Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Oblivians Desperation & Show # 462

It has been 16 years since Memphis trio The Oblivians have released an album. Since the band’s last album in 1997, Play Nine Songs With Mr. Quintron a lot has changed in this band’s lineage. They have gone on to influence countless Garage/Punk bands since then such as The Hives and The White Stripes and each member has gone onto achieve different accomplishments of their own. Jack Yarber has gone onto play with Jack O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers, Greg Cartwright has gone onto play with Reigning Sound and Eric Friedl has played in a bunch of one off bands and formed Goner Records. The Oblivians have reformed several times since 1997 for live performances, but they announced last year that they would be putting out a new full length album.

Desperation was released in June 2013 on In The Red Records. The best way to perhaps describe the band's sound of the past would be something like dried up alcohol that was spilled on the floor in some grimy bar, baked in the Memphis heat. The band's blend of Garage, Punk and Soul has not been lost here. The album starts off with the slow Soulful Garage burner “I’ll Be Gone” sung by Greg Cartwright, with lyrics such “Is it for real this time/I’ve seen the signs/your dreams ain’t got nothing to do with mine” addressing their return and getting older with lines such as “There ain’t no way to know/How life will treat you so/Let’s Rock and Roll as we get old”. The song is a thoughtful and reflective start to not only this album, but the band's return. “Loving Cup” follows next. It is a raucous cover of a song originally by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, done in a fashion to songs they’ve done in the past on previous albums such as “Vietnam War Blues” from Soul Food.
“Run For Cover” is a fast paced Punk track sung by Eric Friedl sounding something like Motorhead, while “Woke Up In A Police Car” is another slow scuzzy Soulful Garage burner. Jack Yarber’s “Little War Child” sounds similar to “Stop and Think It Over” by The Compulsive Gamblers another band in the lineage of The Oblivans that is often overlooked. Other standout tracks include the Lo-Fi Punk “Fire Detector”, the greasy Soul of “Back Street Hangout”, the Cramps-like “Em” and the albums ending track “Mama Guitar”, which sounds like it was recorded with one microphone in the corner of the room. This song ends the album by connecting its sound with earlier Oblivian sounding songs and recordings.  While at times Desperation does draw from sounds that each of the respective band members have had with their other music projects, this song lets us know at the end of the album that The Oblivians feel remains. 

In a recent interview, Greg Oblivian (AKA Greg Cartwright) stated:

“Between our last record as a band in ’97 and now, a lot of water has passed below that bridge. We three went our own ways after that and pursued our own musical goals. Personally, I often missed the dynamic that Jack and Eric offered to my songwriting. Almost as much as I missed being given carte blanche to add a thing or two to theirs. I’ve played with lots of great musicians in the interim but needless to say, it’s a hard itch to scratch. The dynamic between us was a singular thing. So, over the years as we would occasionally reunite for a festival or special occasion, the idea began to grow in the back of my mind—the idea of making a new record. I mean, if you’re going to keep playing as a band eventually you’ll want new songs to play. Because as much as we enjoyed playing together the thing I missed the most was creating together. So that’s what we did.”

Despite the positive aspects of this re-union, Eric Oblivian (AKA Eric Friedl) has stated in an interview with Memphis Flyer that "Some people just aren't going to like it," but overall, Desperation is a thoughtful return. Recorded at Dan Auerbach's studio in Nasheville, the music on this album is just as greasy and dimly lit as the album's cover. The difference between this album and their previous efforts is that time has passed. That dried up alcohol spot may have aged and gotten sticky, but it’s still there and it's still all over this album.


This week's program also featured two live acoustic tracks from musician Chris Crossroads. You can learn more about him on his website http://chriscrossroads.com and also hear some music at his bandcamp page.

This Week's Play List:

1. Toy Love – Rebel (Live At The Gluepot 1980)
2. The Nils – In Betweens
3. By Divine Right – Past The Stars
4. Ramblin' Jack Elliot - Muleskinner Blues
5. Andrew Neville - Gal Back Home
6. Indian Wars – Pastor Phillips
7. Chris Crossroads - All In The Family (Live On Air at CJAM FM)
8. Chris Crossroads - Southern Fried Turnips (Live On Air at CJAM FM)
9. New Kind of Mambo – My Girlfriend’s In The FBI
10. Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Let's Id!
11. Paul Jacobs – Sara’s Party
12. Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixen - Let's Go Burn Ole Nashville Down
13. Oblivians – Call The Police
14. Oblivians – Little War Child
15. The Cramps - People Ain't No Good
16. The Ugly Ducklings - The Hangman
17. The Magnificent 7's - Today's Empire, Tomorrows Ashes
18. The Replacements – Take Me Down To The Hospital
19. The Evaporators - Brainwashed
20. Ty Segall – I Can’t Feel It
21. Ty Segall - My Head Explodes

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 26. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Saints This Perfect Day Single & Show # 461

The year 1977 was a very different time. While the Punk scene in the UK was affecting music all over, Brisbane’s The Saints were trying to find their own voice within the London music scene. After relocating to London, England following the popularity of their first single “(I’m) Stranded”, The Saints released the single This Perfect Day as a precursor to their second full length album Eternally Yours, which would come out in 1978. The single version of “This Perfect Day” would be a rawer version than the version that would eventually wind up on Eternally Yours. Lyrically the song addressed the situation that the band was going through at the time in London. The band’s label was trying to have them fit into the Punk mould at the time, even creating a “Saints suit” which was not something that the band agreed with. With lyrics such as “I've seen them drive around in cars/All look the same get drunk in bars/And don't talk back we got no social rights” and "Oh perfect day/What more to say?/Don't need someone to tell me what I don't already know", you can sense the hostility, frustration and separation that they were feeling at the time.

The song itself was recorded at Wessex Studios in London in June of 1977. It was produced by Ed Kuepper and Chris Bailey, but engineered by Bill Price. The b-side “L-I-E-S” was recorded at EMI studios in Sydney, Australia in February of 1977. The single itself was released in July of 1977. There was also a UK edition that was released as 12 inch single as opposed to a 7 inch single adding the song “Do The Robot”, which was also recorded at EMI Studios at the same session as “L-I-E-S”. This Perfect Day climbed the UK single charts going to number 34 earning the band an appearance on Top Of The Pops. Despite this good success, the single was out of stock nationally for two weeks and caused the singles momentum to stall. This prevented the band from getting the attention that they deserved. The Saints would go on to expand their sound adding more elements of R&B and Soul, but after their release of their third full length album Prehistoric Sounds, Kuepper and Bailey would go their separate ways. Bailey would continue with The Saints with different band members into the 80’s, and Kuepper would go on to form The Laughing Clowns and perform as a solo artist. The This Perfect Day single is a perfect embodiment of The Saints. Lyrically it is an example of The Saints trying to do their own thing not being attached to the popular Punk trends of the time, which is itself a very Punk attitude whether intentional or not. Musically it is the initial beginnings of the expansion of The Saints future sound.

This Week's Play List:

1. Result – Suburban Addicts
2. Jagwar Pirates - Planet Claire
3. The Human Beings – Evil Hearted You
4 The Knaves – Leave Me Alone
5. The Orwells – Suspended
6. Get Smart – Eat, Sleep A-Go-Go
7. The Beastie Boys – Eggman
8. Chang-A-Lang – Thom’s Song
9. Actual Water – Open Votes
10. The Hentchmen – West Side Brat
11. Ramblin’ Ambassadors – Superlungbucket
12. The Bell Peppers – Batman
13. Mike Jones Group – Funny Feeling
14. Rolling Stones - Rip This Joint
15. Sex Pistols - The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
16. The Rezillos – It Gets Me
17. Wasted Lives – Wirehead
18. Active Dog – Nothing Holding You
19. The Saints – This Perfect Day (Single Version)
20. The Saints – L-I-E-S
21. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Betrayal Takes Two
22. Dead Ghosts - I Can't Get No
23. Young Rival – Black Is Good
24. The Ketamines - Don't Stop (Go On)
25. Bob Dylan - From A Buick 6
26. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
27. MC5 - High School

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 18. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Allah-Las and The Professionals & Show # 460

The Allah-Las - Don't You Forget It

The Allah-Las are a newer band based out of Los Angeles, California. The band formed in 2008. Three of its members knew each other from working at Amoeba Music, and the band consists of Spencer Durhan (bass), Matthew Correia (drums), Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar) and Miles Michaud (guitar/vocals). The band's first release was a seven inch record featuring the song “Catamaran” backed with “Long Journey”. Their music captures a very Californian sound featuring Psychedelic, catchy British Invasion sounds, mixed in with a dash of some American Garage. The band released two singles in 2012, and also released their first full length album entitled The Allah-Las in the same year.

The Professionals - 1-2-3

“1-2-3” was the second single released by The Professionals in October of 1980. The Professionals were formed in 1979 by Steve Jones and Paul Cook who previously played in the Sex Pistols. After Sex Pistols dissolved Jones continued with this band, while they had similarities to Sex Pistols, The Professionals featured a more Hard Rock sound. The band recorded an album in 1980, but it was not released until 1990 due to several complications, which was discussed in a post that I wrote back in June of 2011. The band went through several line up changes and released one album in 1981 entitled I Didn’t See It Coming.

This Week's Play List:

1. King Khan and The Gris Gris – Discreate Disguise
2. The Smoke Rings – Love’s The Thing
3. James T. Kirks – Paper Bags Got A Little More Soul
4. The Blank Tapes – Tamarind Seeds
5. The Scenics – Miami
6. Hysterics – Won’t Get Far
7. Hot Nasties – Barney Rubble Is My double
8. Teenanger – Bad Hand
9. Pow Wows – Rebel Stomp
10. Jay Sad – The Stalk
11. The Strokes – Fast Animals
12. Jaill – Snake Shakes
13. The Allah-Las – Don’t You Forget It
14. The Limininas – Salvation
15. The Professionals – Payola
16. Rudi – I-Spy
17. The Bears – Decisions
18. The Outcasts – Self Conscious Over You
19. Sloan – Jenny
20. Ramones – Outsider
21. The Rolling Stones – Confessin’ The Blues
22. The Soft Boys – Rock n Roll Toilet
23. Alex Chilton - Boogie Shoes
24. Thee Oh Sees - Maze Fancier
25. Joe Strummer – Passport To Detroit

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 11. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Mark Inside's Chris Levoir (1981-2013) & Show # 459

I first met Chris Levoir when he was at Phog Lounge in Windsor, Ontario playing with his band The Mark Inside in 2009. I interviewed the band for my radio show Revolution Rock (on CJAM FM) at that show and then whenever The Mark Inside played Windsor, I would go to see them play live. I rarely missed a show by them when they were in town, I even saw them several times before 2009. When in town Chris would talk to the people that came to the show, prior to and following an intense live performance. Their shows were griping as Chris would captivate audiences by walking out in the crowd, walking on tables, or even sometimes playing on top of the bar at Phog as the rest of the band contained the intensity behind him. This past weekend, Chris Levoir passed away, the news came as a shock to many in the Indie scene in Toronto, but also in Windsor and other communities as well. In addition to being a musician Chris was also a respected soundman in Toronto, recently working at The Great Hall. The Mark Inside were gearing up to release their next full length album Dark Hearts Can Radiate White Heat that was set to be released this July. Chris Levoir will be sorely missed.

Here is the interview I did with Chris and Geoff from The Mark Inside and members of Hamilton's Young Rival. The interview took place during a game of Jenga at Phog Lounge in November 2009.

Download this interview here

This Week's Play List:

1. The Small Faces – All Or Nothing
2. Terrorways – She’s A Mod
3. The Stance – Yellow Fever
4. 20/20 – Under The Freeway
5. The Last – Every Summer Night
6. Tim Ray & A.V – Quarter To Eight
7. Spizzenergi – Where’s Captain Kirk?
8. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – Rover & Rusty
9. The Bell Peppers – About A Girl
10. The Seeds – Try To Understand
11. Dead Ghosts – That Old Feeling
12. The Ketamines – You Can’t Serve Two Masters
13. The Syndicats – Crawdaddy Simone
14. Peter Case – I Shook His Hand
15. The Mark Inside – Carousel
16. The Mark Inside – Life On The Atlas
17. The Mark Inside – Circling The Drain
18. The Mark Inside – The Sky Is Falling Down
19. The Rip Offs – Can’t Stop
20. Ultravox! – Fear In The Western World
21. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Going Going Gone
22. Nirvana – Mexican Seafood
23. Nirvana - Beeswax

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 4. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.