Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pete Drake

I don't know too much about this guy but I gotta extend a public thank you to my buddy Asa at Black Iris as he showed me this ridiculously epic video the other day. The song is by Pete Drake, it's called "Forever" off the 1964 Smash Records album of the same name. Apparently this shit sold over one million...remember when people used to be rad...? I don't.

Pete Drake - Nashville pedal steel wiz, record producer and all around innovator. Apparently he played steel on all of Dylan's Nashville records, he played with Joan Baez, Marty Robbins, Don Gibson, George Harrison and Ringo. Definitely the first guy to use a talk box with a pedal steel guitar, though apparently Alvino Rey and Luise King were the first to employ the sound with a guitar in 1939. Nerd Alert!

Stay thirsty my friends.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ain't No Grave

So I've been meaning to post about this for a while now. There's a new Johnny Cash jam called "Ain't No Grave" up on iTunes but more importantly it's streaming on his myspace page if you're not on lala yet...

This is amongst the last sessions he ever did with Rick Rubin before his death, and really I haven't heard J.R. sound quite so ominous ever. Maybe it's because he's accepted the inevitability of his death and is saying to all of us future listeners that even the grave can't hold him down. Creepier and more metaphysical still is the fact that we are now those present future listeners listening to the moribund (even in life) chant of the dead man, Mr. Cash, making these statements. A total mind-fuck, and just another excellent song by the godfather of goth.

CORRECTION: Ain't No Grave is actually a traditional, most notably performed by the late great Odetta. Sorry for my ignorance.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Long Time No See

Hello Children, it's been too long and I apologize. Things were extremely hectic.

I was inspired by a couple things going on, first the ATP NY 2010 announcement...gosh darnit if only I had the coin. Small bands like:

Iggy and the Stooges (doing Raw Power)
Explosions in the Sky
Sonic Youth
Not one but two of the ironic Fuck bands - Fucked Up and Fuck Buttons
Brian Jonestown

Jim Jarmusch curated, well played.

But really most impressively SCIENTISTS from down unda, in their first US appearance apparently, performing one of my favorite lost gems, "Blood Red River."

In order to fulfill my quota of Nick Cave references, without further ado...
Along with Nick Cave (maybe before him), Kim Salmon of Scientists had a band called Cheap Nasties which was one of the first Australian punk bands. Really opened the flood gates for some genius shit, I don't think I have to sit here and tell you how rad Radio Birdman, The Saints and the Birthday Party were.

Scientists have that gnarly blues gothic post-punk sound that I adore, definitely more "rock & roll" than the Birthday Party, and a good place to start for someone looking to break their ears in to that aggro noisy sound. Maybe this is pushing it, but it's something like a cross between Mudhoney and Gun Club.

As penance for my long's some extra credit. These dudes are just so goddamm good at life.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year and the Art of Contradiction

Just wanted to let everyone know that the Sheriffs EP is now available for download at several fine digital retailers.

In other news, the holidays have been good to me and I've been hoarding hidden record treasures like some sort of hybrid squirrel pirate. Amongst one of the records I picked up was "Seconds of Pleasure" by a band called Rockpile which features the serendipitous synergy of Dave Edmunds and the "Jesus of Cool" himself, Nick Lowe. I've been meaning to post a little something on the Stiff Records scene as it has always been fodder for pretentious banter between my equally supercilious friends, and my father who initially passed on the knowledge to me. However, that might be a story for another time.

Anyway, this record has power pop balls, and just oozes with no frills rock and roll under the supremely competent flag of its master songwriter co-captains. For how simple the music truly is, it's amazing how this record sounds unlike anything prior.

I've grown pretty weary with a good deal of the new "buzz band" music I've been hearing as of late. That's why, in case you haven't noticed already, I'm gonna be devoting a larger bulk of my time to forgotten gems--the lonesome, discarded masterworks of the past.

And in an effort to completely contradict myself, come see Papa and Slang Chickens at the Unknown Theater this Friday, because there's an exception to every rule. Namely if I am currently, or at some point was in a band, I will write about that band.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

POWER POP! - The LAST Frontier


Alright, I adore power pop and it's about time I said something about it.  Nothing makes me feel quite so giddy as those jangly guitars, four-part harmonies and song structures lifted directly from the first 4 Beatles records - that and the crusty punk attitude lying just beneath the surface. It's like somebody pouring fresh squeezed orange juice down my ear canal.  Generally surfing, cruising in your sweet muscle car, drinking beers and saying Ghee Wiz with your best girl are topics of interest amongst the power pop elite.  I could filibuster about The Flamin' Groovies, The Barracudas, The Nerves, Plimsouls, The Raspberries etc. ad nauseam, but today is devoted to a very special band that nobody (to my knowledge) gives a rat fuck about, and they really should.

The Last (good luck googling them) are absolute power-pop poetry perfection.  Their first record came out on Bomp! and it was called L.A. Explosion, notice a know Los Angeles?  There isn't a bad song on this record, and it gets my dick rather hard.  It's like if the Beatles and the Byrds started freebasing crystal meth and hanging out with the Circle Jerks, yeah I know it's that good.  This is precisely why they make my nether-organs swell, pop songwriting sensibility and serious punk attitude.  Not to mention one Greg Ginn of a small band called Black Flag decided to put out their record Awakening on a pretty cool label called SST.

I highly suggest you seek out these records by any means necessary, I mean if you like power-pop.  They're actually not too difficult to find on vinyl.

Also shameless plug time!  Brandon Intelligator and the Sheriffs, LA's favorite wayward sons are playing at Echo Curio tomorrow night at 8:30 with good buddies Cassorla and Cooperation.  Come out if you're feeling saucy, lord knows I am after all that power-pop talk.

Monday, December 7, 2009


This band I feel is criminally underrated, and I was pretty sore at my pops for not showing them to me when he most certainly must have known how into them I would be.  Skids are a Scottish punk band from the late 70's, early 80's that shirk the requisite "oi" responsibilities of other Scotch scum fucks.  Rather they reach for Pere Ubu-like art rock and hard hitting 70's rock & roll with a distinctly Scottish flavor.  You can listen to their finest song, "The Saints Are Coming," off their debut record Scared to Dance here.  Mind you, this record has a dash of new wave pop that some may find irritating, not I, but some.  Either way, dare I blaspheme, this song may just be cooler than anything the Clash wrote--catalog-wise however, I'm not so sure...

Also a little extra credit, welcome to Los Angeles...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ATP Film Recap + Ongoing SXSW Coverage + Grooms

Another band worth checking out...

The 88, LA dudes, quite a bit poppier than my normal leanings but they have a Sparks thing going on, and the songs are just incredible, plus they're opening for Black Francis at the Echoplex next week.
The Yellow Dogs, they're from Iran where music is basically illegal.  I don't know how these guys walk with those boulders dangling between their legs.  Listen to the live tracks, sounds like they would probably slay live.

Also in the long line bands like the Burning Brides, Wives and The Husbands (it's purely a name joke, these bands don't particularly sound anything alike so don't crucify me, get a sense of humor, god!), I finally got around the hearing Grooms. They're playing an Aquarium Drunkard show at the Silverlake Lounge next week.  They've got the great de-tuned Sonic Youth guitar sensibilities and an energy that really explodes off the recording.

As a side note, I checked out the ATP Movie last night at Cinefamily.  It's a really well done rock documentary, and the incredible line-up of performers didn't hurt either...small guys like Grinderman, Dirty Three, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Daniel Johnston, The Stooges, Shellac, Sonic Youth, Portishead, Slint...well you get the idea.  They sort of took a Monterey Pop-like stand in the sense that they presented an extremely accurate and candid expose of a moderately confusing generation of young people.  See it if you get the chance.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bare Wires and Other Assorted Love Songs...

As promised, my slow dissection of the preliminary SXSW line-up begins.

I checked out this band Bare Wires, I like them.  They're not particularly refreshing, but I like them.  Almost akin to The Exploding Hearts but maybe a little rougher around the edges.  It's just that soft, lo-fi power pop that's so very delicious for my ears.  Really hooky little garage rock ditties.  And they're Cali dudes so instant bonus points.  Watch out for them.

Also a non-sequitur, I've really loved the Dum Dum Girls for a while.  I mean, they got their name from the total obscuro Iggy song "Dum Dum Boys" off The Idiot which is one of my and Ian Curtis' favorite records (what too soon? yes the record he died listening to.).  Anyway, the line-up is cemented now and the girls are just so rad, all gothic and whatnot.  These broads are like The Vivian Girls with hair on their tits.  That's a compliment, I love both bands mind you, but there's something so buzzsaw about the the Dum Dums.  Download the song here.  Their debut full length is out on Sub Pop on March 30th.  Cool.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preliminary SXSW Lineup Announced and Other Things...

Hello Fanatics,

The preliminary SXSW 2010 Lineup has been officially announced.  I will be attending for the first time.  Take a look at that and I'll tell you later who of that list you should know, and who you should hope fades into obscurity.

And unless you like to wear your sphincter as a hat, you know tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, and a wretched pisspot of a putrified fuck to all of my enemies.  

Friends, as a bonus I've recently come into knowledge of a scene based in San Francisco that LA's own late great Gold Standard Labs helped provide many a record for.  I bought a record a few years ago by a band called The Weegs that you've never heard of and was just checking in on them.  They are a bizarre band rooted in No Wave and a few too many spins of The Residents.  Anyway, their records are put out by a label called Hungry Eye Records.    The scene is death rock, and it's got that kind of Gothy Bauhaus, Birthday Party, Christian Death thing going on that I just can't get enough of.

Bands to check out:
-The Bellmer Dolls (opened for Grinderman apparently in San Francisco and were produced/loved by Jim Sclavunos of the Bad Seeds and G-man)

Well I've done my homework...time to do yours.  And know happy thanksgiving and whatnot.  Be sure and go check out Slang Chickens with Mini Mansions and Rumspringa this Saturday at the Unknown Theater if you're in LA!

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Lykke Li Jam-Cover of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"

Hello Fanatics!  

Just to quote Henry Rollins there...So if you go here, you can get a free download of Lykke Li's cover of the Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."

Yes my sweet little Swedish pancake has not been busy as of late...but rest assured good people, she will be mine.