to the 1991/2005 reissue track order of Germ Free Adolescents.)

Show 648 (International Women's Day Special):

1. X-Ray Spex - Oh Bondage! Up Yours! (Oh Bondage! Up Yours!/I Am A Cliche - 1977)
2. The Pebbles - The Pebbles Twist (The First Album - 1997)
3. Dorothy Berry - You Better Watch Out (You Better Watch Out/Ain't That Love - 1964)
4. The Ronettes - You Bet I Would (Silhouettes/You Bet I Would - 1965)
5. Dusty Springfield- Willie & Laura Mae Jones (Dusty In Memphis - 1969)
6. The Velvet Underground - Femme Fatale (Velvet Underground & Nico - 1967)
7. Sonic Youth - Shadow Of A Doubt (Evol - 1986)
8. The Luyas - Self Unemployed Human (Voicing - 2017)
9. Dream Whip - Beach Dreams (Dream Whip - 2017)
10. Mexican Knives - Smother (Mexican Knives - 2015)
11. The Highest Order - Hurry Down (Still Holding - 2016)
11. Sky Wallace - Blood Moon (Something Wicked - 2016)
12. Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out (Live In Paris - 2017)
13. White Lung - Take The Mirror (Sorry - 2012)
14. PJ Harvey Hardly - Wait (4 Track Demos - 1993)
15. X-Ray Spex - Identity (Germ Free Adolescents - 1977)
16. X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents (Germ Free Adolescents - 1977)
17. X-Ray Spex - Art-I-ficial (John Peel Session) (Germ Free Adolescents - 2005)
18. Kleenex "1978" (First Songs - 2016)
19. Liliput - Hitch Hike (First Songs - 2016)
20. Teenanger - Mild Survival (EPLP - 2014)
21. The Modernettes - Static (View From The Bottom - 1982)
22. The Zellots - Empty Victories (Demo - 1980)
23. The New Pornographers - All For Swinging You Around (Electric Version - 2003)
24. Lost Patrol - See Me Now The (Lost Patrol - 1988)
25. The Gories - Stranded (I Know You Fine But How You Doin - 1990)
26. Demolition Doll Rods - Doo Walka-Walka (Tasty - 1997)
27. The Jackets - Freak Out (Way Out - 2012)
28. The Beat Happening - Noise (You Turn Me On - 1992)
29. Destroy All Monsters - Nobody Knows (What Do I Get/Nobody Knows - 1979)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 11.


Show 647 (Oblivians, Mummies & More):

1. The Oblivians - Hey Mama, Look At Sis
2. The Oblivians - Blew My Cool
3. The Mummies - Test Drive
4. The Mummies - Stronger Than Dirt
5. Ty Segall - Thank You Mr. K
6. Vagabon - Minneapolis
7. Priests - JJ
8. Dream Whip - Hookser Du
9. Century Palm - New Creation
10. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner - Stamps
11. The Birthday Party - Swampland Mutiny
12. Pissed Jeans - Have You Ever Been Furniture
13. Culture - I'm Not Ashamed
14. Jack Lee - Come Back And Stay
15. John Wesley Coleman III - Hang Tight
16. The Sadies - Another Season Again
17. The Sadies - The Noise Museum
18. The O-L West - Afterthought No. 3
19. Old 97's - Nobody
20. 9th Wave = Full Throttle
21. No Aloha - Trips
22. All Hands On Jane - Kitty City
23. Film Jacket 35 - Chocked On My Ego
24. Paul Jacobs - Quarter To Eleven
25. Cawama - Planet Of The Sharks
26. The Cheetahs - Magic Dollar
27. The Replacements - Whole Foods Blues (Live Hollywood Paladium April 16 2015)
28. Bash & Pop - Anything Could Happen
29. The I Don't Cares - Whole Lotta Nothin'
30. Tobin Sprout - I Fall You Fall

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 4.