Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Replacements Let It Be & Show # 458

In September 1984, The Replacements released their third full length album entitled Let It Be. The album's title is a reference to the album of the same name by The Beatles, however Paul Westerberg has been quoted numerous times about the title's origins and meaning saying that it "was our way of saying that nothing is sacred, that the Beatles were just a damn fine rock & roll band. We seriously were gonna call the next record Let It Bleed." This is no surprise given this Minneapolis bands previous history. Prior to this album's release, The Replacements earlier sound was very fast and Punk oriented. Let It Be built on the sounds that the band first experimented with on 1983’s Hootenanny, an album in which they played other styles of music breaking from the Punk mould that they had been associated with. This album took that differing of styles to another level.

Let It Be opens with the song “I Will Dare”, a Pop song that was originally written by Westerberg on an acoustic guitar, one of the first that was written this way. On this track Westerberg plays a 12 string electric guitar and Mandolin, while R.E.M’s Peter Buck provides the guitar solo, the rest of the band plays along with a certain intensity. With lyrics such as “Ain’t lost yet/So I gotta be a winner” which captures a certain Midwestern angst and a chorus that states “Meet me anyplace or anywhere or anytime/Now, I don’t care/Meet me tonight/If you will dare/I will dare” these lyrics are not only relevant in the context of this album's content, but also Westerberg’s intentions as a songwriter. “Favorite Thing” follows next which sounds like a more up tempo song as Westerberg rants in a Joe Strummer style with lyrics such as “I don’t give a single shit”, this displays the bands Punk attitude, which is still found on this song and through out this album. “We’re Coming Out” starts off with a breakneck Hardcore Punk-like speed and also features a Jazz breakdown, it is followed up by the Punk/Proto Punk “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out".  Lyrically the song references an actual incident with Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, while it also portrays the band's sense of humour as throughout the song we learn of a doctor that is more interested in his tee times than doing his job.

Alternate front cover photo for Let It Be
“Androgynous” comes in at the opposite end of the musical spectrum following “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” it is a slow Jazz influenced song, featuring only Westerberg on Piano/Sand blocks and vocals. Lyrically the song is a character study seemingly with lyrics such as “Now, something meets Boy, and something meets Girl”, and “He might be a father, but he sure ain't a dad”, this song proves that Paul Westerberg’s song writing capabilities can be as diverse as going from Punk to Jazz, achieving the same response regardless of genre. “Unsatisfied” is a haunting Folk/Pop-like rant, an anthem for disaffected youth with lyrics such as "Look me in the eye and then tell me/That I'm satisfied/Are you satisfied?...I'm so, I'm so unsatisfied” and “All of the time/Everything you dream of/Is right in front of you/And everything is a lie” Westerberg hits a nerve that taps into the social sub consciousness. Other tracks on this album worth noting are the Hard Rock “Gary’s Got A Boner”, “Sixteen Blue” which features what many fans believe the best guitar solo Bob Stinson had ever recorded and the bitter love song “Answering Machine”, which ends the album.

Overall, Let It Be showcased not only Paul Westerberg’s song writing abilities, which were developing into something other than fast Punk songs. The Replacements as a band and their chemistry is also evident on Let It Be. Bob Mould of Husker Du, another Minneapolis band from that time described The Replacements live shows in The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting: An Oral History by Jim Walsh as this “If you see ten Replacements shows, one of them you’re going to think they’re the greatest that ever walked the face of the earth, and the other nine might degenerate into drunken covers.” That quote is relevant when describing this album. Let It Be has the greatest moments, but also the drunken degenerate ones. From the songs to the now iconic photograph that was taken on the roof of Bob and Tommy Stinson’s mother’s house for the albums front cover, Let It Be captured something that was hard to define, it had something that until this point in 1984 other Replacements albums did not.

This Week's Play List:

1. Human Eye – Alligator Dance
2. Young Benjamins – Less Argue
3. Daniel Romano – He Lets Her Memory Go (Wild)
4. Talking Heads – Psycho Killer (1975 CBS Demo)
5. The Rapture – Caravan
6. Charles De Goal – Synchro
7. Sheep Look Up - Burning
8. Thrush Hermit – French Inhale
9. Syzslak – Turquoise
10. Cold Warps – Hole In My Head
11. The Vondells – Go Go Gone
12. The Vondells – 2 Tone Blue
13. The Zeros – Beat Your Heart Out
14. The Basements – I Don’t Want you No More
15. Raised By Weeds – Here’s A Story
16. The Replacements – I Will Dare
17. The Replacements - Favorite Thing
18. The Replacements – Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
19. The Replacements – Unsatisfied
20. The D4 – Invader Ace
21. Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin – Reverse Shark Attack

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 28. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Doors Ray Manzarek (1939-2013) & Show # 457

Ray Manzarek best known as a musician in The Doors passed away on May 20th, 2013 due to complications with cancer at the age of 74. Ray played keyboards in The Doors and was also a founding member of the group. The Doors never had a bass player with the exception of some tracks on their studio albums, when playing live Ray would cover the bass and keyboard parts at the same time playing bass parts on a Fender Rhoades Piano as well as providing occasional back up vocals. Ray met Jim Morrison at UCLA Film school and then met up with him later on after graduating in a chance encounter at Venice Beach in California. The two decided to form a band after Manzarek heard Morrison’s lyrics to what was to become “Moonlight Drive”. They later recruited guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore to form The Doors. Some of the bands early influences were very Garage Rock influenced most notably citing Van Morrison’s Them as an influence. The bands sound featured many characteristics of the Garage Rock genre from the 60s along with many elements of Psychedelic music. The Doors went on to release six full length albums before Jim Morrison’s death which was in 1971. The band continued as a trio before splitting up in 1973.

In addition to being a musician in The Doors, Ray played in another group called Nite City releasing two albums one in 1977, another in 1978. Ray was also a music producer, he produced the LA Punk band X’s first album entitled Los Angeles, he was also an author, film maker and solo artist. The Doors influence would become massive even inspiring The Stooges in their early days, they were initially known as The Psychedelic Stooges. Along with Jim Morrison and the other members of this band, The Doors would go on to become a highly influential and iconic band in Rock and Roll music history.

The following video is from a performance on The Smothers Brothers Show from 1968.

This Week's Play List:

1. The Orbits – My Rosa Lee
2. The Rumblers – Surf Rat
3. The New Dimensions – Bongo Shutdown
4. This Machine Kills Robots – The Seaward
5. The Driving Beats – Beach Girls
6. The Gories – On The Run
7. The Band – Helpless
8. Kurt Vile – Snowflakes Are Dancing
9. Big Surf – Stoker
10. Link Wray – Green Hornet
11. The Doors – Wild Child
12. Iggy & The Stooges – Job
13. The Obits – The City Is Dead
14. Decades – Tonight Again
15. Pluto – Thirsty
16. Active Dog – Rat Race
17. Bureaucrats – Feel The Pain
18. The Exploding Hearts – Modern Kicks
19. Thee Oh Sees – Devil Again
20. Mystics – Get Away (Demo)
21 Young Rival - T-Shirt And Shorts
22. Sex Pistols – Holidays In The Sun
23. The Clash – Overpowered By Funk

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 21. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wavves Afraid of Heights & Show # 456

Wavves started as a recording project by Nathan Williams in 2008. The band put out some early recordings and two full length albums (Wavves in 2008 and Wavvves in 2009) on Fat Possum Records, the band then gained recognition. In 2010, they released their third full length album, a well received album by critics in which the band brought in more of a 90s Rock influence, serving as a different sound album sonically than their first two full length albums which leaned to the Lo-Fi scuzzy realm of production. With 2013’s Afraid of Heights, Wavves now Nathan Williams with bassist Stephen Pope (formerly bassist with Jay Reatard) expand their sound once again sonically working with producer John Hill who has worked with artists such as Nas, Santogold, M.I.A, but don’t let that scare you away from this album it still sounds like a Wavves album.

Afraid of Heights still has reflections of the bands previous sounds and influences, while at the same time new elements have been added to the bands already established sound. The bands brand of slacker Stoner Rock themed songs are still evident here, but they also branch out into other lyrical subject matter such as cops, paranoia and insomnia. “Sail To The Sun” opens the album in a fashion similar to songs found on 2010’s King Of The Beach addressing the same slacker subject matter that they have been known for with lyrics such as “I’m gonna pick you up in my arms/Give you all of my love/Soon enough it flies by/First we gotta get high and sail to the sun”, while at the same time having characteristically darker lyrics “We’ll all die along/Just as we lived”. “Demons To Lean On” comes in next another song that along with “Sail To The Sun” was released prior to the album for fans to hear. This song has echoes of Nirvana circa 1991, while at the same time retaining something else, like all Wavves songs do that makes them sound influenced by the 90s and different at the same time. Some of the different directions Wavves takes on this album are best exemplified in songs such as the fuzzy Psychedelics of “Mystics”, the acoustic and bass heavy “Dog” “Everything’s My Fault” and “I Can’t Dream” which ends the album in a full circle fashion. On “I Can’t Dream” the song features Lo-Fi elements which the band first displayed on their first two full length albums, at the same time it shows their new sense of direction as the song picks up.

“That’s On Me” is an example of John Hill’s production expanding Wavves usual Lo-Fi sound with his production abilities. The album has several songs that lean more to the bands Punk influences this can be heard on songs such as “Paranoid”, “Cop” and “Beat Me Up”, while it also mixes in their Pop and Surf influences. There is a line in the song “Lunge Forward” that goes “None of you will ever understand me/None of you will ever understand/Lunge forward”, which exemplifies the bands intentions on this album, if you didn’t pick that up from the title. Williams doesn’t need to explain himself, he just needs to do his own thing. This album still has Williams self deprecating, caustic, dark and at times satirical lyrical depth, it ventures into new valleys in terms of production and musical experimentation. Afraid of Heights exemplifies Wavves attempt to take their Lo-Fi scuzzy, Surf, Grunge sounds to new heights beyond their humble Lo-Fi beginnings, even if that frightens some people.

This Week's Play List:

1. Guided By Voices – Crybaby 4 Star Hotel
2. The Flaming Lips – Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die
3. The Thermals – Where I Stand
4. Mudhoney - I Don`t Remember You
5. Jay Sad – Home
6. The Highest Order – Sacred Team
7. Timbre Timbre – Demon Host
8. Mikal Cronin – Better Man
9. King Khan – Strange Way
10. Hank Davis – One Way
11. The Cramps – Domino
12. Actual Water – Dandelion Sun
13. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs – What Have I Become
14. Light Bulb Alley – Long Time Coming
15. The Vores – Forget That Guy
16. The Misfits – Return Of The Fly
17. Wavves – Sail To The Sun
18. Wavves – Paranoid
19. The Oblivians – I’ll Be Gone
20. Paul Jacobs – Kitchen Floor
21. The Black Lips – Cruising
22. The Vibrators – Judy Says (Knock You In The Head)
23. Devo - Come Back Jonee (Live Minneapolis, 1978)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 14. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

White Stripes Elephant ... Ten Years Later & Show # 455

It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since Detroit’s The White Stripes released their fourth full length album Elephant. The year 2003 was a very different time, in the midst of the Garage Rock revival bands, The White Stripes had been making their brand of Garage Rock, blended with elements of Blues, Folk and Country since 1997, releasing several singles and three full length albums prior to this. The album played into the bands gimmick, two piece band donned in red, white and black colours, and the obssession with the number three. All of these things can be seen in the artwork for this album from the number three's on the back of the album to the front cover in which Jack and Meg site atop a trunk, making out an actual elephant shape. For Elephant, The White Stripes headed to London in the UK and recorded all but one track (“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”) at Toe-Rag Studios with Liam Watson in the engineering seat and Jack White in the producing seat.

Elephant was recorded in a two week period in April of 2002 to eight track tape, using vintage recording gear that pre-dated The Beatles, no computers were involved for this albums recording process. During the two week time The White Stripes would record what would be their major label debut on V2 and also an album that would change their status as a band forever. The album opens with the chart topping hit “Seven Nation Army”, a song that was reportedly written at a sound check and attacked with its bass-like, drum/guitar dynamic. What most people at the time didn’t know is while it sounds like bass in the verses it was actually a guitar run through an octave pedal, an effect that fooled many. The song is most notable for its simple structure has a title that dates back to White’s childhood. “Seven Nation Army” is what Jack thought the Salvation Army sign said as a kid. With lyrics such as “I’m gonna fight ‘em off/A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back” White starts off the album with a new sense of anger that was previously not as evident on 2001’s White Blood Cells, while at the same time referencing the difficulty the band had in the past and determination to persevere in the present.

Elephant also had songs referencing Whites early Punk influences “Black Math”, “Hypnotize”, “Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine”, his Pop influences “I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart”, “You’ve Got Her In Her Pocket” which along with “Well It’s True That We Love One Another” reflect Country/Folk influences, and there are also elements of Jack White’s Delta Blues influence that runs deep through out the album. Other stand out tracks include the other successful hit “The Hardest Button To Button” a driving Garage Drum/Guitar combination, utilizing the same guitar octave pedal effect as “Seven Nation Army” and is a song as Jack White has stated about “a child trying to find his place in a dysfunctional family when a new baby comes”. "Ball and Biscuit” is the closest that the band ever got to a “Bar Room Blues” track, clocking in at over seven minutes the song features heavy hitting drums by Meg White several distorted guitar solos and breakdowns. Lyrically the song tells a Folk-like tale of the seventh son, a common theme in American Folklore, and also referencing Jack White’s own history as he was the seventh son in his family. The title references the characters drug problem the “ball” being Cocaine and the “biscuit” being MDMA.

Of the Punk/Garage themed tracks “Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine” could be best described by one of the songs lyrics “Give me a sugar pill and watch me just rattle down the street”, as the song rattles in a frantic Garage stupor. “Little Acorns” is a peculiar song that starts off with an introduction from Mort Crim a news anchor from Detroit news television. The song builds from the intro with piano to loads of feedback not unlike sounds heard on Nirvana’s In Utero. Lyrically the song tells how a girl figured out how to solve her own life problems by watching a squirrel storing acorns for the winter. By breaking her problems into small pieces she figures out that she can carry her problems in small pieces one at a time, just like little acorns.

Overall, Elephant built on many of the sounds The White Stripes had been creating, picking up from where 2001’s White Blood Cells left off. Lyrically the album is loosely based on as stated in the linear notes the “death of the American sweetheart”, musically the album proves Jack White’s song writing abilities are nothing to scoff at. Whether a delicate Pop song like “I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart” or the 70s Garage Punk of “Black Math”, “Hypnotize” or the dynamic feedback frenzy of “Little Acorns” to the Country/Folk of “Well It’s True That We Love One Another”, Elephant carried its own weight. Prior to its release The White Stripes were talked about, but were always the elephant in the room so to speak that nobody addressed in any large scale means. Following Elephant’s release in April 2003, they were no longer the elephant in the room that no one was addressing, they overtook the room and became the only topic of conversation.

This Week's Play List:

1. The Nils – Tuesday High
2. The Smugglers – I Need A Vacation
3. DMZ – Baby Boom
4. Zona 84 – Estan Buscandrome
5. The Count Five – They’re Gonna Get You
6. The Stomach Mouths – Don’t Mess With My Mind
7. The Sonics – Wake Me, Shake Me
8. The Vibrants – Wildfire
9. The Golden Hands Before God – Oh No
10. The Scenics – Oh Boy
11. Brother Dan’s All Stars – Eastern Organ
12. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Midnight Ravers
13. Public Imaged Limited – Albatross
14. Gang of Four – Armalite Rifle
15. Sloan – Bully
16. Sloan – Gimme Sopor
17. The Damned – Melody Lee (BBC Session)
18. Young Rival – Time
19. Thee Oh Sees – Minotaur
20. White Stripes – Hypnotize
21. White Stripes – Little Acorns
22. White Stripes - Well It's True That We Love One Another

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 7. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.