Tag Archives: garage rock

Mixtape! Back To Schooldays

The good Doc knows the A-B-Cs of pop music; this was one of the first tape swap mixes I made for Son Of Tape Tree (a/k/a/ SOTT), a tradition which is in its thirteenth or fourteenth year. We’re down from one every two months to once a year despite the ability to dub CDs much faster and cheaper than C-90s! Title obviously stolen from a great Graham Parker song.

Video: Graham Parker, Back To Schooldays

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New Album! Matthew Sweet

The new album from Matthew Sweet is streaming at Soundcloud!

I must admit I’m not immediately blown away by Modern Art, although I can hear equal parts of his early pop and latter-day garage covers. Some songs are just not connecting at all. But tracks like “Sleeping” and “When Love Lets Go I’m Falling” hit the spot with me. Sweet has been hit or miss the last couple of releases, but he’s had a hell of a career run, and I would never count him out.

I can’t believe it’s been twenty years since Girlfriend, an album I can pull out at any time; I smell a Blast From The Past column on that one sometime soon. But that was then and this is now, and I will give this album an honest chance.

So check it out for yourself, end to end, for free.

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Kickstart The Standells!

Out of the garage and back into your lives.

Far too often we dismiss a band as one-hit wonders because that’s all we ever hear. I was collecting singles when “Dirty Water” came growling out of the transistor radio in the mid-60s, and the chorus of that song was as much a part of every weekend party as “Shout” was in the 80’s after Animal House revitalized frat parties.

People who never even lived in Boston swore allegiance to The River Charles, but since FM radio hadn’t yet found its footing, The Standells disappeared from view as quickly as The Count Five or Crazy Elephant. Of course, they were making great records before that hit and afterwards as well. But for most people, they were one and done, albeit a great “one”.

Video: “Dirty Water

Now, forty years after their demise, the band is heading back into the studio to record a new album including original songs (click here for a rehearsal video) and a re-recording of one of their vintage tracks that never saw the light of day. Founder Larry Tamblyn and long-time Standell John Fleck are joined by Greg Burnham and Adam Marsland. Tamblyn (yes, Russ’s brother and Amber’s uncle) is pragmatic in his approach to keeping the spirit alive.

The band promises that the new songs will capture the raw, driving sound The Standells were known for back in the ’60s. But in order to accomplish the mission, the band is reaching out for support through Kickstarter.

From the pitch page:

In order to do the music justice, the band wants to record it in the right studio situation – one that is not only state-of-the-art but also has the capacity to lay down tracks both digitally and on tape.  Plus, The Standells will be using an authentic Vox Continental.  The funds raised here on Kickstarter will be used towards those studio costs, tape stock, engineering, artwork, design, CD duplication and vinyl pressing expenses for all those who still love their 45’s and 33 1/3’s

The Standells have learned from experience – No major label suits will be allowed in the recording studio and no producers will be dictating to them what to record. That is why The Standells are using July 4th as their funding deadline.  Independence Day for an Independent Group!

Sounds like a plan! Click here to join the Kickstarter mission!

Video: “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” (2011 tour!)

The Standells on Facebook

I love that Dirty Water

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T.G.I.F. – Ten For Joey Ramone

Joey Ramone would have turned sixty yesterday.

That’s inconceivable. It’s also hard to believe that so many older bands – who easily endured as much drugs and demonic activity as their younger followers – are still out there banging away when three of the founding Ramones are gone.

But time has taught us what only the die-hard fans knew at the time – The Ramones were one of the greatest American rock bands to ever take the stage. Initially classified as punk, they were really more of a hard, loud pop band who got in, banged out a few chords and got out without wasting your time. You not only could sing along with all the songs, you could play them. But there was magic in their direct simplicity, and Johnny Ramone was a very underrated rhythm guitar player.

Hard to believe that last month marked ten years since we lost him. Ten years! I feel like I’ve been in a coma; time shouldn’t move that fast.

But even though The Ramones are gone, their legacy lives on through their recorded work and the many bands who continue to carry the flag. Sure, there are the obvious ones, everyone from The Sex Pistols to Green Day.

But in honor of Joey – a fellow Queens guy – here are Ten For Joey Ramone…ten lesser known bands who took heed when American music was restructured back in 1974. Turn it up – gabba gabba hey!

(01) – Teenage Bottlerocket

(02) – The Huntingtons

(03) – The Methadones

(04) – The Leftovers

(05) – The Lillingtons

(06) – Screeching Weasel

(07) – The Riverdales

(08) – The Vindictives

(09) – The Queers

(10) – Teen Idols

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Beatlesque Again

What can I say? He’s done it again.

As a followup to the prior Meet The Beatlesque, my pal Angelo at Power Pop Criminals has unleashed a new two-CD mixtape of Beatley tunes called Beatlesque Again. These are not Beatle covers, but rather a collection of songs that capture the essence and spirit of the Fab Four.

The list of artists should entice any fan of the genre, from more recognizable names like Robyn Hitchcock and Julian Lennon to successful indie pop stars like Ben Kweller, The Nines and Splitsville. Those yet to discover the wonders of Magic Christian, Kenny Howes, The Singles, The Greenberry Woods and The Redwalls will be bowled over.

There’s great music being made all the time, you just have to go find it. Angelo is one of your chief warriors in this effort, so click here and be thrilled by this fifty-five track collection.

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Blast From The Past: Wilco

Tangents are wonderful things…

While reading the Morgan Taylor interview the other day, I noticed that he’d opened a lot of shows for Wilco. That made me pull out Being There and Summerteeth; both those records sound perfect when Spring is trying to shake off the doldrums and give you a warm day or two. and despite my town setting its all time record for rain during the month of April, birds and buds and ants are telling me that little liar groundhog’s ruse is almost over.

In other words, my review of Summerteeth from 1999 in…

When asked about his plans for Wilco after Being There had caught people off guard, Jeff Tweedy hinted that the band would most likely take another unexpected turn and create “a twisted pop record“. Let it never be said that Tweedy is not a man of his word.

Once again self-produced by the band (Tweedy, Jay Bennett, John Stirratt and Ken Coomer), Summerteeth thrives on the juxtaposition of introspective, sometimes dense, lyrical wordplay fleshed out in a rainbow of musical style. There are several songs that will immediately strike the listener as upbeat, sing-along melodies, yet underneath lurk images of loneliness, confusion and unfulfilled dreams.

Video: “Candyfloss

Candyfloss” jumps out of the speakers with a bouncy, 60s pop calliope beat, yet Tweedy’s confessional says otherwise: “I’m the boy who looks excited/I’m the boy who’se gonna fall apart…I’m the boy who eats his heart out…” . Likewise, the opener, “Can’t Stand It” is a groove rocker but boasts a chorus that states “our dreams will never be answered again“.

Via Chicago” is one of the few that matches sonic pulse with lyrical imagery. Slow and deliberate, the opening line is as disturbing as the distorted, feedback-laden guitar solo that cradles the fade-out: “Dreamed about killing you again last night / and it felt all right to me…”. Then – just as your heart and brain are splattered across the floor – “ELT (Every Little Thing)” rockets out of the speakers like the hit single it should be, a cousin to Bowie’sHeroes” filtered through The Byrds. It’s another song of lost opportunity or maybe Fate’s warning, but which? Hopeful or hopeless? Tweedy’s deft pen leaves that open to your imagination, and depending upon your mood, it will be either.

Video: “ELT (Every Little Thing)

The title track, like “Candyfloss” and “ELT“, will no doubt pump out of radios all summer long. No matter that the subject is denial about the rut that his life has become; the infectious refrain will have you singing along with the “ooh-ahh” background vocals (with lilting keyboards and chirping birds, no less) and have you daydreaming as well. “My Darling” and the stark “We’re Just Friends” echo Big Star circa Sister Lovers with a little Brian Wilson harmony thrown in, while “You Wake Up Feeling Old” is ironically finger-snapping pop.

The band must have gathered up every instrument in the studio and then some – bells, bird chirps, penny whistles, shakers, flutes, horns and tympani are sparingly but creatively used throughout the record. And as he promised, Tweedy has stripped down the band and reconstructed its direction, a move that will probably alienate some diehard Uncle Tupelo purists (assuming they aren’t already pissed off) but should thrill anyone with an open mind and a respect for the art of songwriting. Summerteeth is funky, soulful, rocking, heartbreaking, pensive and explosive – in short, a masterpiece.

Wilcoworld

Listen to clips here

Roger that!

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New Album! Thee Wylde Oscars

Not brand new, but hopefully new to you

As a music fan who grew up with singles, albums and later CDs, I must admit that I’m still struggling to move from the tactile world to the digital age. Meaning that not only would I prefer to have the object in my hands to savor and manage, but I will not have the mental connection to that image to fall back upon when trying to remember whether I own a digital album or not.

I can’t count the times I saved a link to the digital-only release of Right, Yeah by Thee Wylde Oscars; hoping that the CD version would soon be available Stateside. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t just send the money to Off The Hip in Australia, I didn’t say this was logical…). I mean, look at that cover – does that scream early Who album, or what? So plunk I did, eventually, and I smacked myself for waiting so long.

Jay Wiseman, lead Wylde, is a veteran of some garage/soul bands in San Diego that I’ve never heard of. He moved to Melbourne and recruited a young trio of like-minded rockers willing to take the journey, and a scant 18 months later we have this great result. Pop around YouTube and you’ll find a couple of videos that expose a band still gelling as a working unit, but the heart of the effort is undeniable. If they have indeed written fifty-plus songs already, I’m hoping that means a follow-up album in 2011.

Here’s my review from the latest smoking hot copy of…

I think I finally decoded the intent behind the somber voice intoning “…the watusi…the twist” in The Beatles’ epic “Revolution Number 9”. It was a call to action to reclaim the words “dance music” from the prepubescent Auto Tune singers and return it to the manic, sweaty, sexual gyrations that it was originally coined for.

What About Me?

Hyperkinetic and rocking, Thee Wylde Oscars start Right Yeah with a bang and don’t let up, and I defy you to not beat the crap out of the nearest solid object with a complimentary drumbeat. And yeah, get that air guitar cranked up – the rhythm one – and chunk along to one three-minute garage / punk / soul / rock chestnut after another.

Video: “Right, Yeah!”

Lead vocalist Jay Wiseman wrote all but three tracks, and the sonic wallop is seamlessly and consistently great. “White Light, White Heat” is a pretty simple song to play, which is why it’s rare that a cover version ever steps up to the plate to add anything new. Thee Wylde Oscars grab it, bitch-slap it and then burn it down. Unlike their namesake, there’s nothing the least bit fey about this Aussie band. ‘Nuff said…right?

Yeah?

Thee Wylde Oscars on MySpace

Listen to clips and buy at Amazon

More great stuff at Off The Hip

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