March 2012 Archives

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Peter Weller - Sonik Kicks

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Sonik Kicks

Paul Weller's eleventh solo record is "Sonik Kicks" and it's on Yep Roc from North Carolina where it could conceivably be Yup Roc. In any case, Weller has been around for a while, or back when MTV had more music than Joisey Joiks or back when Weller fronted the Jam and the Style Council. You don't really think much about "elegant" when it comes to rock music, but along with Brian Ferry, Weller is that, so when TCM is showing some British flick (with Julie Christie, maybe), just turn the sound off, and Weller makes for a swell soundtrack. The slow ones remind us why there's a fast forward button, but there's few of those but plenty of baroque, complex rockers smartly done with suave (but not smarmy) vocals by Weller. "Kling I Klang" is the obligatory "wild" rocker (fully as dangerous as whistling in the backyard) but seriously tuneful. Weller is wearing a suit on the cover - you probably are not on the couch.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Good Old War - Come Back as Rain

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Come Back As Rain

The third effort by Good Old War is "Come Back as Rain" and it's on Sargent House. I listened to these guys coming back from a recent inter-state murder spree (a Civil War re-enactment in Arizona) and thought they were competent if uninspired. Wrong - they're very competent and quite inspiring - second takes can be a good thing and "Amazing Eyes" is an amazing song that'll live in your head for daze. It's just low budget and fairly frantic acoustic folk music that's both sturdy and simple with happening harmonies by this tight trio.


TimeOut: Groove to the jam band sounds of Shaky Feelin'

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The situation is shaky, which is completely groovy, especially if you like your music jammy for daze. To that end, local jam band kings Shaky Feelin' will provide the soundtrack at several groove fests this week in Camarillo, Ventura and Burbank. Once upon a time, the frontman for the Situation but now Shaky Feelin', Mark Masson is sure to do amazing things on guitar. After being cosmically inspired by Slash and Trey Anastasio, how could he not?

Wednesday's show in Ventura at Green Art People, right behind the carwash just a few steps from Main Street on Ventura Avenue, should be especially colorful. The hosts, the Green Art People, are doing the right thing for the right reasons. School art programs are often the first things to be slashed from the budget -- teachers spending their own money in the classroom is no lie -- and to that end, the Green Art People, a nonprofit group, supplies art materials to teachers. There's always good music on a Wednesday evening at Green Art as plenty of groovy people project the good vibes of a Grateful Dead show without Jerry. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

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Wrecking Ball

The new one by Bruce Springsteen is "Wrecking Ball" and yup, he's not going anywhere - he's still on Columbia Records. While never my Boss, but still bossy enough for most, Springsteen offers another helping of heartfelt anthem-like rockers. The title tune is evidently, about the closing of Giants Stadium - well, boo-hoo on that - at least they have a team - actually several to choose from on the East Coast. I haven't watched an NFL game since the Rams left in 1994. "We Take Care of Our Own" is more blue collar pride and so it goes as Springsteen once again stands up for what Americans should be all about - just as Ted Nugent is what America should not be, which is vulgar and stupid. Baseline Boss is still basically bitchen.


What to know about where to go this week

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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 at my house, multi-tasking, writing about rock 'n' roll, watching "Sucker Punch" with the sound off and petting my cat, Nope, who is on my lap and as usual, in the way and doing his fair share as part of the worldwide feline anti-literacy campaign.

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:

All-American Rejects

All right, so you have to drive to Hell-A but it's worth it to hear some bouncy, hook-filled power pop thanks to those tuneful Sooners that are the All-American Rejects - they'll be at the legendary Troubadour and they have a new album - I don't have it yet, but I'll let you know. While you're down there swearing at everyone driving like an idiot in front of you, just before you get a ticket or get towed, as-good-as-it-gets singer/songwriter Todd Snider will be at the El Rey Theatre with a full band. On his latest album, Todd reminds us that back in darkest antiquity, the rich invented religion to keep the poor from killing them, yet another reason whey he is the coolest Snider since the Duke. Still in Hell-A but at Try-To-Find-A-Place-To-Park or the House of Booze, it's the favorite relative of many, Uncle Kracker and one more good one - no, one more great one - it's funny folk legend Tom Paxton at McCabe's in Santa Monica - tonight and again Saturday night. While up here in the 805 where we like it - precisely because it's not El Lay, it's Fish Fry at Blackbeard's BBQ in the Ventura Harbor. Teresa Russell will shred on guitar at the Savory Cafe, also in Ventura. Kyle Hunt & King Gypsy will play classic rock for the new millennium at the Sans Souci and Dirty Rice will have that groove working at the Bombay Bar & Grill and the brothers from another mother - Chris Pierce and Shane Alexander - will entertain at Zoey's. And down at Yolie's, it's boogie woogie piano superstar Rob Rio - don't know what boogie woogie is? Don't worry, your feet will know what to do, and one day when you have the time, go exploring and check out Amos Milburn.



On Saturday, back in Hell-A, it's old school melodic punk with Agent Orange - not the cancer-causing defoliant made by Monsanto and Dow Chemical, who both have plenty to explain

Mighty Cash Cats

about plenty of things. Then there's those Mighty Cash Cats who will channel the Man in Black while you guzzle beers from the Lab Brewing Company is Agoura; while up here in the 805 where we like it, Mark Masson - the Shaky Feelin' guitar player - will do an acoustic thing at the French Bulldog in Camarillo, for a long time, JJ Brewsky's. Also on Saturday, it's hardcore country smarty done by Big Tweed at Garman's Pub in Santa Paula. And in Ventura at the Avenue Thrift Store just past the Green Art People and Johnny's, it's their one year anniversary party - Raging Arb was too busy evidently - so it's the Privateers and the Ska Daddyz, should be another new low...



On Sunday, it's a great Irish pop band, the Saw Doctors, with absolutely nothing to do with those annoying and disgusting "Saw" movies - visually vapid and visceral to the point where even Doctor Strange would be grossed out - anyway. the Saw Doctors will be at the Troubadour in Hell-A and their new album is excellent. All 500 members of Polyphonic Spree will be singing at the El Rey Theatre in Hell-A and up here in the 805 where we still love it, it's those legendary R&B Bombers in Ventura, playing some danceable blues at the Bombay on Sunday afternoon.

Aaron Orbit

On Monday it's Aaron Orbit back from Austin - he'll be at Billy O's in Ventura, where plenty of Pabst will be guzzled. Next night, same venue - different menu - it's cool pop punk from the Menzingers - they have a new album and are definitely worth a look and a listen.

On Wednesday, rock veterans know not to wear white and stand in the front row of a GWAR show - it'll be loud all over the Ventura Theatre, while through the alley and down California Street, it's that All Star Blues Jam thing at the Bombay. While over on the Ventura Avenue near Johnny's but actually behind the car wash, the Green Art People are back - this time with jam band heroes, Shaky Feelin'. If you go once, you'll become a Wednesday night regular.

OK, almost over - for Thursday, there's cool singer/songwriter Matt Kearney at the Canyon Club in Agoura and Jonathan McEuen will be at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. OK, the end - of all that, for now.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Eric Tollefson - The Polar Ends

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The Polar Ends

The new one by Eric Tollefson is self-released and it's called "The Polar Ends," and he's a soulful bluesy kind of dude who sort of sounds like James Blunt channeling a sober Joe Cocker. Or not. Once upon a time, Tollefson was wearing a suit in finance, an unlikely place to discover his soul, but against all odds, he did just that and started singing songs at night. Good - don't quit your night job since there's so shortage of greedy amoral squids. Tollefson is no slouch when it comes to bragging about his horizontal talents on a par with any delusional rapper, as he boasts of his post activity glow, "...and have you speaking in tongues while yer knees were numb from the love I gave." Whatever. From Juneau, Alaska, by way of Bend, Oregon," Tellefson writes well crafted, tight love lousey songs - just another reason why we love those singer/songwriters.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past

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On The Impossible Past

The Menzingers' third album is "On The Impossible Past" and it's on Epitaph Records. All the way from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and probably not voting for Rick Santorum, about whom Andy Borowitz so astutely noted, "Rick Santorum revealed that he made his first sweater vest himself when he tore off the sleeves of his straight jacket." Anyway, pure pop punk, cool two guy vocals and wise guy lyrics that will probably have you on the lookout for their first two albums.


The Menzingers by EpitaphTours

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Pinetop Perkins - Heaven

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Heaven

Proof positive that being dead isn't half the dodge it used to be, Pinetop Perkins, dead for a year now but he made it to 97, still not as ancient as those pines in Nevada, but he did know Robert Johnson. Perkins was the last of those old black Mississippi blues dudes with the Grammys to prove it. Anyway, this one has previously unreleased tracks - it's called "Heaven" and it's on Blind Pig. Perkins was a piano player with that gruff old blues voice - in other words, don't make 'em like that anymore. Mississippi is the dumbest state in the Union - with the stats to prove it - but Perkins is one of the good things to come from "The Magnolia State," and another reason why we love these old school blues.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years

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Cherish the Light Years

The latest by Cold Cave is from last year and it's "Cherish the Light Years" and it's on indie heavyweight, Matador Records. There's an insightful observation on the liner notes: "You Can Do Anything You Want But You're Here." This is CC's second album and it's a one man band which probably will not break up without something Freudian or messy. Wesley Eisold seems to be channeling Echo & the Bunnymen, New Order and the Smiths - not bad folks to be into. Love the first line of "The Great Pan Is Dead," the album opener: "Tell me when the world is ending/You won't be there still pretending..." It's propulsive synth pop, smartly done with hooks galore - you'll love them (him?) the first time, especially if you remember when MTV had VJ's and music. If it was 1985, Eisold would be like a god.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Yellow Ostrich - Strange Land

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Strange Land

The new by Yellow Ostrich album is "Strange Land" and it's on Barsuk Records. It's the creation of one Alex Shaaf, a Badger living in New York City, once doing the trippy one-man in the bedroom, trippy art rock thing. He's still doing that but now with a kick-ass band. Shaaf has a very special voice - warm and wonderful - singing screwball lyrics on several songs that have so many hooks, he could've been fishing with the Beatles. The first tune, "Elephant King," will draw you in. "Daughter" is a minor mindbender, then "Marathon Runner," begins with minimalist weirdness and then ends up as a baroque anthem. The most convincing and heart felt love lousey, blow you off tune will live long and prosper when ever someone gets tired of Miss Take or vice versa - it's all there on "I Got No Time For You." And so it goes. Shaaf knows what he's doing.


The Shakedown by Yellow Ostrich

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Peter Karp and Sue Foley - Beyond the Crossroads

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Peter Karp and Sue Foley are back with more generic blues - it's "Beyond the Crossroads"

Beyond the Crossroads

and it's on Blind Pig Records. No crossroads here, just straight ahead no frill, no thrills blues - it's competent, if uninspired. There's plenty of great new blues folks out there - check out Black Joe Lewis and the Honeymakers for starters.

TimeOut: Cults play in Santa Barbara on March 24

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Hey, it's Cults in Santa Barbara on Saturday night. It's not The Cult, so no Ian Astbury guitar activity. And it's not those other cults, either -- so don't expect any Branch Davidians. Cults is a duo out of Manhattan, with a beefed-up touring band, and they're driving around in a big bus, sleeping 'til 3 if need be.

Preposition free, Cults is powered by guitar player Brian Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin. The duo's self-titled debut disc came out last year on mighty, mighty Columbia Records and praise was heaped upon their fresh approach to '60s-era girl-group sounds. Saturday's show at Velvet Jones comes several months after their 805 debut a few blocks away at Muddy Waters.

Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Herzog - Cartoon Violence

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Cartoon Violence

Herzog offers a tour through the best kind of violence, "Cartoon Violence" and it's just out on Exit Stencil Recordings, which I assume is them. Anyway, it's all bitchen and bouncy - sort of like a '60s surf band and some pogo power pop with an abundance of "ooo's" and "woo-hoo's" and there's never enough of those. At times, solidly inconsequential but later, circling the cerebral with tunes such as "Your Son is not a Soldier," "Shakespearean Actress" and the last man (maybe) to kick ass in Afghanistan, "Alexander the Great." Fun, fun, fun all the way from Cleveland.


Herzog: Cartoon Violence by Exit Stencil Recordings

What to know about where to go this week

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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 at my house, multi-tasking, writing about rock 'n' roll, watching Keith Olbermann on Current TV with the sound off and petting my cat, Nope, who is on my lap and as usual, in the way and doing his fair share as part of the worldwide feline anti-literacy campaign.

Mouse Grey

OK, my friends, I'm here to talk to you wonderful folks about live music and to that end, 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.

Tonight - Friday night, it's in Hell-A but it's probably worth the drive to watch indie rock gods Magnetic Fields be cool all over the Orpheum Theatre, while up here in the 805 where we like it, guitar goddess Teresa Russell will shred all over the Savory Cafe in Ventura during her weekly gig, but I'm going to see singer/songwriter Jesse Rhodes at Zoey's - last time I saw him was 20 years ago fronting a band called the Sleepwalkers at Alex's Cantina on State Street - the band and the venue are gone but the coolest Rhodes since Randi is doing just fine. And Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps will steam up Yolie's in Ventura and finally on a Friday, it's rock 'n' roll with Mouse Grey at the Deer Lodge in Meiners Oaks, where everyone is happy except for those deer heads on the wall, evidently put there by those who slept through "Bambi."



On Saturday, it's all those Shoemaker Brothers at the Bombay Bar & Grill down on "C" Street in Ventura - and soul man, Chris Pierce, will be at Zoey's and up Hwy. 33 to the Big Buddha Lounge, it's Rocket 68 - don't know what they sound like, but I used to have a beautiful calico cat named Rocket and finally on a Saturday up the coast to SB, it's Cults - just Cults - they'll be at the Velvet Jones and they were also my interview victim in this week's Time Out - proof positive that I'm hardly making any of this up.



On Sunday, it's my heroes, the Belle Brigade along with fellow frantic acoustic warriors, Good Old War, at the Hollyweird Palladium. And at the cavernous Canyon Club - it's a flashback moment with Rick Springfield, the same dude this darn fine paper sent me to cover back in the '80s, proof positive that I'll go anywhere. While up here in the 805 where we still love it - or

Good Old War

until Oxnard paves it all, it's hard rock from Prong at Billy O's - an Eddy Numbskull show - and in downtown Ventura, it's 50 Sticks of Dynamite, dressing better than you, up all those stairs at the Watermark.

Skip a day to access the damage and then on Tuesday, it's three bands at Billy O's - Arctic Flowers, Suburban Moms and the Lazy Dogs.

On Wednesday back in Hell-A, it's pop punk nirvana with the Wonder Years - the band and-

The Wonder Years

not the TV show - they'll be at the legendary Troubadour down on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hell-A, while back up here, it's that All-Star Blues Jam thing at the Bombay and around the corner at the Good Bar, it's Mark Masson and Bruce Kimmel, and Howlin' Woods will be at the exceptionally groovy Green Art People thing down on the Ventura Avenue - starting early around 6:30.

And finally on Thursday, it's delightful singer/songwriter and Grammy winner Kathleen Edwards at the venerable Ventura Theatre. Emy Reynolds will be at the Bombay and Jonathan McEuen will be at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. The end. Of all that.



Rock 'n' Roll Call: Dr. Dog - Be The Void

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Dr. Dog's new one is an instant classic - it's "Be The Void," and it's on Anti Records. My new

Be The Void

favorite band is from Pennsylvania but the Keystone State is not big enough - these guys are all over the place with their intricate [p[ sound with perfect vocals and harmonies - leads shared by Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken, while everyone else chips in as well to near Beach Boy perfection. It's superbly crafted pop rock with several tunes such as "Lonesome," "How Long Must I Wait" and "Turning the Century," just a few of the ones that will have you scrambling to invent some new adjectives. And who could resist "Over Here, Over There," a rocker about a spider? Around since 2006 - this is the sixth effort from these canine crooners - the best man's best friend music since the Bonzo Dog Band - and I'm a cat person.


Dr. Dog - Lonesome by antirecords

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Lana Del Rey - Born to Die

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Born to Die

Lana Del Rey's new one is "Born To Die" and it's on mighty, mighty Interscope. Once upon a time, Elizabeth Woolridge Grant and recorded as herself, Lizzy Grant, but she has re-invented herself as a "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" and here's her major label debut. Del Rey looks like she stepped out of a '50s rock 'n' roll movie or maybe the musical answer to what if Katy Perry moved in next door to Wally and the Beave? It's slick dance music that the mall mice should love because she rhymes "harlot" and "starlot," and "pouty" and "rowdy" always works. Del Rey should make zillions


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Poor Man - Illusions

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Illusion

Got another one just out on Sub Pop - that would "Illusions" by the artist Poor Moon. This one is a five-song EP of mellow, tuneless hummables that go nowhere and not even close to anywhere. This one is boring with no good songs to tell you about.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Feedtime - The Aberrant Years

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The Aberrant Years

The new/old from Feedtime is "The Aberrant Years" and it's on Sub Pop. This is an old school punk band from Down Under and this collection comes from a bunch of albums released between '82 and '89. Most of this is screamy and inconsequential but maybe you had to have been there. They blow up "Play With Fire" so that now it's all growl-y and sounds like the frontman is one of the expendable targets in "Zombieland." And when it comes to "Hear Me Calling," go back to the Ten Years After original off their aptly-titled classic, "Stonedhenge."


your favorite feedtime songs according to mark arm by subpop

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit

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Delta Spirit

The self-titled new one from Delta Spirit is on Rounder Records, a label that has been bringing us Americana-flavored music before it even had a name. This San Diego band has good vocals and solid musicianship but - stop me if you've heard this before - could use some better songs as this collection is tolerable, if not memorable. The song "California" echoes Horace Greeley but is an odd sentiment for a SoCal band when they urge the listener to move to the Golden State. Hey, ain't it crowded enough out here already? There's seven carloads of tourists fighting for a parking spot in front of your house even as you read this, which is why all tourists should bring their own year supply of water and be limited to two phone calls "home" their first year. Another song with a geographic theme is "Idaho," which is where all the Californians moved to in order to get away from all the new locals.


Delta Spirit - California by MMMusic

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Have Gun - Will Travel - Mergers & Acquisitions

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Have Gun - Will Travel - the band, not the old school TV western with Richard Boone - has a new album - it's "Mergers & Acquisitions" and it's on Suburban Home Records. This is solid if undistinguished country rock - if you waltzed into a bar to find this band playing, chances are you'd stay for an extra beer as they seem to channeling "Maggie's Farm" as a career. The television show - now showing on the Western Channel in the middle of the day - had more brains and depth than the band of the same name which is why I bought the entire series on DVD. I wonder if this band plays Paladin's theme song?



TimeOut: We Govern We will rock two St. Patrick's shows this weekend

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We Govern We? It's all Greek to them, but it's about to be all Irish to almost everyone else when elbow-bending becomes the national pastime this St. Patrick's Day weekend. The indie rock band We Govern We will supply the soundtrack at a couple of St. Patrick's gigs -- one Saturday night at the Deer Lodge in Ojai and another on Sunday afternoon at Margarita Villa in the Ventura Harbor.

We Govern We is based in Ventura, but the group began a world away in Greece -- a country that's poor today but rich in history. After polishing off the Trojans, the Greeks went on to invent democracy, philosophy and history and Alexander the Great spread Hellenistic culture throughout the known world so convincingly that the Romans stole it. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Michael and the Lonesome Playboys - Last of the Honky Tonks

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Last of the Honky Tonks

Michael and the Lonesome Playboys have a new one - "Last of the Honky Tonks" and it's on Black Water Records. This one came out in 2010 and I forgot who or why I ended up with it, but he's a solid old school example of California country - sort of like Spade Cooley, except without making a bad career move by killing his wife. Known by an overzealous writer as "the Kacl Kerouac of Americana," Mike Ubaldini is an ever clever songwriter and far more subtle than the usual cry-in-your-beer - to quote Junior from "Platoon" fame, "redneck noise." Maybe these guys are the Blasters as rednecks (or not) but if you like country to begin with, you'll appreciate the snarky lyrics, and I finally realized why I don't like country music - it's the pedal steel guitar. That's why I like the Old '97s - no pedal steel - well, there's other reasons, too, but Ubaldini has been at this for 20 years because he must - and he should...

What to know about where to go this week

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Sharks and Cobras

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 at my house, multi-tasking, writing about rock 'n' roll, watching "Rachel Maddow" on MSNBC with the sound off and petting my cat, Nope, who is on my lap and as usual, in the way and doing his fair share as part of the worldwide feline anti-literacy campaign.

OK, my friends, I'm here to talk to you wonderful folks about live music and to that end, 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.

Tonight - Friday night, it's guitar goddess Teresa Russell, who will shred all over the Savory Cafe in Ventura during her weekly gig while over at the Bombay Bar & Grill, it's Sharks & Cobras and girl group harmonies from La Vonettes.

Janiva Magness

On Saturday, it's St. Patrick's Day and the luck of the Irish and all that, they didn't have much of it but they handled it with humor and wit, and every year at this time, there's always strong drink. And, it's the '80s again, so wear something black if you go to see Hugh Cornwall, once upon a time, the frontman for the Stranglers - he'll be at the Echoplex in Hell-A, while over in Santa Monica at McCabe's, it's award winning blues belter, Janiva Magness, who old timers will remember from her Cafe Voltaire days. And up here in the 805 where we like it, the Pullmen will be at Billy O's in Ventura and downtown, Bloody Mary Morning will play some party rock at the Watermark, while a few steps away, it's jam band nirvana with Shaky Feelin' at the Good Bar.

You can hear some pure power pop in captivating abundance - both originals and covers - when the Corsican Brothers do their thing at Tutti's also in Ventura. A few steps up Main and left down the Wino Stroll to Zoey's, Cindy Alexander is having a CD release party and down at Yolie's, it's Miguel Garcia & the Vaquetones, playing some Tex-Mex, Chicano, roots, what-the-heck rock and up Hwy. 33 to Ojai, it's Blues Bullet, probably playing zero ska songs at the Hub while up the coast to S.B., it's singer/songwriter Mason Jennings at SOhO.


For Granted by Cindy Alexander


On Sunday, it's Blue Stew, enjoying one of the longest running gigs in this here 805 - as usual, they'll be at Blackbeard's BBQ down in the Ventura Harbor while up in beautiful downtown Oak View, it's Rachel Sedacca at the Big Buddha Lounge.

On Tuesday in Hell-A, it's the musical surf report of what was great yesterday but now is Nada Surf - these indie rock heroes will be at the Music Box in Hollyweird, while up here in the 805 where we love it until the Chamber of Concrete convinces the various and too prone to take requests city councils, it's funk - or what I get when I see all that boring farmland disappear - and funk by the master, George Clinton - he'll be at the venerable Ventura Theatre.


Lucero - Women & Work by ATO Records


On Wednesday, it's the best band at last year's Warped Tour, Lucero, playing some raucous

Lucero

party rock - they'll be at the Music Box, while up here in the 805, it's that All-Star Blues Jam thing at the Bombay - Frank Barajas will do his solo pop rock thing at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View and up in Santa Barbara, it's the girl that girls who like girls like more than most other girls - it's the totally awesome Ani DiFranco - she'll be at the Arlington Theatre - not only does she have a zillion albums, but she also runs her own label, Righteous Babe Records - talk about truth in advertising...

And finally on a Thursday - if you can't wait for their SB gig, it's Cults at the Music Box, but they'll be up here on the 24th - while still on Thursday, Jonathan McEuen will do something cool at the Big Buddha Lounge and Dan Grimm will be at the Jester in Ojai. The end. Of all that...

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth

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A Different Kind of Truth

Just as everyone who ever penned a lyric, sang a note or played a chord will either come back or not go away, Van Halen is back - with David Lee Roth, no less - the album is "A Different Kind of Truth" and it's on Interscope. It's like they never left - there's the usual guitar pyrotechnics from Eddie Van Halen and the usual vocal histrionics from Roth, combining for the typical meat and potatoes rock. Then again, I didn't care about Van Halen the first time around but those videos - back when MTV actually had something to do with music rather than annoying joiks from Joisey - Roth was a pretty amusing knucklehead on videos such as "Hot For Teacher." The soundtrack for whatever, dude.


Van Halen - A Different Kind Of Truth by Interscope Records

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Bon Iver - Bon Iver

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Bon Iver

Grammy Award winners Bon Iver's latest is self-titled and it's on the newly wealthy Jagjaguwar Records. Sort of symphonic and very mellow, these songs are only slightly removed from tuneless humming or maybe, a one note Christmas carol. A long time ago, people wailed about the stupidity of everybody else when the Monkees charted higher than the Beatles. At least, the Monkees had songs, lightweight though they may have been, unlike Bon Iver - a shimmering mirage, signifying nothing. Non Iver is more like it.



Rock 'n' Roll Call: Lucero - Women & Work

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Women & Work

To these ears, the best band at last year's Warped Tour, who clearly and happily did not fit in, was Lucero - not to be confused with speedway rider, Steve Lucero. Their latest album is a collection of gritty, country-flavored rock entitled "Women & Work" and it's on Ato Records. The title tune reminds us why we love rock 'n' roll piano - all of it is, pretty much, party rock that will make you want to drink another beer. This would be the band you wanted to see if you showed up at Merlotte's in "True Blood." I just want to see Jessica naked, but that's another story altogether...


Lucero - On My Way Downtown by MMMusic

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Howler - America Give Up

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Howler has a new album, it's called "America Give Up" and it's on that indie heavyweight

America Give Up

label, Rough Trade. Howler are peerless purveyors of pop punk rock who seem to be channeling the Jesus and Mary Chain now and again as the recording is sort of muddy but this band succeeds on a purely visceral level. It kicks off with "Beach Sluts," maybe Rush Limbaugh's dream date at the seashore, but who could resist the raucous rocker, "Pythagorean Fearem," then they switch gears for the greaser friendly, rockabilly rocker, "Told You Once." Assaulted on every side, America cannot give up, but every vote for Next Gingrich shows they already have. In any case, Howler is worth a listen.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Saw Doctors - The Further Adventures of the Saw Doctors

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The Saw Doctors most recent album would be "The Further Adventures of the Saw

The Further Adventures of the Saw Doctors

Doctors" and it's on Sham Town Records. Irish rock stars since 1986, they still have those tell-tale chiming guitars and the instantly recognizable vocals by Leo Moran and all much better than those grotesque "Saw" movies where even Doctor Strange wouldn't help. It's another helping of well-crafted, hooky pop tunes, even offering the best advice imaginable, "Be Yourself" because if no one tells you how to act, then how're you gonna be? They do get a bit saggy over the last third, but then it all ends in style with the heavy and melodic anthem, "Goodbye Again," a song the Devlins would be proud of.


TimeOut: Well-stocked with songs

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Performing as Evans & Van Loan, Jeff E. and Marty V.L. played a lot a long time ago at Charlie's in Ventura, the venue that locals seem to miss the most even though it's been gone 20 years. They're back as the Mini Bar Project, with a CD release party Saturday night at Zoey's in Ventura. As if that's not enough fun, the wonderful Mojo Monkeys will close things down, providing Jeff and Marty with an exceptional soundtrack for the elbow-bending that inevitably accompanies their post-gig glow.

Folkie kind of guys then and now, the principals have been in different bands: Van Loan in Left of Memphis and Evans in Hyperplush, the Warm Guns, Blimp, the Freeway Daisies and Colourbox Studies. The pair's friendship has endured for decades, however, and now they're doing something about it. Read more >>

TimeOut: VenAustin Tour kicks off March 9 at Bombay

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For Dorothy, it was the Yellow Brick Road. For the Joads, it was Route 66. And for a bunch of Ventura bands seeking musical nirvana and maybe their destiny in Austin, Texas, at this year's South by Southwest Music and Media Conference, it's Highway 10 out of the Golden State.

That's the getaway trail for the VenAustin Tour, which begins tonight with one final fundraising gig at the Bombay Bar & Grill in Ventura. Read more >>

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Zeus - Busting Visions

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Busting Visions

The new one from Zeus is "Busting Visions" and it's on Arts & Crafts Records. Why not start on top and eliminate all the boring steps beginning with dude and ending on high with the master of Mount Olympus. This is a brilliant Toronto rock band full of virtuosos just showing off - every song is different - they go from quiet to loud, as they shift gears effortlessly and painlessly, sometimes channeling Queen at their most bombastic and theatrical and you'll love Neil Quin's vocals and the controlled but mind bending guitar action. So much for the sophomore jinx - it's only March but this is gonna be one of the best of 2012.


Zeus - Anything You Want Dear by Arts & Crafts

What to know about where to go this week

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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 at my house, multi-tasking, writing about rock 'n' roll, watching "Rachel Maddow" on MSNBC with the sound off and petting my cat, Nope, who is on my lap and as usual, in the way and doing his fair share as part of the worldwide feline anti-literacy campaign.

OK, my friends, I'm here to talk to you wonderful folks about live music and to that end, 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.

You have to drive to Hell-A - to my old school even, UCLA - but it's worth it to see Stew & the Negro Problem. And what about Ben Howland? He did sound like a jerk in that SI article, but Reeves Nelson sounded like he was in training for Norman Bates who could dribble - and I do like basketball teams that play defense. I'm easy - I just want the Bruins to win every game by 50 points - 100 against USC.

And up here in the 805 where we like it - or until Oxnard paves our quality of life, Teresa Russell will shred on that guitar all over the Savory Cafe in Ventura and Emilbus - that's Sublime spelled backwards - will be up all those stairs at the Watermark in Ventura and it's the biggie for the week, it's the kick-off for the VenAustin Tour where four Ventura bands are heading back to SXSW in Austin, bring something cool from the 805 to a very uncool state - the same state that gave us Governor Jesus McBang-Bang. 8Stop7, New Liberty, Jeff Hershey & the Heart Beats and Aaron Orbit will begin locally with a gig tonight at the Bombay Bar & Grill. Have a blast, guys - and tell those ignorant rednecks to not move out here and enjoy the 15th century along with the rest of those Tea Party Taliban.



OK, still tonight, it's Delaney Gibson, who will sing cool songs at Zoey's. You can hear hicks in the 805 when I See Hawks in L.A. plays solid country rock at Yolie's in West Ventura, while up Highway 33 to Ojai - where has he been - it's John Marx playing some blues at the Jester. Up the coast to Santa Barbara, Bruce Hornsby will be at the groovy Granada Theatre and a few steps north it's cool folk rock from Blitzen Trapper at SOhO.



On Saturday, back in Hell-A, it's one quarter of Phish - that would be guitar player Trey Anastacio - he'll be at the Disney Concert Hall. While up here in the 805 where we still love

Iration

it - how could we not - it's reggae from Iration at the Ventura Theatre, while over at Zoey's it's a CD release party from the well-rested Mini Bar Project - once upon a time, Evans & Van Loan and they have the amazing Mojo Monkeys close the show, also on a Saturday night. Up in Ojai - it's a good one and they'll dress better than you - it's all 50 Sticks of Dynamite at the Jester. On Sunday, Frank Barajas will do his one man pop rock thing at Tutti's in Ventura.

Skip a few until Wednesday when you can see Mark Masson and Bruce Kimmel at the Good Bar in downtown Ventura while it's that All

Rubberneck Lions

Star Blues Jam at the Bombay, also on a Wednesday and the Rubberneck Lions continue their Wednesday night residency at Zoey's. On Thursday, it's Jonathan McEuen and worth the drive all the way to San Luis Obispo, it's my new favorite band, the Shrouded Strangers - they'll be at a coffeehouse with a weird name, Kreutzberg, Ca - I'm thinking about it - these Strangers are real good. OK, the end of all this. For now...

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Estrogen Highs - Irrelevant Future

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The new one from Estrogen Highs is on Trouble in Mind Records and is called "Irrelevant

Irrelevant Future

Future" which is a recurring monthly theme when the student loan statement arrives - how could I be paying for four years and still owe more now than I did then? Anyway, it's low tech snarky pop punk from Connecticut. There's some funny stuff here, including the Rick Santorum and the Republican theme song, "The World Is Flat." Then there's every shrimp's dream theme, "I Wanna Be Tall." Simple chords propel simple songs smartly done - oh, and the estrogen must be second hand as this band is four dudes.


Estrogen Highs - I Wanna Be Tall by PressWolfPR

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Shrouded Strangers - Lost Forever

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Lost Forever

The Shrouded Strangers have a new one - and wow, I'm thinking about driving to San Luis Obispo on a work night (March 15) to check these guys playing some cuts off their debut, "Lost Forever." It's on Izniz Recordings which, I would assume, is their own label. Anyway, haunting fuzzed out guitars - part Duane Eddy, Link Wray and some surf music meets the Gun Club with the drummer working overtime - you'll love these guys the first time. A more modern comparison is maybe, Japanese Motors from a few years ago, who themselves were channeling some '60s garage bands. This tight trio is from Virginia but these days based in Santa Cruz. They have a video up right now - "Featherbed." Anyway, this is my new favorite band and will definitely end up on the year end list.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Dangerbird - When the Madhouses Appear

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When the Madhouses Appear

The debut from The Fling was originally released in 2010 but re-released last year on Dangerbird and "When the Madhouses Appear" is a definite keeper whatever it's birth history. So did you love the Beatles when they were extra great - like from "Rubber Soul" to "The White Album"? These songs are tighter than you boss and you'll hear some John Lennon in there amongst the avalanche of happening three-part harmonies. This one is a classic '60s pop rock-sounding gem.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Todd Snider - Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables

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Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables

The latest from the thoughtfully hilarious Todd Snider is "Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables" and it's on Aimless Records. Snider is anything but that as he takes aim at the root of all evil and stupidity when he suggests that religion was invented by the rich to keep the poor from doing the right thing and killing them. This is part of World History 101 - the part that gives you all the answers and insights as to what follows - like math, but funny - and that's just the first song, "In the Beginning." A hilarious stoner hippie singer/songwriter out of Oregon but for a long while, holding his own in Nashville - Snider is a laugh riot live. He's as good as John Prine, Steve Poltz - name your favorite singer/songwriter. Snider thoughtfully includes some love lousey advice with "The Very Last Time." There's even some Occupy soundtrack music with "New York Banker" (why is that none of them are in jail?) One great song after another and who could possibly resist "Digger Dave's Crazy Woman's Blues;" well, besides Dave maybe...I don't know how many Snider albums there are - I have 10 - none a mistake - this guy is the greatest Snider since "The Duke."

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Chairlift - Something

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Something

The new Chairlift on mighty, mighty Columbia Records is called "Something" and it is that, but really, not much of anything. The music is too loud for the wimpy and weak female vocals, who may be singing the phonebook for all I can tell or maybe "Heart of Glass" by Blondie, except not by Blondie and entirely too loud.


SOMETHING Out Now by Chairlift

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu

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Lulu

The Lou Reed & Metallica collaboration is "Lulu" and it's on Warner Brothers. Lou is Lou and Metallica does what they do - how well it all works, not sure. From "Brandenburg Gate," this one kicks off the album with the following disturbing lyrics: "I would cut my legs and tits off/When I think of Boris Karloff and Kinski/In the dark of the moon..." Hate when that happens but then again, even an easy rhyme for Karloff is a plus. Slasher movie-level lyrics abound and Metallica rocks hard and can we be far removed from other off the wall team-ups - Surf Punks and Journey? If you like either one of these acts or both, you'll enjoy this two-disc set.


TimeOut: The Quick & Easy Boys will play in Santa Barbara on March 2

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Trios have given us plenty of great music over the years, from the Kingston Trio to all those enjoying the benefit of electricity since then -- Cream, Blue Cheer, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Grand Funk Railroad, The Police, and these days, Green Day. Another good example of rock in triplicate, but one you might not know of, is The Quick & Easy Boys. Out of the Great Northwest, the boys are heading south on a road trip that includes a stop at Whiskey Richards in Santa Barbara tonight. Read more >>


Read my past columns here!

What to know about where to go this week

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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 at my house, multi-tasking, writing about rock 'n' roll, watching "River Monsters" on Animal Planet with the sound off and petting my cat, Nope, who is on my lap and as usual, in the way and doing his fair share as part of the worldwide feline anti-literacy campaign.

OK, my friends, I'm here to talk to you wonderful folks about live music and to that end, 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.

Friday. he's got stories to tell - he was at Woodstock as the leader of the Fish - the ones that could spell and gave us the Fish Cheer - it's Country Joe McDonald at the cavernous Canyon Club in Agoura Hills - while over the Santa Monica Mountains, it's another party at ground zero with Fishbone at the Malibu Inn. And up here in the 805 where we like it, it's busty blues belter Candye Kane at Yolie's in Ventura - while up Highway 33 to Ojai it's 29 Mules playing some country rock, just right for beer guzzling at the Hub in Ojai.

29 Mules

On Saturday, it must be the first Saturday of the month which means it's rock blues with Steve White & the Barstool Pigeons at Blackbeard's BBQ down in the Ventura Harbor while in midtown, it's those rockin' rodents in Mouse Grey at the Red Cove in Ventura - two blocks north of the Top Hat and my old school, the mighty mighty Cougars - and downtown Happens Again happens again at the Sans Souci in Ventura - and a few steps away, it's the Legalizers playing some rockin' reggae at the Watermark. Down at Zoey's it's the Tommy Marsh Band.

While up the coast to Santa Barbara, it's smart guy rap that even I like - and a lot, too - it's Immortal Technique at La Casa de La Raza, a perfect place for a wild show, while over on State Street, it's reggae with those Aggrolites at Velvet Jones and a few doors down, it's my interview victims for this week, the Quick & Easy Boys out of Portland with their cool bar band vibe - sort of like Oingo Boingo and a funk band - anyway they'll be at Whiskey Richards and it's a free show. And still on Saturday in Santa Barbara - it's the greatest band of all time - one of them, anyway - that would be the English Beat, still fronted by Dave Wakeling - they'll be at SOhO and will doubtlessly play all the cool tunes off "Just Can't Stop It," one of the Top 10 albums ever.

On Saturday, it's that pint-sized, hugely talented rockin' blues guitar guy, George Thorogood - he'll be at the Canyon Club on Sunday while up here in the 805 where we like it, at least until Oxnard and Camarillo pave all that boring farmland, Frank Barajas will do his one-man band pop rock thing at Tutti's in Ventura.

Skip a few until Wednesday where, it's guitar jam night with Mark Masson and Bruce Kimmel at the Good Bar in Ventura while a few steps away at the Bombay Bar & Grill, it's that All Star Blues Jam thing and the Rubberneck Lions - love that name - they'll begin a Wednesday residency at Zoey's.

Rubberneck Lions

While up in Oak View, it's the Ventucky String Band at the Big Buddha Lounge. Kyle Hunt with or without - King Gypsy - he'll be the at Jester in Ojai.

And finally on a Thursday, it's funny and and not political correct rock from Alligator Dave at the Sans Souci even as Jonathan McEuen will do something cool at the Big Buddha Lounge and Dan Grimm will be at Jester in Ojai. The end. Of all that.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Beautiful View - Life is Beautiful

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Life is Beautiful

The latest from The Beautiful View is "Life Is Beautiful" and it's self-released. While more interesting than beautiful to echo their adjective of choice, this is often noisy, atonal pop, sort of like the Talking Heads for the new millennium, or other times, a competent rock band that succeeds on tunes such as "Bells." To quote their own Facebook entry, this San Diego band has released an album of songs "that sound like it should be on the radio."


The Beautiful View - The Horseman by PressWolfPR
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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