Tag Archives: Social Distortion

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!

2 Comments

Filed under Music, Reviews

What Decade is This, Anyway?

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel...dizzy?

Seems like a lot of famous bands from my wonder years want to get one last album out before the world explodes into dust in 2012. Probably time for an arena tour too, although I don’t know why they’d need all that cash. Don’t you only need new Nikes and a roll of quarters to board the spaceship?

I guess what triggered this post today was remembering that The Cars are regrouping and releasing a brand new album (Move Like This). Now a quartet since Ben Orr is no longer with us, the band decided they didn’t want to bring in any outsiders. Well, that’s their take on it with Ric Ocasek in the fold, anyway; they are conveniently not mentioning a failed experiment called The New Cars. But that’s just picking nits.

Videos: The Cars – Blue Tip” (full song), “Sad Song” (clip),  “Free“(clip)

And it doesn’t end there. Steve Miller resurfaced with Bingo last year after a very long hiatus, and now he has another called Let Your Hair Down. Former Babys and Bad English frontman John Waite is releasing Rough and Tumble, pouting puss and all. The New York Dolls continue their rebirth (albeit with another change in band members) with Dancing Backwards In High Heels, and R.E.M. has Collapse Into Time.

Low Country Blues is Gregg Allman’s first solo release in fourteen years. Paul Simon will turn seventy this year (!) but So Beautiful Or So What ends five years of (sounds of) silence for him.

More recent bands are also ending extended vacations. The Strokes have their first in five years as do the Foo Fighters, and Radiohead ends an even lengthier one with The King Of Limbs. Social Distortion has already blazed back on the scene with Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, and most of Oasis is back under the name Beady Eye.

Video: Beady Eye – The Roller

And even artists I avoid like Duran Duran, Stevie Nicks and Edie Brickell are taking another shot. (Brickell nauseates me so thoroughly that I’m not even providing a link.)

Amazon is even dangling an order for Robin Zander’s Countryside Blvd for the third year in a row. I’m starting to think there’s really no album at all. Look at that album cover – maybe he’s just mocking Toby Keith. Ludicrous suggestion? Anything is possible – remember, this really happened.

Hey kids, rock and roll. Rock on.

Leave a comment

Filed under Editorials, Music, Reviews

T.G.I.F. – Ten Worthwhile Weblinks

Yes, I know…I’ve got to get an alliteration editor…

I’m in the midst of finalizing the countdowns for comedy CDs and DVDs (starts tomorrow!) and as usual have stumbled across a few things worth sharing. One of the drawbacks of the Internet is that there is so much out there, it gets harder and harder to maintain a good filter. I hope the Prescripton is part of your formula (just like most of the Blogroll – lower right column to you – helps me navigate oceans of content).

So today, a veritable potpourri of links – satire, movie trailers, MP3s of great songs…Ten Worthwhile Weblinks that will each take only a few minutes of your time. In this wireless age, perhaps this is the future of “bathroom reading”, a browser window in place of a paperback novel that has likely been handled by suspicious people with questionable hygiene. Assuming you are the master of your laptop, feel free to click away…

(01) Stewart Lee on Harry Potter – Lee is erudite, sarcastic, incisive, brilliant and one of the funniest people on the face of the Earth. This bit is but a gnat’s pimple of his recorded work, all of which is worth your immediate pilgrimage.

(02) Brighton Rock – Yes, they’re remaking the classic Graham Greene tale (the first starred a young Richard Attenborough in the role of “Pinky” – worth chasing down). Ominous music, looks cool.

(03) The Filthy 42s – they put out one album (the subject of an upcoming Under The Radar feature) and this great song didn’t make the cut. “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Hold Us Down” cross-breeds The Clash and The Rubinoos.

(04) Louis CK and Robert Smigel – as dog whisperers (before that was cool) in a sketch on a 1993 Conan O’Brien episode. Two words: Hair Triumph!

(05) Social Distortion – hey, SD has a brand new album!! Here’s a very Faces/Black Crowes sounding “Hustle and Flow“…

Living Candle, Zsa Zsa 2011, Black Drew Carey

(06) Paul F. Tompkins recaps American Idol – Talk about taking a bullet for a buddy! Why watch this if Paul is willing to do it for you?

(06) Gainsbourg – Obviously, I was born too late, in the wrong country, and with the wrong instincts.

(08) The Cynics – Any Sonny and Cher cover is fun, but these garage giants not only nail “I Got You Babe” but light the video on fire.

(09) Gilbert Gottfried Death or Ugu? Umm…not safe for work, home, public, careless forwarding…do you have headphones?

(10) Ricky Gervais – In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s Golden Globe host Gervais ripping Hollywood a new one in 2010 and again in 2011. Savor the moment(s).

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Film/TV, Music

T.G.I.F. – The 13th??

Uh oh…

Thank God It’s Friday The Thirteenth? Sure! Here at the Prescription, we make our own luck. It’s still a Friday, damn it, and even if it’s not a particularly good one, at least you woke up this morning, which is something to always be thankful for. If your life is perfect, kudos to you. If your life sucks, well, there’s room for improvement and that’s always something worth shooting for.

So good luck or bad, here are Ten Thirteeny Things for you to enjoy today. (And yes, I just made up the word thirteeny.)

01) Social Distortion: “Bad Luck

02) Beck, Bogert and Appice: “Black Cat Moan

03) Fleetwood Mac: “I’m So Afraid

04) Steely Dan: “Black Friday

05) Big Star: “Thirteen

06) Albert King: “Born Under A Bad Sign

07) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: “You Got Lucky

08) Stevie Wonder: “Superstition

09) The Kinks: “Phobia

10) Todd Rundgren: “Lucky Guy

1 Comment

Filed under Music

Blast From The Past: Mike Ness

Was it really ten years ago that Cheating At Solitaire hit the street? Wow.

I’m a big fan of Social Distortion but was very pleased when Mike Ness stepped out to release a couple of solo efforts (Under The Influences would follow). I played the snot out of this at the time, and since Social Distortion announced that they’re working on a new album for release next year, I figured I’d dust this one off and hurt some eardrums. Join me?

Here’s the review I wrote for Consumable Online the first time around…

He's got Robert Mitchum Hands

He's got Robert Mitchum Hands

Although on the surface a fiery punk group, Mike Ness‘ band Social Distortion is melodic at the core; witness their success with roots rock riffs in songs like “I Was Wrong” and “Bad Luck”. Ness, who has been in the band more than half his life, grew up on a combination of early rock and roll and American country icons like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie. Cheating At Solitaire is a peek back at his influences through a few classic covers and a slew of originals written in a similar style.

The list of song titles cements the tone of the collection. “No Man’s Friend”, “Ballad Of A Lonely Man”, and “Crime Don’t Pay” all sound like they were ripped from the pages of a pulp novel, and indeed they’re a cross between a black hat western and a gangster movie epic. His vocal range is limited at best, but so are those of his heroes Cash and Dylan, whose “Don’t Think Twice” jump-starts the record with a rockabilly lurch – the antithesis of The Four Seasons’ cover under the guise of The Wonder Who. Mixing heartfelt guitar playing with emotional vocal performances, Ness shines on this gumbo of country, blues, hillbilly and rock.

Guests like Bruce Springsteen (vocals on “Misery Loves Company”) and Brian Setzer (as always, excellent stunt guitar on “Crime Don’t Pay”) will draw the attention, but it’s the lesser known Billy Zoom of X who steals the show with his contribution to “Dope Fiend Blues” (perhaps a tip of the cap to the late Johnny Thunders). Likewise, Chris Lawrence’s pedal steel work lights up the countrified songs like “You Win Again” and the autobiographical “Rest Of Our Lives”. The garage punk “I’m In Love With My Car” finds Ness bludgeoning three chord rock while his vocals sound like they were recorded through a megaphone, “Sweet Jane” turned inside out and upside down.

Although a departure from the heavier sound of his band, fans will not be too jarred by this temporary tangent. After all, musically speaking, Mike Ness has always worn his heart on his sleeve. Of course, with all his tattoos, it was just harder to spot. 

ness influences

1 Comment

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews

Under The Radar: Jet City Fix

Bittersweet memories – I got to see Link Wray play shorly before he died, and although he was as frail as a wet tissue offstage, once they draped that guitar over his shoulders and zipped up his leather jacket, he was The World’s Oldest Ramone. And it was that night that I also discovered the brilliant band that backed him up, the Jet City Fix. Still play the snot out of that one album and am hoping they haven’t given up the ghost. Here’s a reprint of my review of their one and only release to date:

 

This album goes to "eleven"...

This album goes to "eleven"...

 

Jet City Fix – Play To Kill

As Play To Kill made my speakers bleed, damned if I didn’t swear on a stack of burning bibles that the Jet City Fix was from Dee-troit, where real rock and roll oozes out of every pore. But no, it’s the “Jet City” of Seattle making up for a decade of substandard grunge by shepherding a goddamned real live rock and roll band our way. 

Here you have:

  • A band good enough to open for and back up Link Wray.
  • A band that can stand toe-to-toe with Iggy.
  • A band cool enough to not only revere The Wildhearts, but to cover one of their songs.
  • A band with the balls of Social Distortion that can write a hypnotic hook without making it sound like formulaic radio fodder.
  • Guitars that sound like they’re plugged in and turned up.
  • A vocalist whose sandpaper voice – imagine Elvis Costello straining to keep up with Buckcherry – can carry the melody instead of the other way around.
  • Fist-pumping songs like “Drowning” and “Dumb Luck” and “Whipped” – even a self-titled anthem called “Jet City’s Rockin”.

Play To Kill is one cup of glam, three shakes of rockabilly, a dash of Joe Perry, a lick of Mick Jagger’s swagger and two buckets of attitude dumped in a Waring blender and set to puree. To quote the closing track, “Fire It Up” – pretenders like The Strokes surely peed their widdle panties when they heard this one.

1 Comment

Filed under Music, Reviews

Under The Radar: Time Again

time-again

Time Again: Darker Days

HellCat Records
Darker Days is thirty minutes of non-stop adreneline, with Oren Soffer’s machine-gun basslines making you feel like you’re hearing Black Sabbath records played at the wrong speed. How drummer Ryan Purucker and guitarist Elijah Reyes don’t burst into flames trying to keep up is a mystery. With barely a breath between songs, Time Again rips through a mosh-pit platter of anthems like the Clash lighting the Pogues catalogue on fire.

Daniel Dart’s raspy, shouting vocals aren’t any different than you’ll find in most decent street punk bands, but much like Social Distortion and the Dropkick Murphys, the magic is in the attitude – Dart compels you to listen. Although red-hot anger is one way of making a point, (“You’re Going Down”), Time Again is much more effective when they drape their anthems with a big hook and chant-along chorus. “Soon It Will Be”, “One Way Or Another”, “Outcast” and “TvStatic” are very impressive tracks, considering this album that was completed start-to-finish in six days. And on the seventh day, I doubt these guys rested.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Reviews