Tag Archives: punk rock

Under The Radar: Clashing Plaid

Let me give you my two cents about Penny Collection

Philadelphia based Clashing Plaid is – as their own description aptly reads – three chords and a cloud of dust. Bass, drums, rhythm and lead forging a Stonesy sound that’s not quite punk rock but certainly has more attitude than most radio groups passing for rock’n’roll these days. Sure, the lyrics aren’t poetry away from the tunes, but try a dramatic reading of “Hang On Sloopy” sometime.

Guitarists Andy Watts and Anthony Porter must be huge fans of Social Distortion and The Georgia Sattelites, because their interplay is straight out of their playbook. Watts can shred, and bassist Kenny Seso and drummer Steve Ackerman are rock solid. This is the band’s fifth album, featuring nine new songs and five bonus tracks.

Video: “Remote Control Betty”

I love finding bands like this. Totally unassuming, no frills rock’n’roll – play it loud and make the car windows rattle. Or in weather like this, wake the damned neighbors. It’s a plaid plaid plaid plaid world.

Listen to clips and buy at CD Baby

Indeed!

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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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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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Under The Radar: The Shys

Most bands get all sorts of undeserved comparative hype. While I am usually guilty of “sounds like” relationships in my reviews, I feel that without them it would be more difficult to communicate the specific sound or direction of the band (if limited to more general terms). But I am flooded with press releases that make such outlandish comparisons that they are merely laughable. The new variation on that theme is to be so patently obscure in your references to appear hip. But the downside of that is communicating so little worthwhile information that the bio is of no use whatsoever.

But you have to admit that a band billed like this is worth a listen:

“California’s Shys are a blistering four-piece featuring Iggy style vox and hints of all the Stones: the Rolling Stones, Stone Roses, and Sly And The Family Stone.”

I really liked this album, as well as their follow-up You’ll Never Understand This Band The Way I Do. I’ll save the references for that one for another time, but here’s my review of Astoria from Pop Culture Press in 2007:

The opening track “Never Gonna Die” kicks off with a blast of ringing guitars and Keith Moon-like drums, transporting the listener to England circa 1977. But although a comparison to the melodic pub punk of bands like The Boys wouldn’t be out of line, these sounds are being made by a band in their early twenties…from California? Vocalist Kyle Krone wraps his throaty Iggy vocals around an album full of strong material, albeit heavily influenced by a myriad of other bands.

“Call in the Cavalry” brazenly swipes a riff and drumbeat from the White Stripes but grows it from there, ditto “Alive Transmission” (“Search and Destroy” meets “Undercover of the Night”) and the Ian Hunter drenched “Waiting on the Sun”. The title track is a Clash-like stomp that builds and recedes like a violent tide. And while they may cop some modern bands, the guitar work is steeped in seventies rock, which makes tracks like “The Resistance” much more than a nod to Oasis. A very, very strong debut.

Listen to clips at Amazon.

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Gettin’ Iggy With It

Shout Factory has just announced a new box of Iggy boots!

Scheduled for May 17th release, Roadkill Rising is a 4-cd set of both Stooges and solo Iggy tracks including hits and covers. The discs are sequenced by decade with one each for the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s for a total of sixty-six killer tracks from the Godfather of Punk.

For those who order quickly, a fifth disc is available as a bonus…but act fast, because Live In San Francisco is limited to 400 copies.

Detailed track listings are at the Shout Factory website.

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New Album! Michael Monroe

Holy Crap! This puppy smokes.

If you like glam rock, you already know that singer Michael Monroe has A-list credentials. And when it comes to powering such a band, it doesn’t get much better than a band featuring Sami Yaffa on bass and both Ginger and Steve Conte on guitar. And while even I had to look up a guy called Karl Rockfist – because that’s just too great a last name for a drummer – I soon realized it was actually Karl Rosqvist, skin pounder for The Chelsea Smiles.

So if you think you’d like a band that combines Hanoi Rocks, The Dictators, The Wildhearts, The New York Dolls and The Sex Pistols, this one’s for you. and while the first album, the Jack Douglas produced Sensory Overdrive, isn’t out yet…Another Night In The Sun (Live In Helsinki) is. A combination of old favorites and covers, it kicks ass from the first note and proves that the band is as tight as it is talented. That might mean no Wildhearts or Dolls shows for a while, but I think we’ll survive.

“Me and the guys in the band decided to record a live album – something for the fans to have while they’re waiting for our actual studio album due to be release in the early part of (2011)…”

Video: “Nothin’s Alright”

 

We're coming to your town, we're gonna party it down

 

 

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Under The Radar: Bad Rackets

Another blind grab from the CD racks today (a little musical roulette game I play when I’m not sure what I’m in the mood to hear). Gotta love an album titled Full On Blown Apart, especially when that’s what you feel like doing to your head. The band describes their sound as cheap beer sizzling on vacuum tubes.

I never heard of The Bad Rackets before or since, so I’m figuring they’re a likely candidate to have sailed under your radar as well. Unfortunately it looks like they shuffled personnel in 2009 and then finally bit the dust. But they left us this testament to the effort, so we got that going for us…which is nice.

If nothing else, you have to see this hilarious video. (No, it’s never too late to take a shot at George W. Bush).

Video:  “Somebody Dropped The Baby

Here’s my review from a 2006 issue of Pop Culture Press:

Austin’s powerpop-punk quartet fills the void between early sloppy Replacements and…well, the early Replacements if they were just a little tighter. In other words, the alcoholic vocals and off key guitar solos are propped up by the brash power chords of the Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols mixed with the throbbing bass lines and snare-snapping drums of (your favorite Britpop band name here).

It’s young, it’s loud and it’s snotty, and if that phrase reminds you of a certain band, you’re on the right track. If not, how about song titles like “Porno Magazines”, “Everybody’s A Loser” and “Atom Smasher” (that’s parts one and two, mind you). Just like the early Mats, Kevin Owens’ vocals and the raw musicianship are enough of a rough edge to terrify program directors from coast to coast. But that’s why God gave you a pair of ears, Sparky.

The guys in Bad Rackets are all Texas bar rats and club band vets, though sight unseen you’d swear it was four eighteen year olds plagiarizing their older brother’s punk pop collection for the first time. Damned if there aren’t multiple hooks in every song, and if you aren’t bouncing off the wall or changing lanes like a madman while songs like “CandyDish” are melting your car speakers, something is seriously wrong with you. Get the chairs off the dance floor and start self medicating, because you’re gonna need it.

The Bad Rackets on MySpace

Listen to clips at Amazon

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