Saturday, June 28, 2014

Television's Adventure & Show # 515

Television’s second full-length album Adventure was originally released in 1978 and was panned by critics. Comparisons were made to the band’s debut album Marquee Moon, which captured a certain raw quirkiness. Marquee Moon also had the benefit of featuring the best songs from the bands live set, which they had been playing for a few years. On Adventure the band went for something different. With more of a budget than the previous album, Adventure features a more laidback approach to the overall songs found on the album and several songs that were made up in the studio. As guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, Tom Verlaine stated in the 2003 Rhino reissue linear notes “The tempos [on Adventure] aren’t as pushed. We thought maybe some of the songs on Marquee Moon were a little too fast, and I was thinking about Memphis beats, pretending the studio was like 110 degrees and we were sloppin’ around playing in a thumpy kind of way.” As a result Adventure comes off with a more textured sound. There are keyboards, backing vocals and a more layered sound overall.

Adventure was recorded at Record Plant NYC and Soundmixers in New York from September of 1977 to November of 1977 and then released in April of 1978. The band worked with producer John Jansen. The songs still feature the sound that Television had been known for such as the intertwining guitar work of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, but the rough edges that cornered the songs on Marquee Moon have been rounded off a bit. Adventure features eight songs, as did its predecessor, starting off with the track “Glory”. This song called one of the band’s most accessible commercial sounding tracks, features reverb laden drums, staccato guitar rhythms simultaneously mixed in with intertwining Television guitar leads and an R&B bass groove. The layered textured sounds also work in conjunction with Verlaine’s lyrics that seem to portray a sort of epiphany with lines such as “When I see the glory/I ain’t gotta worry” and “How could I argue with a mirror/She looked at me. Yes I hear her”. “Days” features some intricate guitar work from Verlaine and Lloyd that come together like interlocking gears amongst the song’s pop sensibilities. The song’s reflective lyrics come to fruition in the chorus with its lush layered vocals that repeat the word “Days”.

“Foxhole” is one of the more aggressive songs on Adventure. The song actually dates back to the band’s live set pre-dating this album. The song recalls a “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” roughness and deals with a war-like atmosphere lyrically with lyrics portraying a character jumping for cover amongst the chaos. “Careful” follows completing the second and final song on this album that is pulled from the band’s early live set staples. This song goes all the way back to when Richard Hell was still in the band. Portraying a theme of indifference lyrically, the song also features almost country-like guitar rhythm parts at times. Another interesting point about this song is that the vocals were recorded approximately twelve feet away from the microphone adding a certain creative strangeness to its overall vibe. As Verlaine stated once again in the 2003 Rhino reissue linear notes “Years ago people sang like 12 feet away from the microphone. I wanted to see what that sounded like. I did it, but then wouldn’t sing it again [laughs]. It’s a very strange sound.”

“The Fire” showcases the band stepping into experimental territory. The song was written during the recording sessions for Adventure and features keyboard and Ondes Martenot, an instrument with a sound eerily similar to the Theremin. The song also features what Tom Verlaine calls an “Eastern European” vibe. To add to the song’s darker textures apparently Verlaine used a knife for a guitar slide part in the song, instead of a traditional guitar slide. “Ain’t That Nothin” features stop and start structures and a middle section that has the same chords as The Kinks “I Need You” as a guitar solo and bassline add to the other elements at play here. “Ain’t That Nothin’” wouldn’t have been out of place on Marquee Moon. “The Dream’s Dream” closes out Adventure. Originally an instrumental track entitled “Cairo”, Verlaine tried to capture a “Middle Eastern” sound on this track. The song is a mini-epic clocking in at six minutes and forty-five seconds with complex time signatures, creating an overall moody piece to end out Adventure.

The band also recorded a song called “Adventure” which is where the album’s title originates from, but this track was left off of the album. This has caused some fans of the band to debate on whether the track “Adventure” was left off the album due to time restraints of the vinyl record, its not being fully finished or because of a loss in fidelity on the track due to “groove cramming” discovered during the album’s test pressing process. The track itself found it’s way onto the 2003 reissue with a few other bonus tracks and features blues rhythm’s executed raunchily by guitarist Richard Lloyd. Lyrically, the song boasts lyrics stating “I love adventure/I need a new adventure now”, which describes what the band was going for on this album. Television could have easily made another album like Marquee Moon, but they didn’t. This album is not drastically different from the sound that Television was known for, it is just more produced and in some parts less raw than the beams of mysterious light that illuminated audiences on 1977’s Marquee Moon. Adventure breaks from the mysterious light and heads to a new setting, one that is not too different from Marquee Moon. Adventure brings in new shades of light to Television’s developed sound.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. True Lovers - Guilty Pleasure # 9
2. Tijuana Panthers - Torpedo
3. The Howlies - Dirty Woman
4. Library Voices - Windsor Hum
5. The Schomberg Fair - Drunkard's Prayer
6. The Orwells - Southern Comfort
7. Swans - A Little God In My Hands
8. Perky Pat — The Coloniel
9. Antheads - Think Fast
10. Crystal Swells - Kelly Does Bayside
11. Bad Brains - The Regulator
12. The Jesus And Mary Chain - You Trip Me Up
13. Kestrels - Wild Eyes
14. Telstar Drugs - Unglued
15. Alex Chilton - Lost My Job
16. Jack White - High Ball Stepper
17. The Rockatones - Everythings Gone Wrong
18. One Way Street - In My Eyes
19. Canadian Squires - Leave Me Alone
20. The Iguanas - Outer Limits
21. Mach Kung-Fu - Hit Nation
22. The Deadly Ones - The Moonlight Surfer
23. Beck - Orphans
24. The Clash - Wrong'Em Boyo
25. Undertones - Teenaged Kicks (Live Amsterdam Paradiso 1980)
26. The Scavengers - Money In The Bank
27. The Government - Zippers Of Fire
28. Wire - The 15th
29. Franz Ferdinand - All For You Sophia
30. Television - Glory
31. Television - Ain't That Nothin' (Single Version)

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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Revolution Rock (Revisited) Public Image Limited's Albatross & Show # 514

Originally released in November 1979, Public Image Limited’s Metal Box (or Second Edition in the US) was the band’s second full-length album. Following their trend of post punk music from their 1978 release First Issue, Public Image Limited found themselves diving into experimental territory as they took their sound into a more experimental direction. Bassist Jah Wobble’s reggae and dub-influenced basslines were evident on First Issue as was guitarist Keith Levine’s angular neurotic guitar style and John Lydon’s cryptic vocals, but they were pushed to greater depths on this album. Metal Box found PiL’s experimentation featuring a multitude of drummers such as Richard Dudanski (previously in The 101’ers), David Humphrey, guitarist Keith Levine and bassist Jah Wobble even played drums on some of songs that made up Metal Box. But it is the album’s first track that clearly portrays the avant-garde, experimental post punk sounds that the band was aiming for on Metal Box.

“Albatross” clocks in at ten minutes and 34 seconds, making it not only a long album opener, but also a unique starting track. The song itself was recorded live in one take at The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, England. When initially recorded, the band was unsure whether it would make the final track listing for this release. The song featured heavy dub influenced basslines, metallic sounding guitar stabs and drum cymbal crashes that float amongst John Lydon’s visceral lyrics that are commonly misconstrued as a reference to the Sex Pistols. The song was as John Lydon said himself “free-formed” in and interview with Scott Murphy for in 2004. He also elaborated more on the extent of the free-form tendencies of “Albatross” stating that the band “All did, and that's how it should be when the mood is right." An albatross can refer to the bird at sea or also a burden. PiL definitely was going through changes and challenges during the album's recording sessions and during this time period.  This song and album, captures a certain calmer mood, one that is more laid back than the sounds found on First Issue, but just as effective.

This week’s program was a repeat of program # 511 that originally aired on May 31st, 2014. My blog post for that week featured a write up on the LA punk band The Weirdos. You can find that post here.

The Play List:

1. The Black Angels - Sunday Evening
2. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Running Meredith
3. The Sonics - It’s All Right
4. The Spits - 2018
5. Moondogs - Ya Don’t Do Ya?
6. Ian Rubbish & The Bizzaros - Living In The Gutter
7. No Fun - Fall For A Cliche
8. The Demics - The Least You Can Do
9. Dik Van Dykes - Road Warrior
10. Talking Heads - The Big Country (Live)
11. Twin Library - A Cruel Rodeo
12. Tire Swing Co - Forgive Me
13. James OL - Bastimentos
14. Salmon Breath - Cadillac
15. Alex Chilton - Waltz Across Texas
16. Iggy & The Stooges - Cry For Me (Pin Point Eyes)
17. Modern Lovers - I’m Straight
18. Public Image Limited - Albatross
19. Laughing Clowns - I Want To Scream
20. Spizzenergi - Where’s Captain Kirk?
21. Tanz Der Youth - Delay
22. The Soft Pack - Head On Ice
23. Tay Falco’s Panther Burns - Where The Rio De Rosa Flows
24. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Cream
25. The Weirdos - We Got The Neutron Bomb
26. Radio Birdman - Descent Into The Maelstrom

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cousins The Halls Of Wickwire & Show # 513

Cousins highly anticipated follow up to 2012’s Palm At The End of The Mind was released recently. The ten-track album entitled The Halls Of Wickwire was released via Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada. The album features a stripped down garage sound with strong vocal harmonies and was recorded at Candle Studios in Toronto by Graham Walsh (of Holy Fuck) and Josh Korody (of Beliefs). Cousins originate from Halifax, Nova Scotia and features members Aaron Mangle on guitar, bass, vocals, vocals and Leigh Dotey on drums and vocals. When describing their music in a recent press release it was described as:

“A ramshackle monument built over a steady spring of melancholy. Electricity and blood in the lines. Guitar and drums. A musical avalanche set apart from the macho and debaucherous posturing and fictions of rock culture.”

In the music for the video “Ocean” (posted below), one can hear a hazy laidback garage sound with sun baked vocal harmonies. Other songs on the album include the riff heavy “Mess” that at times dips into elements of post punk, “Other Ocean” blends elements of layering guitar effects and prominent bass, “At Odds” features surf-like songscapes, “Body” is a building track with a fuzzy melodic tension, while “What’s Your Name?” displays a punk driven sound. Overall, The Halls Of Wickwire showcases the songwriting skills of Cousins that are often viewed as complex. The songs found on The Halls Of Wickwire feature layered arrangements of noise and melodies at times, but it also showcases the band at their strongest. The Halls Of Wickwire is Cousins third album and is also available through Ba Da Bing Records in the US.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. The Standells - Dirty Water (Live University of Michigan, October 22nd, 1966)
2. The Churls - Trying To Get You Off My Mind
3. The Spectres - I Never Had A Love Like That
4. False Poets - Call The Doctor
5. Husker Du - Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
6. Ought - Habit
7. Doug Gillard - Upper Hand
8. The Birthday Party - The Dim Locator
9. Joy Division - Interzone
10. Invasions - Black Lagoon
11. Vaguess - Shadow People
12. Seven Story Redhead - Shake It Out!
13. Cellos - White Swans
14. The Walkmen - The Rat
15. The Shilohs - Queen Light Queen Dark
16. The Ghost Wolves - Shotgun Pistol Grip
17. Cold Warps - Dream Creepin’
18. Mac DeMarco - Passing Out The Pieces
19. Spoon - Yougot Yr Cherry Bomb
20. The Users - Listen
21. Iggy Pop - I'm A Conservative
22. Actual Water - Brighton
23. The Stomach Mouths - Coming Back Alive
24. The White Stripes - Death Letter
25. Thee Oh Sees - Penetrating Eye
26. Cousins - Death Man
27. Sun Kil Moon - I Love My Dad
28. OFF! - I Won't Be A Casualty
29. Buzzcocks - Time’s Up

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

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Velvet Underground Scepter Studio Sessions & Show # 512

Discovering a rare piece of music from a band is an extremely rare occurrence, but it does happen. That’s what happened to a Velvet Underground fan from Montreal, Canada when he visited a garage sale in New York City in 2002. What he found was an acetate from the first studio sessions that The Velvet Underground did in April 1966 at Sceptor Studios, prior to completing The Velvet Underground & Nico album. The acetate originated from studio engineer Norman Dolph and was purchased at the garage sale for a mere 75 cents. The recordings were digitally transferred and put online in all their raw hiss and pop glory, but a bid was put in on e-bay for this rare document of The Velvet Underground’s first studio recordings in 2006. A bid was put in for around the sum of $155,000 dollars, but the bid turned out to be a fake and the buyer did not pay. It was put up on auction again and sold for around $25,000. The recordings were eventually released officially, but more on that later.

What makes these recordings unique is that they differ from the original recordings that would be released on the Velvet Underground & Nico album in 1967. The acetate features different mixes of the already released songs and alternate versions and takes of already released songs. There were only nine songs found on the acetate, they were cut on April 25th, 1966, shortly after the recordings which took place from April 18-April 23, 1966. The actetate was made to serve as demos of some sort in hopes of getting a record deal with Columbia Records. Columbia wound up passing on the band. The Velvet Underground were eventually picked up by Verve. “European Son” is extended here and goes beyond the length of the officially released studio version by the band. “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, “Femme Fatale”, and “I’ll Be You Mirror” all feature different mixes and are noticeable in terms of vocals/vocal harmonies, while songs such as “I’m Waiting For The Man”, “Venus In Furs” and “Heroin” are completely different takes from the album versions entirely. Not counting the alternate versions of the three just aforementioned tracks, the remaining six tracks from these sessions were used after some remixing and editing on the 1967 album, commonly referred to as the “banana album” due to Andy Warhol’s album art.

The Scepter Studios recordings from this acetate were eventually cleaned up and released as part of the 45th anniversary 6 CD super deluxe edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico in 2012, along with numerous other bonus tracks and live material. The Scepter Studio sessions were also released as a Record Store Day limited edition vinyl release in 2013. But, these recordings serve as a document of glimpses of works into a band in progress. The discovery of these recordings also prove that you never know what you might find if you stumble into a garage sale.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Link Wray - Big City After Dark
2. Dream Dates - The Mess You’re In
3. Cousins - Other Ocean
4. Fuzz Kings -Republican Haircuts
5. Blitzen Trapper - Fletcher
6. Neil Young - My Hometown
7. Wanda Jackson - Tunnel Of Love
8. North By North - Break Some Bones
9. M.G & The Escorts - A Someday Fool
10. Cool Rays - Diary Of You
11. Wylde Rattz - Take LSD
12. She Wolf - Going Back Home
13. The Cramps - Lonesome Town
14. Cream - From Four Until Late
15. Nature Boys - No Subject
16. Mystics - Can’t Be Happy
17. Paul Jacobs - A Place To Stay
18. Tele Novella - Stephanie Says
19. The Carbonas - Count Me Out
20. The Modernettes - Confidential
21. The Spy’s - Machine Shop
22. Paul Westerberg - Got You Down
23. Paul Westerberg - Silent Film Star
24. Pow Wows - Plastic Factory
25. The Replacements - I’m In Trouble
26. Black Lips - Dog Years
27. The Almighty Defenders - Ghost With The Most
28. Dead Ghosts - I Sleep Alone
29. Plimsouls - Zero Hour
30. Nervus Rex - There She Goes
31. Velvet Underground - Heroin (Different Take) (1966 Scepter Session)

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