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Rock `n' Roll Call: Josh Hoyer And The Shadowboxers

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``Lincoln, Ne.,'' that's a city named after Abe in Nebraska and is also the self-released debut from Josh Hoyer And The Shadow Boxers, who not coincidentally are from that same city in the Husker State. It's generic blues and soul that seldom rises above the ordinary and frequently, the horn players are below average. Their grasp does not rival their reach. But more importantly, no more Sooner/Cornhusker football? All bad as money has destroyed too many classic football rivalries. No more OU/Nebraska or Texas/Arkansas or Missouri/Kansas and West Virginia is in the Big-12? That's why there's the blues.

Rock `n' Roll Call: Chad VanGaalen

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The latest from Chad VanGaalen is ``Shrink Dust'' and it's going to be out at the end of April on Sub Pop out of Seattle. This one starts off with a real attention getter, ``Cut off both my hands and threw them in the sand and watched them swim away like a pair of bloody crabs...'' Hate when that happens as it makes the high five and hitchhiking difficult and it also becomes pretty clear pretty quick that VanGaalen is a weirdo who has found a way to get paid for it. Too much of this reminds me of the dreaded ``gas music from Jupiter'' or some sort for zombie karaoke from this ``spooky-voiced multi-instrumentalist.'' On ``Where Are You?'' the finished product is so noisy and clang-y that few would emerge from that hiding place to shout, ``Here I am.'' There's a song about ``Lila'' who reminds me of the hot ``Deadwood'' hooker or else the Kinks' ``Lola,'' this one coming in a distant third. Others are either a mess or just strange. If you can make it to the seventh song, ``Evil,'' offers an alluring minimalist guitar and some cool hooks - and don't forget the Swedish movie of the same name - a good one. ``All Will Combine'' sounds like a '60s garage band art rocker and ``Hangman's Son'' is worth a listen - all the good stuff happening at the end of the album. How patient are you? I did not stand that line even once.

Rock `n' Roll Call: The Haden Triplets

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``The Haden Triplets'' is the self-titled debut from these three sisters - just out on Third Man Records. Born in 1971, it's Petra, Rachel and Tanya - they've been solo or with bands and now are in familiar territory with each other. This is a collection of old school, old timey country songs, originally recorded by famous rednecks. The harmonies are all swell and everything but they all seem a little soul-less - like something you'd expect from Lawrence Welk. This is not the Dixie Chicks by any stretch and while it is indeed old timey, the performers on ``O Brother Where Art Thou?'' are much more entertaining. Why ask why but this one is fully as dangerous as whistling in the back ground when it's not football season in Oklahoma. Oh, and Petra's solo effort last year, ``Petra Goes To The Movies,'' is a mindbending knockout.

Rock `n' Roll Call: Nicole Atkins

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``Slow Phaser'' is not a malfunction from the expendable extra crewmen who beam down to the uncharted planet with Kirk and Spock but rather the new one from Nicole Atkins and it's on Richard Parker's favorite big band, Thirty Tigers. Atkins has been in a bunch of bands and recorded with lots of people in various incarnations and much like her busy past, this one is hit and miss. ``It's Only Chemistry'' is a bouncy dance song slash reality check which undoes many of the cherished notions of romantic love. You mean it's not the hair, those cherished body parts, that wintergreen breath or even those pearly whites - and yikes - it's not even the car you drive but a chemical reaction?  Say it ain't so. The Taliban really hate science, which is why they want to return to the 8th century. Then there's a song that could live long and prosper for the whistleheads who are watching it happen on TMZ, ``Girl You Look Amazing,'' a catchy way of saying ``I'm warm for your form.'' Best is ``Cool People,'' one of the best ``cool'' songs since Sparks did ``Cool Places;'' and later on, ``Gasoline Bride'' has hooks enough for a few encores and ``Worst Hangover'' mostly doesn't reach the new low suggested by the title until the end when Atkins dies calling 9-11, which qualifies as the worst hangover. Mine was drinking a gallon of wine in the hot sun - I was so hung over the next day, I couldn't even watch football with the sound off. In any case, Atkins has her moments but Wikipedia, which never lies and is always right (except this time) compares Atkins with Roy Orbison and the hit makers from the Brill Building. They need to check out the oldies station for an hour and maybe rethink that whopper.

Rock `n' Roll Call: moe

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Even though Larry and Curley probably would not be wearing one of their shirts - moe has a new one - almost - and that is ``No Guts No Glory,'' an advance due out around Decoration Day and it's on Sugar Hill Records. These Bulls out of the University of Buffalo with 25 years experience do the classic rock thing and the guitar solos (which could have Dickie Betts salivating) just shred as they put the ``class'' back in ``classic rock.'' All the jam band fans who have been whirling aimlessly or purposefully to these guys for years already know all that, and the opener, ``Annihilation Blues'' will get you interested and the guitar solo - the first of many - at the end of ``White Lightning Turpentine'' will make you a fan. And the lyrics on ``Same Old Story'' is a mindbender to almost Bob Himself levels and there's even a couple of xylophone solos. They've also got the meandering Jerry Garcia guitar thing figured out, but those guitar solos by Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey mostly the part you'll want to revisit for that rock fix.

And speaking of the Three Stooges - AMC still shows them in the mornings but I can't deal with three commercials during a 20 minute short, which is also why I didn't roll with ``Breaking Bad'' and ``Mad Men'' in real time. I bought the DVDs and binge watched later. The complete Stooges collection (eight  boxed sets) are affordable and Moe was a jerk (but a great Hitler) and moe is a great band on top of their game.

What To Know About Where To Go

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Wassup 805? Bill Locey here, neither in Studio 805 nor in Camarillo, but still gainfully employed by the Ventura County Star, at least for the next hour or two, kicking it at my humble abode, multi-tasking, writing about rock `n' roll and watching ``The Rifleman'' with the sound off as Lucas McCain lets his trigger finger solve all problems, petting my cat Nope, who is in my lap, and as usual in the way, as he does his fair share as part of the worldwide feline anti-literacy campaign.

 

Well, basketball's over - so I'm sitting here listening to the Dodgers on the radio on a station that barely comes in and after three innings, it's damn clear Charlie Steiner is no Vin Scully, but no one is. Not so long ago, every Dodger fan was happy when some rich guys bought the team, ousting the hated evil developer Frank McCourt and bought all those great players. All the Dodgers need to do now is win - of course, there might not be many to witness that feat if and when. Few get the Dodger games on TV which are only available from Time Warner, a provider that is not available where I live. So it's back to the radio which is the way it used to be. Only the Dodger games from San Francisco were televised way back, or when the sundowns were in black and white, or back when AM Radio ruled. As we grew up with the Dodgers, we all listened to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett, Vin and Ross Porter and then Vin and Big D and now we only get Vin for the first three innings of home games and road games within the Western Division. To review: With Magic Johnson the public face of the franchise, a bunch of fat cats with too much money bought the Dodgers and scored a TV deal with a cable provider few can access - what can go wrong there? Hey, the Rams left, so I haven't watched a pro football game since 1994. I can hold out longer than Time Warner can. Go Dodgers - I'll be listening. And, of course, whining - Dodgers not in first. And why is there going to be second Magic Johnson bobblehead night this season? Magic was a great Laker - he was no Dodger. When does football start?

 

 

 

If I had a faster car, a richer girlfriend or even one with a job, here's where I'll be lurking in the back this week:

 

OK, tonight, FRIDAY night, and it's far but doable - the first weekend of Coachella is kicking off Friday for the first of two three day weekends with a zillion bands playing out in the sun in Indio. They do it nice cuz they do it twice - same venue, same menu the following weekend. The recycle contractor probably owns his own island by now.

In Hell-A, it's those finhead, college rock heroes - Switchfoot, who will be at the Wiltern Theatre and Lemmy - and yup, evidently he lives - Lemmy will lead Motorhead through a loud and fast set at Club Nokia while up here in the 805 where we love it, Teresa Russell & Cocobilli will rock out at the Bamboo Steak House in Camarillo and those Pet Shop Boys will be at the Ventura Theatre and a few blocks north, there's some cool power pop from the Corsican Brothers at Pierano's, just across from Father Serra's elaborate crash pad, the San Buenaventura Mission - in place since 1782 or before we were a country.

On SATURDAY, Houston Jones will play some blues at the Thousand Oaks Library and Yogi and Smokey's favorite band, Easy Bear will be at the Sans Souci in Ventura and about a mile north, Rosie Flores will play some bluesy Americana music at Yolie's.

On SUNDAY, it's indie rock from Blood Orange at the El Rey Theatre in El Lay and at the Canyon Club it's British Invasion pop from Herman's Hermits, while over in Moorpark, Sonny Mone will do his singer/songwriter thing and delve into his vast repertoire at Redball's Rock & Roll Pizza, while over in Ventura, it's Blue Stew and the Mighty Cash Cats will play after them at the Bombay Bar & Grill.

On MONDAY, it's Poeina - just Poeina; well just Poeina and her band, the Lucid Dreamers - they'll enliven Monday nights until June at Redball's in Moorpark and Natalie Gelman will be at the Deer Lodge in Meiners Oaks. Check out my Poeina story in this week's Time Out, proof positive that I'm hardly making any of this up.

On TUEDAY - typically, the deadest nite of the week - well, not this week. Broken Bells will play tunes of their smash album at the Fonda down on Sunset in Hollyweird and Bryan Ferry will bring some classy rock to Club Nokia. while up here in the 805, John Marx & the Patrol will play some blues at the Chop Shop in Simi Valley and while they do not actually lack spelling skills, Chvrches (that ``v'' is s a medieval ``u'') will be at the Ventura Theatre playing their Euro/weirdo/fun-o EDM, while around the corner, Catfish & Doug will play some blues at Amigo's while up Hwy. 33 to Meiners Oaks, Dan Grimm & Friends will be at the Deer Lodge just like they have been since Bambi was young. And up the coast, Teresa Russell will play that guitar at the James Joyce in S.B.

On WEDNESDAY, it's a good one with MGMT and Merge Records artist, Wye Oak, at the Orpheum in Los Angeles. The 1975 will play some swell indie rock at Club Nokia and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion will play some earnest if explosive blues at the Echo, also down south. Up here in the 805 where it's so much better - except why is Camarillo paving all that farmland for no apparent reason - Frank Barajas will play some pure power pop at Fresco II in Oxnard and Teresa Russell will be at Surfside Seafood in Hueneme and big voiced Ellie Goulding will be at hit at the venerable Ventura Theatre and Mark Masson will play twice - once at Amigo's and a late show at the Tavern in Ventura. Groove Session is returning to Ventura to do the Green Art People thing one more time, while up at the Deer Lodge, it's Cindy Kalmenson & The Lucky Ducks; and one more up the coast - singer/songwriter Alyssa Graham will be at Muddy Waters on Haley in S.B. - no riots there, promise.

On THURSDAY, down south, it's Inc. at the Church on York in hardcore downtown El Lay and even though Mogwai could turn a police checkpoint into a dance party, instead they'll be at the El Rey, down on Wilshire Blvd. while Neko Case and the Dodos will be at the Orpheum Theatre while mighty strange Sarah Silverman will be at Largo and the best show of the week - maybe the year - it's African Desert Blues from Tinariwen at the Belasco Theatre and those Dum Dum Girls will be at the Roxy in Hollyweird and up here where we like it, the ubiquitous Teresa Russell be at the Lookout in Oxnard.

 

So have a swell week but remember, this is rock `n' roll after all, and thus, these listings  are subject to change for no apparent reason. Mom was right - call first.

 

And finally, one of the great things about music is the ``Hey, check this out'' moment because there's so much great music out there - it's all about finding it; and so for no apparent reason except that I have the technology - here's one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands.

 

Rock `n' Roll Call: Bob Mould

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Bob Mould's ``Workbook 25'' is his latest - a 2-CD set on Omnivore Records. The former Husker Du dude is celebrating 25 years of mostly night work and possesses one of the distinctive voices in rock on these propulsive rock songs. The first disc, ``Workbook,'' is a reissue of his debut album from 1989 (and solid roadtrip music) and the other disc is a live show from the same year at somewhere called the Cabaret Metro. Mould has always been tuneful but a bit raggedy, and thus, one of the poster boys for DIY and ``Workbook'' made it clear that there was life for Mould after the band became Husker Doh! Oh, an omnivore is you and I - animals that eat everything that doesn't eat them first, be it plants or other animals.

Rock `n' Roll Call: Brett Dennen

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``Smoke And Mirrors'' is the latest by Brett Dennen and these days, he's on mighty, mighty Atlantic Records. Once upon a time, a low budget folkie out of Oakdale (where the Hershey factory has sadly closed) it was just Dennen and a drummer, traveling light. These days, he's got a full band behind him on this pop rock primer of meticulously crafted tunes and evidently, he rocks hard live. The latest in a series of memorable giant redheads that have included Lucy, Woody Woodpecker and Bill Walton, Dennen clearly knows what a good song should sound like, and many such as ``Only Want You'' are as sweet as said chocolate. The album kicks off with a solid song, ``Sweet Persuasion'' on a par with ``Pretty Persuasion'' and good enough to be covered by the Persuasions, if only. Discovered by 805 local Leslie Merical, the giant six five Dennen has found his stride as a pop star and keeps getting better + his head's in the right place, right there with the 99% as it should be. And Merical Computing in Ventura can fix your uncooperative machine.

 

Rock `n' Roll Call: Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt

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``For Keeps'' is the new one from Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt - it's an advance due out in May on Red House Records out of Minnesota. Elkin and Schmidt have extended their collaborations far beyond the two hours where they're already a formidable stage presence to a 24/7 item. The fact that they're holding hands on the album liner is probably a sign of their new found happiness. They've achieved near complete equality and democracy as the songs are almost perfectly alternate boy-girl-boy-girl and Schmidt's ``Kiss Me Now'' cuts to the chase with one foot (and now lips) in the door, seeking more and trying hard to influence the ultimate decision in a simple and honest manner. These are mellow, well-crafted folk songs with a bit of a twang and Elkin has a way cool voice with ``Longing Moves The Ocean,'' a representative sample. Even though nothing jumps out at you sufficient to change your mind or you life, this one is solid throughout. A winner.

Rock `n' Roll Call: I Am The Avalanche

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I Am The Avalanche, has a new one, ``Wolverines,'' probably Logan's new favorite band, just out on I Surrender Records. It's propulsive pop punk rock out of Brooklyn, sounding like the perfect Warped Tour band, which they have been. ``Young Kerouacs'' is a song title that promises something more ethereal and cerebral that what we get - scream-o nonsense as subtle as a flying mallet and if Jack were back - it would only be a cameo. And on the title cut would you scream at a man with those claws? And a real wolverine would crash through that SUV (Stupid Utility Vehicle) and bite the head off the offending noise polluter. Thus, this sonic avalanche is by the numbers pop punk - with the occasional f-bomb for emphasis and the dreaded scream-o, sounding like a do-it-yourself lobotomy with a rusty screwdriver.

Rock `n' Roll Call: Off!

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``Wasted Youth,'' gee, that's never happened before, is the new one from Off! and it's on Vice Records. Punk rock is about 40 years old now, so have all the old school punkers mellowed out? Did they let their mohawks grow into mullets and then into a respectable haircut and a gig selling insurance and anyway, aren't men supposed to grow up and get mellow with age? Not Keith Morris - he's still mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore. Nor do we - this one is over before you can get tired of it - or when brevity was king - it's 16 songs in 23 minutes. Morris has impeccable credentials - having screamed early and often fronting Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, and now as he approaches the Beeg 6-0, he's still irate - as we all should be. What does the bumper sticker say, ``If you're not outraged then you're not paying attention''? Setting the tone for our flailing society - no, it's not the black guy, it's the new guy (legally) on the block, the corporation - and addressing all that are songs such as ``Over Our Heads'' and ``Time's Not On Your Side,'' among others. There's even a Raymond Pettibon cover. Stay ticked Off!

 

Rock `n' Roll Call: Bear Hands

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``Distraction'' is the second and latest album from Bear Hands and it's on Cantora Records - all a thinly veiled effort to showcase the vocal prowess of one Dylan Rau, reminiscent obviously of Bob Himself and not so obviously, Doug Rau, that solid Dodger pitcher who won more than 80 games for the Blue in the '80s. And Dish Network - where the hell are my Dodger games? Bear Hands is a quirky indie rock band that is solidly unremarkable but pleasant - that of course, was my incorrect initial impression or to quote the first line of the band bio: ``Things that don't make sense at first often make sense later.'' As this one rolls on, the quirkiness gradually becomes lovable and Bear Hands become one of those rare albums that improves with each listen. The song ``Vile Iowa'' seems unlikely to have much of a future as a part of any Hawkeye State tourism project and ``Bad Friend'' sounds like it could've been written for any and all of those nutty chicks on ``Girls,'' especially when the chorus kicks in, ``...but I still love you...'' Smokey the Bear, Baylor's, Cal's and UCLA's favorite band will be worth tracking down Saturdays at Coachella upcoming.

Rock `n' Roll Call: Bad Brad & The Fat Cats

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``Take A Walk With Me'' is the latest from Bad Brad & The Fat Cats who are doing the DIY thing on this self-released effort. They also play that aggressive in-your-grill blues with lotsa guitar solos and brash vocals about the important things like when you're in a bar and ``Leghound'' makes nothing but sense. By the third cut, ``Ego Trip,'' they pull out the Old Infallible a.k.a. that Bo Diddley Beat or maybe even before that as John Hooker is famous for saying, ``Back in 1932, I invented the boogie.'' Wherever that beat came from - everybody knows where it'll end up - with any feet within hearing range. And how could you not love the Slacker's National Anthem, ``Lucky Man,'' in which the dude is in danger of losing his blues because that lazy old woman finally got a job. Now where's that remote and what time does ``Star Trek'' come on? This is one of the best start-to-finish blues albums in years.

Rock `n' Roll Call: The Faint

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``Doom Abuse'' on SQE Music is the new one from the Faint, all the way from Omaha with 20 years experience, and fronted by one Todd Fink. This one starts off poorly with some annoying noise - sort of like a cat fight in a machine shop - all screechy and squeaky, then settles into aggro, testosterone-friendly rock that could inspire a mosh pit for the Terminators and the Transformers. The Faint quickly becomes reminiscent of great and quirky '80s rock - Devo, the Buzzcocks and especially Oingo Boingo (but without Danny Elfman) - it's mostly dark, brooding, menacing and mightily musical. And then there's ``Evil Voices,'' my new favorite song, which could be put to good use cranked up watching Sean Hannity with the sound off, but a cautionary word may be in order: You could die laughing. ``Animal Needs'' could and should be the new National Anthem and also could've been written by Martin Olson, he who is to blame for ``Encyclopaedia Of Hell,'' and proof positive that someone out there is not buying the party line. And then there's ``Unseen Hand,'' perhaps Adam Smith's favorite song, and just more b.s. to keep the little guy in his place. One of the great albums of 2014 - due out on 8 April - buy two - Christmas is only 8.5 months away.

 

Rock `n' Roll Call: Jamestown Revival

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Jamestown Revival has a new one, ``Utah: A Collection Of Recorded Moments From The Wasatch Mountains'' and it's on INGrooves. The uncaused causes are two guys - Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance getting all old timey, made convincing by a kick-ass back-up band. It's country rock that rocks, all the way from the leading porn consuming state, or as Dr. Loveless calls it, ``Oooo-tah.'' If you didn't know better, this one could be an Avett Brothers and we all know that's a great thing, except it's from Texas by way of Ventura Boulevard in Encino. Together they explore the eternal questions - why are we here, what is time and why are we aging, why is she with him, why does the other line move faster? The ``California'' song is a stranger (all you tourists) in a strange land (Cali) trying and failing to make sense of it all - love Texas? Then take Hwy. 10 east - more parking for us, but it's the first song, ``Fur Coat Blues'' sets the tone: ``I only got one shot at being alive,'' so even if your own dog is barking at you, you're you and you're the only you you've got, so get on with it. And for you historically curious, Jamestown was founded in Virginia in 1607 and for the musically insatiable - these guys are great.

Rockin' Roll Call
Bill Locey reviews music for the Ventura County Star, when he isn't reenacting the history of this great nation or teaching it to incarcerated youth.
He is the tall guy lurking in the back of all the local rock shows.
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