Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Famines Interview & Show # 694


The Famines formed in 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta as a two-piece band featuring singer/guitarist Raymond Biesinger and drummer Garrett Kruger. The band employs a minimalist approach to their music which draws on fuzzy garage sounds and 70s protopunk, and have described themselves as being “an art cult noise garage duo”. Now based out of Montreal and featuring drummer Drew Demers, who joined the band in 2014, The Famines released several seven inch singles via the Mammoth Cave Recording Co. and a variety of other labels from 2008-2011.  The singles were eventually collected on a full-length LP as The Complete Collected Singles: 2008-2011. A cassette was released in 2008 titled 14 July 2008, which captured the band in their first live performance. The cassette was released with a companion booklet that was 268 pages. All of the band’s artwork has been designed by Raymond Biesinger, who in addition to being in The Famines is an accomplished illustrator.

In 2014, The Famines recorded a full-length album that was to be released on Mammoth Cave Recording Co., but that label which started in 2009, announced they would cease operations as a label in February of 2015. Instead of leaving their album’s pending release in limbo, The Famines came up with the concept of a “paper LP”. They tested out this concept with a “paper single”, 2015’s “Stay Home Club/Who Wants Disarmament”. The idea was relatively simple, the release would be a digital download coupled with a large 20X30 newsprint poster. They applied this concept to what would become the full-length album Too Cool & Other Songs, which was released in July 2015. It was also released on their own label Pentagon Black.

Too Cool & Other Songs marked the band’s full-length album return after four years, it was also the first release that featured artwork that was in colour and not in black and white, as all previous Famines related releases had been. The artwork also features images on the cover that correspond with lyrics that are found on this nine-track album. Recorded at Drones Club in Montreal by Christian Simmons, Too Cool & Other Songs captures the band in a new re-energized state. The album starts off with driving drumbeats and moments of feedback before launching into a fuzzy riff driven tale inspired by the fashion industry. With lyrics such as “Put on your dark glasses so you can’t see shit”, “You got a capsule collection of tanks, tubes and tops/supernatural selection via pricey shops” and a chorus of “Too cool/Too cool/Under fashion rule/The way the world’s going/Too cool to live”, this song contrasts warlike imagery describing the battle of being involved with this industry, while at the same time contrasting it with the contradictions and problems found within it. This viewpoint could also be applied to other mediums such as the music industry, or to someone who views themselves as being really cool or hip by mainstream standards. “Hail To The Taxman” picks up the pace and intensity, as “Attack Machine Blues”, described as a dismal hop in the album’s liner notes, lyrically rallies for finding your own voice amongst values that are forced upon citizens in our everyday environment that come from political forces. “Five Ways” is even more frenetic while “Who’s Next?” brings the pace down a bit and drifts into Kraut-rock territory.

“Fast Times” fades in with a guitar riff sounding like a radio distress signal that gets louder as the drums shuffle towards the first verse of the song. This track takes a critical look of our modern culture dominated by the immediacy of the Internet. With lyrics such as “Dear the internet/Look what you’re doing to us/Making things so fast we cannot keep up” and “That feeling of inadequacy is spread around so well it can kill I can tell” and lines such as “Not check my email 700 times a day”, this song illustrates the quickness of technology and how we lose something in the process. “Zero Sum” is a hard hitting track with lyrics such as “If you want one thing/You cannot have another” that contrasts the theory of the zero sum game to life choices such as loans and being a home owner, while “I’ll Save My Sympathy” attacks in a barrage of drum fills and deep cutting guitar riffs in which Biesinger proposes saving his sympathies for someone worthwhile as opposed to someone who isn’t. With words such as “I’ve got plenty of tears/But I have none to lose” and “I’ve got plenty of tears/But where they go I choose”, this song bites and cuts deep into the listener’s subconscious with an undeniable conviction. The album ends with the six minute and twelve second epic, fiery song “The Rumour Mill (Has A Name and Face)”, which has been The Famines live set ender for many years.

In the liner notes found on the artwork it states: “Listen, enjoy, reflect and seldom stop.” This could take on many meanings not just in the context of The Famines, but in general. With Too Cool & Other Songs, The Famines question what surrounds them as the lyrics are expressed in vivid and engaging ways, finding space amongst the musical chaos that surrounds them.

Since the release of Too Cool & Other Songs, The Famines label, Pentagon Black has released three paper LP compilations. Pentagon Black No. 1 & 2, which compiles previously unreleased studio recordings by bands across Canada, were released in 2016 and 2017. Compilation No. 3 followed in June 2017, which was a compilation of rough sounding live recordings made by smart phones of bands from Canada. It was released on a postcard. An album was also released by the Montreal band Priors, featuring Famines drummer Drew Demers in March 2017.

For more info on Pentagon Black and The Famines, visit www.thefamines.ca

Check out my interview with Raymond and Drew of The Famines here:



Saturday Night Playlist:

1. !Action Pact! - Times Must Change
2. Chain & The Gang - What Is A Dollar?
3. LCD Soundsystem - Change Yr Mind
4. Laura Sauvage - You're Ugly When You Cry
5. The Courtneys - Mars Attacks
6. The Bad Signs - Love Lock
7. Thee Rum Coves - Tell Me Something I Don't Know
8. Les Wild Ones - Mon Amour
9. Simply Saucer - Bullet Proof Nothing (CJSW Session)
10. No Aloha - Sway (CJSW Session)
11. Psychic Void - Morning Anxiety (2017 Demo)
12. Cellos - Bury Me On Highway 3
13. The Famines - Attack Machine Blues
14. The Famines - Free Love Is A Sales Technique

THE FAMINES INTERVIEW

15. The Famines - The State of Music
16. Lee Ranaldo - New Thing
17. Gord Downie - Wolf's Home
18. Bonny Doon - Relieved
19. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Fish N Chips Paper
20. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Why Don't You Live Me (Like You Used To Do)
21. Nick Lowe - Cracking Up
22. Leonard Cohen - My Oh My
23. Howlin' Wolf - Moanin' At Midnight
24. Lou Reed - The Last Shot

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fred Cole, George Young, Fats Domino & Shows # 691, 692, 693

We lost the following three musicians recently. All are different in their own way and left their imprint on rock music in different forms. Each of the three episodes of Revolution Rock included in this post features music from these artists in some way. They can be downloaded in the link after the playlists at the end of this post.

Fred Cole (Lollipop Shoppe, Dead Moon, Pierced Arrows):


Fred Cole was born in Tacoma, Washington, but lived in Las Vegas, Nevada while growing up. He began his career in music at a very young age playing with a band in Vegas called The Lords. They released a single in 1964, before Deep Soul Cole, his next band, released a single in 1965. The Weeds, formed in 1966. The band attempted to drive to the Canadian border in order to avoid the draft, but didn’t make it that far. Rumoured to run out of funds and or gas, the band found themselves in Portland, Oregon. It was here where the band gained a following and after signing to Uni Records, changed their name to The Lollipop Shoppe. The band recorded one album, Just Color and released their now well-known 1968 single, “You Must Be A Witch”. It was also here, where Cole met his future wife and band mate, Kathleen “Toody” Connor. After the Lollipop Shoppe disbanded in 1969, and The Weeds released one more single in 1971, Cole and his wife headed for Alaska to raise their children.

Cole re-emerged to form the hard rock band Zipper, who released an album on his and Toody’s label Whizeagle in 1975. Cole then formed and released music by a variety of other bands such as King Bee, The Rats, the country band Western Front, The Range Rats and Dead Moon. It was with the band Dead Moon, in which Toody played bass and Andrew Loomis played drums that Cole’s music would gain a devout cult following. Known as a garage punk band, Dead moon blended elements of garage, punk and country into their stripped down sound. They released ten full-length albums, not counting singles, live albums and compilations and lasted from 1987-2006. Many of the band’s early recordings were engineered and released on Fred and Toody’s own label, Tombstone Records. Their early recordings were mastered by Cole himself on a mono lathe that was originally used to cut The Kingsmen’s “Louie, Louie” in 1963.

Cole and Toody then formed The Pierced Arrows with Kelly Haliburton on drums and released two albums in 2008 and 2010. Recently, Cole and Toody had been performing acoustically. Fred Cole passed away at the age of 69 in November 2017 due to cancer. The music that he created spanned decades, and while it wasn’t a mainstream success, it is beloved amongst underground music communities in the US and Europe. When Dead Moon split up in 2006, Cole provided this quote which emphasizes the effect his music had on underground, DIY music communities and in general: "It's been a journey we will always treasure and feel that a worldwide family has emerged in its place".

George Young (Australian Easybeat, producer and songwriter):


At the end of October of this year, George Young passed away. An important figure in the Australian music history, George’s journey into the music world began in 1963 when he met future band mate and collaborator Harry Vanda at the VIllawood Migrant Hostel in Sydney, Australia. Young’s family, just relocated from Glasgow, Scotland at the time. George Young and Harry Vanda would be part of the Australian garage rock band, The Easybeats, who were Australia’s answer to The Beatles. Along with Stevie Wright (vocals), Dick Diamonde (bass) and Snowy Fleet (drums), the band had singles like “She’s So Fine”, “Sorry” and “Friday On My Mind” were charting hits in Australia, while “Friday On My Mind” was a hit in the US as well. Along with the Bee Gees, The Easybeats were among the first Australian artists to have international success. They split in 1969, Young and Vanda would then enter the production world writing songs for other musicians and taking on more of a producing role in music.

George Young and Harry Vanda relocated to London, England shortly after this and in addition to producing and writing songs for others and bands including themselves, they also produced music for George Alexander. His real name was Alexander Young, George Young's eldest brother, and when the Young family relocated to Australia in 1963, Alex stayed in London to pursue music. Signed to The Beatles, Apple Music Publishing Inc. label, Alexander was in the psychedelic rock band Grapefruit. They released two albums and some singles. After Grapefruit had broken up, Alexander joined Vanda/Young and collaborated on a series of releases under different band names and on one final Grapefruit single in 1971 titled “Universal Party/Sha Sha”. George and Harry returned to Australia in 1973 and formed Flash And The Pan in 1976, a synthpop band who had their share of hits from the mid 70s to the 90s.

In addition to their own musical efforts and in the production role, Young also had a big role in a band that featured his two younger brothers, Angus and Malcolm Young. The two would be a part of the band AC/DC and their first five albums were produced by George Young and Harry Vanda. It was George Young’s suggestion to have Bon Scott join the group as their singer, after Dave Evans exited the group. Scott’s previous band The Valentines had released some singles in the 60s that were written by Vanda/Young. In addition to this, George played bass on some of their early recordings and even filled in on bass for live gigs for the band in their early days. George Young retired from the music industry in the 90s, but would produced AC/DC’s 2000 album, Stiff Upper Lip on his own. George Young often refused interviews later in his life, but the imprint he left on music is vast. He helped shape and change Australian music and let the music do the talking.

Fats Domino (New Orleans Rock and Roll Music Pioneer and Icon):


Fats Domino was born Antoine Dominique Domino Jr in 1928 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was one of the pioneering musicians in rock and roll music and has sold over 65 million records. By the age of 14, Domino was performing in bars in New Orleans. In 1947, he was invited to a backyard barbecue by New Orleans bandleader Billy Diamond. Domino was then asked to join his band, The Solid Senders where he was said to have earned $3 a week to play piano with them. He also earned the nickname “Fats” by Diamond because Domino reminded him of pianists Fats Waller and Fats Pichon. He was signed to Imperial Records in 1949 where instead of being paid a for each song he recorded, he would be paid in royalties based on sales for the songs he recorded. Joining up with producer and co-songwriter Dave Bartholomew, they wrote the song “Fat Man” which was based on a version of the song “Junker Blues”. The song featured Domino’s unique, rolling piano style, combined with his vocals over a strong backbeat. The result was what is widely considered the first successful rock and roll single. It sold a million copies.

What followed next was a string of successful singles, often both the A-side and B-side would chart. In 1955, “Ain’t That A Shame” became his first crossover pop hit, it charted on the Billboard pop singles charts. His biggest hit proved to be “Blueberry Hill”, a song written in the 1940s by Vincent Rose, Larry Stock and Al Lewis. It reached number two on top 40 Billboard charts where it stayed for two weeks and number one on the R&B singles charts where it stayed for eight weeks. Some of his other well-known songs include “I’m Walkin’”, “Blue Monday” and “Walking To New Orleans”. Fats hit streak came to an end in 1964 as the British Invasion took over. Domino continued to record until the 1970s. He left his record label in 1963 for ABC-Paramount Records. Imperial Records was sold in 1963 to Liberty Records. Fats famously said in a 1979 interview that “I stuck with them until they sold out”. 40 of the songs that he recorded for Imperial charted in the top 10 of the R&B charts of the day and 11 of them cracked the top ten in the pop charts. Fats continued to tour until 1995. He would intermittently make appearances in the time after this, but rarely ventured out to perform in public. His last public appearance was on May 19th, 2007 in New Orleans. The concert was filmed and played on TV as Fats Domino: Walkin’ Back To New Orleans. A documentary entitled Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll premiered on PBS in 2016.

Fats Domino was an icon and pioneer in rock and roll music alongside others, such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. He sold more records than any other 50s era rock musician, with the exception of Elvis Presley and his music contained an undeniable rhythm and groove. Dr. John had this to say of Fats Domino back in 2010 for Rolling Stone Magazine: “Anytime anybody plays a slow blues, the piano player will eventually get to something like Fats. I can't tell you the number of times I played sessions and was asked specifically to do Fats. That innocence is there in his music. He's a good man, and people respond to that goodness. I don't think it was about anything other than the tradition of working the house and what felt good to Fats."


Show 693 Playlist (Originally Aired On November 11th, 2017):

1. Lollipop Shoppe - It's Only A Reflection
2. Lollipop Shoppe - You Must Be A Witch
3. Dead Moon - I Hate The Blues
4. Pierced Arrows - Caroline
5. The Easybeats - She's So Fine
6. The Easybeats - No One Knows (Outtake)
7. Flash And The Pan - Welcome To The Universe
8. Thee Rum Coves - Behind Your Smile
9. Deja Voodoo - Lonesome Train (Live at The Backstage Club)
10. Tough Age - Me In Glue
11. Beef Boys - Drink=
12. Lost Durangos - Evil Town
13. Modernettes - I Can Only Give You Everything
14. Safe Word - You & Me
15. The Replacements - Red Red Wine
16. The Replacements - Alex Chilton (Alternate Version)
17. The Replacements - Can't Hardly Wait (Alternate Version)
18. Fergus & Geronimo - No Parties
19. Parquet Courts - Tears O'Plenty
20. Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts - Soul and Cigarette
21. A.Savage - Phantom Limbo
22. Tea Leaves - Selfish
23. Rusty - Warm House (Demo)
24. Flip City - Exiles Road (1974 Demo)
25. Aron D'Alesio - Answer To A Question
26. The Stoves - Can't Slow Down
27. Chad VanGaalen - Pine And Clover

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



Show 692 Playlist (Originally Aired On November 4th, 2017):

1. Deer Tick - Card House
2. Deer Tick - Look How Clean I Am
3. The Radiation Flowers - Sunrise
4. Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Wither With You
5. Andreas - November Gales
6. The Replacements - I'll Buy
7. The Replacements - Left of The Dial
8. The Replacements - Kiss Me On The Bus (Demo)
9. JD McPherson - Undivided Heart & Soul
10. Motorhead - Jumpin' Jack Flash
11. The Outcasts - Love You Never
12. Menace - Screwed Up
13. Alternative TV - Life
14. The Famines - Fast Times
15. Coufleur Dessin - The Bad Thing
16. Destroyer - Tinseltown Swimming In Blood
17. Wolf Parade - You're Dreaming
18. Prime Junk - Dreams
19. Snake River - Dear Franklin Gabriel McCrebee
20. Neil Young - Human Highway
21. Paul the Tailor - She Said
22. The 5.6.7.8.'s - Highschool Witch
23. The Black Lips - Time of the Scab
24. The Scientists - Nitro
25. Violent Femmes - Gimme the Car
26. The Replacements - Waitress in the Sky

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



Show 691 Playlist (Originally Aired On October 28th, 2017):

1. The Tragically Hip - Blow At High Dough
2. Gord Downie & The Sadies - Budget Shoes
3. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Silver & Gold
4. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - I Live My Life
5. Fats Domino - Ain't That A Shame
6. Fats Domino - Don't Blame It On Me
7. Fats Domino - Before I Grow Too Old
8. Screamin' Jay Hawkins - You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To)
9. Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds - Spider Baby
10. Dead Moon - Fire In The Western World
11. Mark Sultan - Let Me Out
12. Flat Duo Jets - I'm Sorry
13. The D4 - Evil Heart
14. Ornament & Crime - Academy of Birds
15. Ray Dafrico/Cait O'Riordan - Rejected
16. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Pressure
17. Cub - The Day I Said Goodbye
18. The Potatomen - The Beautiful & The Damned
19. The Courtneys - Virgo
20. The Courtneys - 25
21. Depruse - Caught Off Guard
22. Kim Gray - 90's Baby
23. Tough Age - Ghost
24. By Divine Right - Soul Shakedown Party
25. U-Men - Trouble Under Water
26. Ty Segall - Big Man
27. Revo - Too Much Paranoias (Live At The Press Club)
28. The Ride Theory - The Piper
29. Ricked Wicky - I'll Let You In

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 28.