June 2012 Archives

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Offspring - Days Go By

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Days Go By

Jail is full of people from people who shouldn't breed but these Offspring are something else again - their latest is "Days Go By," just out on Columbia. Another case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rock, it's old school punk from these veterans out of Huntington Beach - once upon a cool little beach town which now is lamer than lame. At this since 1984, Dexter Holland and the boys know what's what and this clearly is supposed to be fun. How could it not be with a song called "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing," describing his memorable exit in "Dr. Strangelove"?


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Birthmark - Antibodies

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Antibodies

The new one from Birthmark is called "Antibodies" and it's on Polyvinyl Records even though it's a CD. No one's gonna laugh at this birthmark, despite all that droning, on and on, but too soon, nearby curious drivers might be laughing at you. Chances are you'll find yourself instinctively opening your piehole to try and to pop your ears, probably not the desired effect of music. This is number three for Birthmark, the brainchild of one Nate Kinsella, who plays pretty much everything. If he wants to evolve beyond providing muzak for the frozen food aisle at Von's, he needs to unmellow himself and show a pulse.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion

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A Wasteland Companion

The very busy M. Ward's latest is "A Wasteland Companion" and it's on Merge Records. Made it a point to see Ward at Coachella this year where he had moments of transcendent brilliance, then turned so-so, just as we all do. He's like this pop rock guy for the new millennium on top of his game throughout this one, keeping it simple on songs such as "Primitive Girl," which will live in your head for daze much like the brief but wild speeding ticket-inducing guitar solo on "Me and My Shadow." The slow mo blues rock from the title tune will make you fan if you aren't already and besides all that, Ward is a top notch guitar player. This one will make most Year End lists.


A Wasteland Companion by M. Ward

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 Link 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.

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:

Chris Smither

OK, tonight - Friday night, he's great but he's in Hell-A, well, Santa Monica, actually - that would be Chris Smither at McCabe's, while up PCH a bit to the Malibu Inn, it's the happiest living man, Pato Banton, who will play some uplifting reggae. Over the Santa Monica Mountains to the Thousand Oaks Library - which presumably will be shush free when Jimmy LaFave plays a few, while down the grade to Ventura, it's the Brian Faith Band at Blackbeard's BBQ down in the Ventura Harbor. There's a bunch of punk bands at Billy O's in Ventura, including the Grim. We Govern We will play some original rock at the Sans Souci and a few steps away, it's the band and what will follow, Bloody Mary Morning - they'll be at the Watermark. There's a big gearhead rockabilly show at the Bombay with the Shaymes, Dirty Filthy Mugs and Public Nuisance and blues belter supreme, Janiva Magness will be at Yolie's; and way, way up Hwy 33 - it's the annual Camp Schiedeck wing-ding at the Reyes Cantina in Maricopa with just about every cool local band, including Kyle Hunt & King Gypsy, Todd Hannigan, playing for a bunch of people getting too wasted to drive home.



On Saturday, it's Foster the People at the Universal Amphitheatre, and that gorgeous blond piano player who had it going before, after and especially during - Ally McBeal - that would be Vonda Shepherd. Check out my story in this week's Time Out, proof positive I'm hard making any of this up. In Ventura, all those Shoemaker Brothers will be at the Golden China - their Sunday brunch can't be beat - and finally on a Saturday, it's L.A. soul band, Fitz & the Tantrums opening for Ben Harper at the SB County Bowl.



Shaky Feelin'

On Sunday, it's the Bombers at the Bombay - and why not? They're providing the soundtrack for Kenny the Doorman's 55th Birthday party. Frank Barajas will do his one-man pop rock thing at Tutti's, also in Ventura and Rain Perry will do a homegame gig at the Ojai Art Center.

Skip a few until Wednesday - it's Lyle Lovett at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, while up here in the 805 where we like it, it's the All-Star Blues Jam at the Bombay and it's the VCBS Blues Jam a few blocks away at the Tavern and Shaky Feelin' will do their jam band thing at the Green Art People gig on the Ventura Avenue.

And finally, it's Jonathan McEuen doing something cool at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. OK, that's that as to all that, a very slow week - for now...

A list of venues can be found here »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Patti Smith - Banga

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Banga

Patti Smith has her first new one in eight years - that would be "Banga" and it's on Columbia. Ably assisted by two of her kids, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer begins with a song, "Amerigo," a song about Amerigo Vespucci, who has been off the charts for several hundred years, but did give America its name and was more than just another stubborn dude who refused to ask directions as he correctly identified the New World as not Asia. She has a kick-butt band behind her, especially guitar player, Lenny Kaye. He blows minds on the rocker, "Fuji-San" and other artsy smartsy, poetic rockers such as "Constantine's Dream," during which the emperor suspected that the empire could have a cross in its future. Smith seems way smarter than everybody but does not seem pretentious and has anyone ever seen her and Iggy Pop at the same time? This one ends with a reverent version of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush." I can answer that one: Too much traffic - don't move up here. Smith rocks seriously.


TimeOut: Vonda Shepherd performs June 30 at T.O. library

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It's supposed to be quiet but it won't be. People are supposed to be reading but they won't be. Instead, bibliophiles and audiophiles alike will be listening to polite and poetic piano-pounding blonde Vonda Shepard as she performs a gig Saturday night at the Grant R. Brimhall Library. The traditional shushing from the flustered librarian is probably not going to happen as this "rock the racks and shake the stacks" scenario is part of the Blues, Bop & Books series, now in its second season.

Shepard is best known as the sexy piano player in the convenient bar where the neurotic cast of "Ally McBeal" would show up to basically drink each other cuter, dance funny and wonder, "Why me?" Shepard had recorded three solo albums before she was hired by the show's creator, David E. Kelley, who decided she was clearly the girl for the job. And she was for six seasons, during which she released several "Ally"-related albums. Shepard now has a dozen solo albums to her credit and is at work on the 13th. Read more »

TimeOut: Soul band Fitz & the Tantrums plays in S.B., L.A.

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Soulful L.A. buzz band Fitz & the Tantrums are going to be sweating all over the picturesque Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday night and the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday. They'll be the ones dressed to the nines, or maybe even tens, with enough sartorial splendor to make Liberace jealously salivate from afar. Frontman Fitz and friends, who include powerful co-vocalist Noelle Scaggs and a killer horn section, will be opening for Ben Harper at both venues.

If it were 1962 and AM radio offered great music instead of right wing gasbags, Fitz would be like a god. The band is doing OK in any case, being featured on public radio tastemaker station KCRW and making the best of opening slots with Maroon 5, Flogging Molly and others, not to mention selling more than 100,000 CDs, most on Dangerbird, an L.A.-based indie label. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Ghost Inside - Get What You Give

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Get What You Give

In one of my shortest reviews ever - it took about 20 long seconds to decide that "Get What You Give," the new one by the Ghost Inside on Epitaph, really sucks. Why is this guy screaming as if he's giving himself a lobotomy with a rusty screwdriver? The ghost inside needs to get out and then, shut the hell up. Not even close.


Warped Tour 2012: A rock-fueled day at the Ventura County Fairgrounds

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About 90 bands played on numerous stages and sold stuff from their merch booths before and after their few moments of stage fame as thousands of people milled around, working on their sunburns on a swell breezy Sunday beach day. One of 41 shows and also the thirteenth consecutive stop for the Vans Warped Tour at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, some of the bands were even good. Many were loud enough to make it a bad fishing day as Jaws, Flipper, Willy, Nemo, Mr. Limpet, M. Dick, Charlie Tuna and maybe even the seagoing Daryl Hannah, probably all skedaddled out past the Channel Islands.

A celebration of youth culture as well as a rock 'n' roll swapmeet, the Warped Tour has been around since 1995. And all this because stoner finhead Jeff Spicoli wore a pair of checkered Vans in the 1982 teen scheme flick, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"? Who knew? But Spicoli's faves - the Stones and Van Halen - are nowhere to be seen and are not even - or have they ever been - on the radar. Warped began as a punk rock extravaganza and then expanded into a pop punk scenario which is still pretty much the flavor of choice now but there's an inordinate amount of scream-o bands and a few hip-hop acts and even an acoustic tent where London's Skinny Lister tore things up, quietly.

Rise to Remain

Scream-o is sort of like a typical rock band except that the alleged "singer" screams as if he's giving himself a lobotomy with a rusty screwdriver. A few Warps back, the "band" Alesana was screaming away and I noticed all the merch guys for various other bands, trapped due to location, location, location - collectively had their hand over their ears in the classic See-No-Evil pose, never a good thing. At this Warped, as I was buying a bright red Cap'n Chunk T-shirt from the merch guy he pointed out the obvious as to nearly Rise to Remain, "I don't know who they are but these guys suck!"

Way too much of that stuff but the pop punk roster was well represented with the likes of New Found Glory, All Time Low (maybe the leader in band shirts worn) and Yellowcard, with priors in the 805 and Mayday Parade who were solid during an early high noon slot.

A few Best Of observations: Best T-Shirt: Times Like These Are What It's All About: Such A Mess. Best Bumper Sticker from the PETA folks: It Will Be A Great Day When Our Schools Get All The Money They Need And The Air Force Has To Hold A Bake Sale To Buy A Bomber. Best Drink: The Razzleberry Peace Tea was extra yummy - and better yet, free.

Anti-Flag

Historically, Warped has resurrected numerous old school punk bands such as Fear with members old enough to be the grandparents of those high schoolers trading elbows in the mosh pit. The geezers of rock this year were hard left political punkers, Anti-Flag out of Pittsburgh, active in Greenpeace, Amnesty International, the Occupy Movement - the band even played outside the GOP convention in 2008. This is a band that sells "Joe Hill Murdered By The Capitalist" T-shirts (you can look up Joe) and found a receptive and obedient crowd of young folks during their early afternoon set.

Dropping the f-bomb as if it were "Punk & Awe," frontman Justine Sane extorted the crowd to form the largest mosh pit ever, with a reminder, "We don't want no machismo cheeseball b.s. - run with each other and not into each other and if someone falls down, pick them up." And for a while during their anti-War on Terror ditty, "This Is the End (For You)," there actually was a Rodney King moment as a two guys - one wearing a Dodger hat, and the other a Giant hat, moshed peacefully along among hundreds, not even squishing the occasional Little Buffy Cheerleader who were likewise, gathering elbow memories.

Actually, the mostly high school and middle school-aged crowd got along famously - just like always. It was date day for several boys and girls and even a few boys and boys and girls and girls. No one seemed to care about any of that stuff and if someday, everyone has sex with everyone else, we'll all be the same color , anyway. By then the Warped Tour will attract their children's children's children.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Sonny & the Sunsets - Longtime Companion

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Longtime Companion

The latest from Sonny & the Sunsets is "Longtime Companion" and it's on Polyvinyl Records. Loved their last one, this one? Not so much. It's a country pop album, consisting of too many songs that don't work. "Pretend You Love Me" is evidently, the first single - but a flute solo? I'm getting homicidal yoga flashbacks where yoga makes you feel better but the soundtrack could convince Mother Teresa to draw a switchblade. Anyway, "Year of the Cock" is another tune with a half baked idea poorly developed as Sonny's grasp does not exceed his reach.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Dot Hacker - Inhibition

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Inhibition

Dot Hacker's full length debut is "Inhibition" and it's on Org Music. It's people from other bands - four dudes - and none of them a chick named Dot. One of the them is guitar player Josh Kinghoffer, evidently with time on his hands since the money has been tallied from his other band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. These guys sometimes play laid back psychedelic show gazer stuff, most memorably so on "Eye Opener;" other times, it's jazzy, funky and spacey as the drummer is often too busy for his (and our) own good. The band is named for the drummer's grandma who is not in the band and may or may not wear a band shirt. Interesting, mostly entertaining, but still, a refresher in Songwriter 101 is in order.


Dot Hacker - Inhibition by ORGMusic

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Rhett Miller - The Dreamer

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The Dreamer

The new one by my hero Rhett Miller is "The Dreamer" and it's on Maximum Sunshine Records, which I'm assuming, is him. This is Miller's fifth solo album plus he's the main writer on all those Old 97's albums - so prolific? Clearly. This one, however, is not so hot - at least for him. If you're burning a driving disc of Miller music, nothing on this one would make the cut, although nothing sucks and a few of them are OK such as "Lost Without You," but Miller has set the bar so high. Each previous solo album has a few certifiable classics on them, but not this time. There's no "Our Love," no "Meteor Shower," no "Fireflies," but his fans will buy this one but it's unlikely to create any new ones.


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 the new season of "River Monsters" 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:

The Avett Brothers

OK, tonight - Friday night, it's in Hell-A and we hate Hell-A except for the Dodgers, Kings and Lakers - a place where the only sensible redevelopment plan is nuclear - anyway, here's one that's worth the drive - one of the best bands I've ever seen - that would be those rockin' rednecks - the Avett Brothers who will be at phonehead nirvana, the Nokia Theatre. In Agoura, it's the most popular band in the Conejo Valley - Urban Dread will play some reggae at Padri's Martini Bar while down the hill to the 805 where everyone loves it, except for the Oxnard City Council who can't pave that boring farmland quick enough - the Brian Faith Band will be at Blackbeard's BBQ down in the Ventura Harbor and it's all those Shoemaker Brothers at the Whale's Tail while over in Ventura at Amigo's across from the

Shoemaker Brothers

movie theatre on Main Street, it's Santa Barbara's finest - and maybe funnest band - Spencer the Gardener will be playing some "spy movie music at the beach" and some Charlie's flashback tunes, while a block or so north, it's Teresa Russell at the Savory Cafe and three bands will be at the Bombay, Preachers & Porn Stars, Ass Backwards and Whiskey Glass Eye and all those R&B Bombers will be at Yolie's in west Ventura. Up Hwy. 33, it's Sunny Erickson and Sugar Cream at the Deer Lodge in Meiners Oaks and Shawn Jones will play some bluesy rock at the Jester in Ojai.

The Cult

If you're still stuck in the '80s, the Cult will be at the Hollyweird Palladium on Saturday while up here in the 805 where - how could we not like it? The Mighty Cash Cats will channel the Man In Black at Montalvo Square in Montalvo and it's jam band nirvana with Shaky Feelin' down at the Tavern at the big house near Zoey's that has had more names than a schizophrenic bigamist - now, it's the Tavern, while at Zoey's it's flashback time and also a CD release party for acoustic music legends - Marley's Ghost, while up in Ojai, it's more acoustic music - this time from Blame Sally at the Dancing Oak Ranch and Mouse Grey and Vincent Falcone will be at the Deer Lodge where everyone is happy except for all those deer heads on the wall, evidently put there by itchy fingers that slept through "Bambi." And finally on a Saturday, it's Natalie D-Napoleon with better pipes than Bonaparte and/or Dynamite along with Headless Household at SOhO in Santa Barbara.



On Sunday, it's folk rock from Rachel Sedacca at the Lab Brewing Company in Agoura, while back to the 805, Preachers & Porn Stars will be at the Sans Souci while close by, it's Shawn Jones at the Watermark and one man band, Preston Smith, will be around the corner at Amigo's and Frank Barajas will be at Tutti's. Besides that, every high school kid with a clue

Shawn Jones

will be at the Warped Tour at the Ventura County Fairgrounds - it's a million bands - some of them good - lots of free stuff and still a bargain at 35 George Washingtons - this is the 13th straight Warped stop in Ventura. Blame Jeff Spicoli, the stoner finhead from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," who put checkered Vans on the map, ya think?

Skip one to access the damage and recover from your foggy Warped Tour sunburn to Tuesday when there's the Fifth Annual Memorial for Maximum Bob - it'll be at the Golden China in Ventura. Evidently, there was no Minimum Bob and Bob was always way cool to me - I took him to a few Civil War re-enactments where he shot a few traitors. Also, Tuesday, the Sideshow Preachers will be at the Tavern in Ventura.

On Wednesday - it's Meat Loaf, still overamping by the dashboard light - he'll be at the Wiltern Theatre in Hell-A and Urban Dread will do their Wednesday night reggae thing at Bogie's in WLV. In Ventura, it's blues deluxe with the All Star Blues Jam at the Bombay and the Ventura County Blues Society Blues Jam goes off at the Tavern, while next door, it's Johnny Two Bags, Socially Distortion-less and doing his own thing at Zoey's. Bass Ackwards will provide the soundtrack at this week's Green Art People gathering on the Ventura Avenue and Cindy Kalmenson will be at the Jester in Ojai and former Toadie, Glen Phillips will be at SOhO doing a homegame gig in Santa Barbara.

And finally, it's Jonathan McEuen doing something cool at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. OK, that's that for that - for now...

A list of venues can be found here »

TimeOut: Roots rocker Shawn Jones ready for gigs in Ojai and Ventura

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One would have to be a superhero -- Iron Man, maybe -- to keep up with one of the hardest-working musicians in the 805, Shawn Jones. Keeping up with the Jones is work. He's playing twice this weekend: at the Village Jester in Ojai tonight, and up all those stairs at the Watermark in Ventura on Sunday afternoon on dress-down day, when the dress code is not enforced and even a Raging Arb T-shirt will get you in.

Jones has a new album, out just last month, called "Struggle Makes You Stronger," which is not only truth in advertising, especially to a musician, but perhaps a chapter title right out of Rock Star 101. Jones is a gifted guitar player and with his tight band, cranks out plenty of bluesy rock. Read more »

TimeOut: Yellowcard returns to the 805 for Warped Tour on June 24

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The weekly commotion by the ocean, most often involving the roar of race cars careening around the high-banked oval that is the Ventura Raceway, will be replaced on Sunday by the just-as-loud -- but hopefully more melodic -- 18th annual Warped Tour. Still a bargain at just 35 George Washingtons, it's a chance to check out scores of bands on numerous stages, all going off with German-army precision.

Our Warped will be the 13th consecutive for Ventura, and is one of 41 stops this year.

Blame Jeff Spicoli, the stoner finhead from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," wearing those checkered Vans, still the sponsor of the tour. Pretty much a celebration of youth culture, -- those who already know everything and refuse to trust anybody older than 30 -- the Warped Tour is sort of a rock 'n' roll swap meet with nearly every band and label manning a booth trying to sell you something. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Cory Branan - Mutt

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Cory Branan is probably a dog person - his latest is "Mutt" and it's on Bloodshot Records. He's an alt country, Americana kind of guy, now and again channeling Bruce Springsteen and other times, Tom Waits. This is the Mississippi guy's first one new one in six years and if you don't like one song - wait a minute. I like "Survivor Blues" and "Karen's Song" is the rocker. He's coming to Zoey's early in July - I think Branan might be really good live.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: No Joy - Negaverse

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Negaverse

No Joy has a new EP - that would be "Negaverse" and it's on Mexican Summer. This could be the Apathetic People's Party house band if they bothered enough to do anything let alone hit the "play" button. This is thrashy garage rock from out of the timewarp - a perfect opener for the Japandroids. As they were talking about drones on MSNBC with the sound off, this was the perfect soundtrack, yet there is as advertised, no joy, but also no hooks and not much more than droning shoe gazer music - and probably not even checkered Vans.


No Joy - Junior by Mexican Summer

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Nikki Minaj - Pink Friday

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Pink Friday

The latest Nikki Minaj is "Pink Friday" and it's on Cash Money Records, an alias of Universal Republic. Now if a space alien happened to land some place where Lady Gaga and Nikki M. were laughing at each other - wow - would its head explode or what? Weird little robot voice notwithstanding, Minaq is nearly as ubiquitous as Starbucks - and just as wired. The dancing fools amongst us love her and why not? I'd rather see the Japandroids.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Wintersleep - Hello Hum

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Hello Hum

The new one from Wintersleep is "Hello Hum" and it's on Roll Call Records. Here's another great north of the border band - these guys have been at it since 2001. They've won a Juno - not the bubbly, bloating cutie from the movie of the same name but the Canadian version of the Grammy. I've listened to this one five or six times and I'm no closer to figuring them out than I was the first time. Sir Paul M. thought they were good enough to open for him, so there's that. It's elaborate art rock with some BritPop in there maybe - nothing jumps out, neither does anything make you want to reach for the "fast forward" or "reject" buttons. Not the same but as solid as Radiohead, Coldplay, Snow Patrol and others with lots more money.


Hello Hum by Wintersleep

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Japandroids - Celebration Rock

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Celebration Rock

The latest from the Japandroids is "Celebration Rock" and it's on Polyvinyl Records. It's a low budget, low tech duo from Canada - Brian King on guitars and David Prowse hits the drums, just as if they were in some garage down the alley from the Count Five and the Seeds in 1966. All you need to know about these guys is that they cover "For the Love of Ivy" by the Gun Club from their "Fire of Love" album in the early '80s. It's not as good as the original but hey - they covered a Gun Club song. The other tunes are uniformly rough, rowdy, raucous and raggedy.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Lemonade - Diver

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Diver

The new one from Lemonade is "Diver" and it's on True Panther Sounds. It's moody techno pop that will make mall mice all dressed in black feel even sorrier for themselves, especially when they realize that nobody cares and the adults destroyed the earth for profit and you'll only pay off your student loans if you work hard, stop eating, save every penny and live to 327. It's music to hang yourself by for people that most of us won't miss, anyway.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Goldfrapp - Goldfrapp

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The new Goldfrapp is self-titled and it's another Astralwerks release. This is an electro-pop duo out of Scary Olde with Alison G, the voice, who dabbles mechanically and Will Gregory the master of the music machines. "Back in 1932, I invented the boogie," John Lee Hooker used to say in his just-the-facts way. That memorable beat later adopted by Bo Diddley became that same riff from Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" from those silly '60s to "Fried Hockey Boogie" from Canned Heat and so on - all those songs that gave your feet a direct order. And so it goes with the first song on this one, "Ooh La La." Miss G has that super sexy, whispery voice so intense, she could make a statue of J. Edgar Hoover sweat. However, now and again Miss G. slips into Firesign Theatre world and that dreaded "gas music from Jupiter" motif as on "Beautiful Head" and "Utopia" (which would really suck if this were the soundtrack) but usually it's some weirdly alluring techno pop with steamy vocals and now again, they resurrect that boogie beat. All right, then...

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 the new season of "River Monsters" 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:

OK, tonight - Friday night, it's in Hell-A, but it just might be worth the irritating drive for several reasons: One of my new favorite bands, River City Extension, will be at the Satellite, while over at the Echo, there's righteously raucous rock from the Japandroids - they even do a cover of a Gun Club song, so they must be cool, and Mayer Hawthorne will do this bluesy rock thing at the Wiltern Theatre.



Up here in the 805 where we like it, the Corsican Brothers will play some pure power pop at Amigo's down on Main Street in Ventura, while a block further north, it's guitar goddess Teresa Russell shredding all over the Savory Cafe and Julie Christensen will sing a few off her new one at Zoey's. In the Bummer, Dude Department, the Gary "U.S." Bonds shows at Yolie's have been cancelled, so Dona Oxford and Craig Thomas will fill in, ably assisted by Hot Roux. No news about a Bonds make-up date. Up in Ojai, John Marx will play some blues at the Jester and the three-day Live Oak Music Festival kicks off up near Lake Cachuma, a bit north of Santa Barbara.



On Saturday, all those tweenie boppers screaming in young lust might register on the Richter Scale but it's only their hormonal reaction to those boy toys in One Direction and that direction will be straight to the bank by way of the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City; while up here in the 805 where we still love it or until Camarillo emulates Oxnard and paves all that boring farmland, it's the Freedom Fest IV at Rock City Studios with 20 bands you've

Shoemaker Brothers

never heard of if you're over 40 - not far away it's that Fiddle Fest at Constitution Park, also in Camarillo and all those Shoemaker Brothers will be at Garman's Pub in Santa Paula. Over in Ventura, there's reggae with Andrew Bees at the Golden China - their Sunday buffet totally rocks - Bees used to sing in one of the later incarnations of Black Uhuru and those Legalizers will play some rockin' reggae up all those stairs at the Watermark and every band in Ventura - or just about every good one will be at SRO Fundraiser at the Bombay Bar & Grill in Ventura - Rey Fresco, We Govern We, Todd Hannigan and Bloody Mary Morning are just a few of those playing. Down at the Fairgrounds, it's the Roadside Revival, which is the 4th Annual Johnny Cash Music Festival, plus there's an after party at Zoey's with the Johnnys - an all girl JC Tribute Band who came all the way from New Zealand, which is almost as far as Mordor. And finally on a Saturday, guitar god Alastair Greene will be at the Hub in Ojai. On Sunday, those rockin' rodents in Mouse Grey will be at the Sans Souci in Ventura. If you're a gardener like I'm trying to be - can't share with gophers because they're too greedy - I've got 10 so far this month, only four in May, but 31 in April - Black Holes and cats really work. I got one last night almost as big as my cat, Nope.



On Monday, he's the saddest singer/songwriter with wrists yet unslit - he's my hero and one of the best writers in rock, especially if you're in some sort of dysfunctional relationship with Miss Take - it's Rhett Miller. He'll be at the Troubadour in Hell-A and he's got a new album. While up in S.B., it's moody techno pop from Brooklyn by way of the Bay Area - that would be Lemonade at SOhO.

On Tuesday, it's the Corsican Brothers doing their pop rock thing at Cafe Fiore in Ventura - the Sideshow Preachers will be at the Tavern down on Santa Clara and the wonderful Jenny Lewis will be at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara - she was the Jenny part of Jenny & Johnny.

On Wednesday, Urban Dread will play some reggae at Bogie's in Westlake Village while down the grade and then some to Ventura, it's the All Star Blues Jam at the Bombay and the Ventura County Blues Society blues jam will be at the Tavern in Ventura; and Rising Son will play some reggae at the Green Art People in Ventura. Frank Barajas will do his one man pop thing at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View and Kyle Hunt will do a homegame gig at the Jester in Ojai.

And on Thursday, it's scary techno rock from Ministry who will be at phonehead nirvana, Club

Jonathan McEuen

Nokia, while up here in the 805 where we love it until Oxnard paves everything, there's only two K's - Kris Kristofferson - and not those triple K idiots that want to sponsor a highway in Georgia. Still, no one has ever seen Ventura City Councilman Carl Morehouse and Kristofferson together (hmmm) but the singer will be at the Oxnard Performing Arts thing, which is doable because the Ventura City Council meets Monday nights - and maybe the Klan can buy the road to Andersonville. Jonathan McEuen will be at the Big Buddha Lounge in beautiful downtown Oak View, and Dan Grimm will be at the Jester in Ojai, also on a Thursday. OK - busy week of good stuff, but that's the end of all that. For now...

A list of venues can be found here »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Santigold - Master of my Make-Believe

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Master of My Make-Believe

The latest from Santigold is "Master of My Make-Believe" - a clever title and it's on mighty, mighty Atlantic Records. Once upon a time, she was Santi White but now perhaps reflecting her musical success, Santigold is an all-over-the-place Philly singer/songwriter who seems comfortable and competent doing whatever she does. She's played with Coldplay, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, covered a song by the Jam and her favorite band is Devo. This one - her second - was co-produced by the TV On the Radio guy (Dave Steik) and was recorded in Jamaica, mon. There's some hip hop, some pop, some electronic stuff - invent your own adjectives but "Disparate Youth" and 'Freak Like Me" are most memorable.


TimeOut: All-girl Johnny Cash tribute band will perform June 16 at Cash festival in Ventura

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If they had to take a physical, they'd be more Jenny than Johnny, but there's no questioning their heart -- it's black -- just like the clothes The Johnnys will likely be wearing Saturday when they perform at the fourth annual Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash in Ventura.

The event, presented by Roadshow Revival and Cash's daughter, Cindy Cash, will take place all day Saturday at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

The Johnnys, an all-girl Johnny Cash tribute band from New Zealand, will kick off the festivities with an 11 a.m. set, paving the way for the likes of With a Bible and a Gun, Big River, Carlene Carter, Wanda Jackson and a ton of local talent. Read more »

TimeOut: Ohio's Wussy will play Zoey's on June 20

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If the band Wussy were a beer, it'd be Yuengling. Brewed since 1829, Yuengling is one of America's best -- and it's not available west of Ohio.

Wussy hasn't been around since the 1800s, but it's a great band from Cincinnati that folks out west don't know about. That should begin to change as the group makes the West Coast rounds, including a show Wednesday night at Zoey's in Ventura. Local rocker Aaron Orbit will open the show.

Wussy has five solid albums including the latest, "Strawberry," which would've been the perfect soundtrack last month in Oxnard. Village Voice music writer Robert Christgau calls Wussy "the best band in America." There is plenty to love about these indie rockers from the heartland and "Asteroids," the first one off the new CD, will make you an instant fan. It's Wussy galore, pretty much. Read more »


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Alan Jackson - Thirty Miles West

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Thirty Miles West

The latest from Alan Jackson is "Thirty Miles West" and it's on EMI. It's meat and potatoes redneck rock dealing with the usual suspects - women, whiskey and what fer? And in this political season, "Look Her in the Eye and Lie" could be the theme song for too many to count. These are superbly crafted country pop songs for the red state rubes.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Melanie Fiona - The MF Life

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The MF Life

She is a beautiful Canadian r&b crooner out of Toronto with roots in Guyana. Her new one is "The MF Life" and it's on Universal - no, it's probably not that - I'm guessing the "MF" is autobiographical and stands for the artist in question, Melanie Fiona. Not only is she yet another great north of the border artist, she has a Grammy to prove it plus she has the pipes to threaten the existence of any wine glasses within a four block radius.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Morning Parade - The Hated & The Loved

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The Hated and the Loved

Morning Parade has a new EP - that would be "The Hated & The Loved" on Astralwerks. Somewhere there's a factory cranking out these upbeat electro pop bands, fronted by pretty boys singing perfectly, fully as dangerous as whistling in the backyard and not even scary to a Republican mom. Steve Sparrow and Phil Titus sound like so many others, but they sound good, so there's that. This 4-song effort contains their two biggies, "Us & Ourselves" and "Headlights."


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Codeine - When I See The Sun

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When I See The Sun

The latest by Codeine is "When I See The Sun" and it's on the Numero Group - that's the label. Now they asked for this one and it's true, so here it is: You'd have to ingest about half your weight of the drug in question to get behind these guys. Moan and groan, strum and dumb - nothing close to a melody or a hook, just chords without inspiration. When I broke my neck bodysurfing, I took so much codeine, I don't remember much about it, much like this band.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Wussy - Strawberry

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Strawberry

The latest from Wussy, probably not Daddy Bush's favorite band - it's their fifth release (at least) and it's "Strawberry" on Shake-It Records. First off, don't miss these guys June 20 at Zoey's in Ventura. They're like this kick-ass bar band or all the Midwestern bands I've like over the last 20 years all rolled into one - the Morells, the Bottle Rockets, the Gear Daddies, the Rainmakers and even Southern Rockers Charlie Pickett & the Eggs and maybe the Stones, too. There's something cool happening with this Cincinnati band, that's for sure. The first tune, "Asteroids," will make you an instant fan as it assumes semi-permanent residency between your ears for daze. Nothing close to a bad cut.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Rick Estrin and the Nightcats - One Wrong Turn

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One Wrong Turn

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats have a new one - that would be "One Wrong Turn" and it's on the big time blues label, Alligator Records. Estrin blows a mean harp, "Kid" Anderson rocks out on guitar and the title tune is a blues classic and will make you a fan if you're not already. Once upon a time led by Little Charlie, Estrin has made this California quartet his own - it's solid throughout.

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 the new season of "River Monsters" 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:

Urban Dread

OK, tonight - Friday night, it's the Conejo Valley's favorite band - that would be Urban Dread playing some reggae out on the patio of Padri's Martini Bar in Agoura, while down the hill to Ventura County and the 805 where we like it, it's party rock East Ventura-style from Bloody Mary Morning - not just the band but what comes after - they'll be at the Sans Souci tonight, while around the corner and down Main Street, it's guitar goddess Teresa Russell at the Savory Café and boogie woogie piano wizard, Rob Rio will do things with those keys that your feet will understand while up Hwy. 33 to Ojai - it's 29 Mules playing some raucous country rock at the Hub and if they feel like it, the Slackers will be at SOhO up the coast in Santa Barbara.

On Saturday, down in Hell-A, running on fumes but definitely still in the race, it's Jackson Browne at the Orpheum Theatre. James Hurley and Jack Brown will be featured at Russ & Julie's latest house concert in Oak Park while down in Ventura at Zoey's, it's soul man and babe magnet Chris Pierce along with his brother from another mother, Shane Alexander, while up in S.B., it's edgy art rock from Jennifer Terran at the Barn.



On Sunday - those rockin' rodents in Mouse Grey will be at the Sans Souci, still in the Poinsettia City, and all those Shoemaker Brothers will be at the Bombay Bar & Grill and Frank Barajas will do his one man pop rock thing at Tutti's, also in Ventura.

On Tuesday, it's the finhead Donavon - not the hurdy gurdy Donovan from those silly '60s - but Donavon Frankenreiter - he'll be at SOhO and he's got a new album, "Start Livin'." On Wednesday, Urban Dread will play some reggae at Bogie's in Westlake Village while down the grade and then some to Ventura, it's the All Star Blues Jam at the Bombay and the Ventura County Blues Society blues jam will be at the Tavern in Ventura - no report on the Green Art People, but go anyway.

And on Thursday, it's Donavon F. one more time - this time at the Canyon Club, while up here in the 805 where we still like it, Alligator Dave will play some raucous rock at the Sans Souci and just steps away, Shawn Jones will be up all those stairs at the Watermark in Ventura and Jonathan McEuen will be at the Big Buddha Lounge in beautiful downtown Oak View, and Dan Grimm will be at the Jester in Ojai.

Next month (*not Monday), it's those legendary electronic pioneers, Tangerine Dream - they'll bring 45 years of experience to the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara - check out my story in this week's Time Out, proof positive I'm hardly making any of this up. Edgar Froese was a laugh riot - trust me this time.


OK - slow week and that's the end of all that. For now...

TimeOut: Tangerine Dream squeezes in a Santa Barbara show

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In 1968, the very surreal Firesign Theatre released its debut album, "Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him." If one were to apply that thought (whatever it was) to music, then the wait is nearly over -- electronic music pioneers Tangerine Dream, still plugged into the cerebral cartwheels and the deft digits of leader Edgar Froese, will be blowing people's minds Monday night at The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. It's all part of TD's Electric Mandarine Tour.

Tangerine Dream's 1967 debut laid the groundwork for electronic music, techno and all those one-named DJs -- not to mention krautrock and, yes, even the dreaded New Age genre. So every time Gotye or Tiësto plugs in, they should send Froese a dollar, at least. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Young - Dub Egg

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Dub Egg

The new one from Texas band The Young is "Dub Egg" and it's on Matador Records, one of the great indie labels. Can't win 'em all - this one's a loser all down the road - it's moan and groan, strum and dumb '60s garage rock or one bad, long song that stops 10 times. No melodies, no hooks - just hope. If these guys can get a deal, your crappy little band, well, who knows? Fully as inept as recent Lone Star political flops such as George Bush - the worst president ever - whistlehead Rep. Louie Gohmert and current Gov. Jesus McBangBang as Bill Maher so ably described Rick Perry.

TimeOut: Donavon Frankenreiter heads to S.B., Agoura Hills

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Although both are undoubtedly mellow, the finhead Donavon and not the "Hurdy Gurdy Man" Donovan is embarking on a musical endless summer, hoping to sell a few copies of "Start Livin'. " Donavon Frankenreiter has a pair of shows near you to choose from next week: Tuesday night at SOhO in Santa Barbara and Thursday night at The Canyon in Agoura Hills.

Nearly as relentless as the once-blue Pacific, Frankenreiter is a workaholic with nearly as many albums as years in showbiz. He started off this hard work by hardly working, as is often the case in SoCal beach cities. He hit the beach and started surfing in San Clemente when he was 10. He caught enough waves and did such a stylish job doing it, he landed a sponsorship deal, ending up in finhead nirvana -- Hawaii -- where he met a young Jack Johnson and started playing the guitar during those endless, mindless, senseless and really fun surfin' safaris. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Jaill - Traps

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Traps

The latest by Jaill with two l's is "Traps" and it's another Sub Pop release. You can't hide anyone in a trio as they just noodle along in a folkie/Americana sort of way. Extrapolating from the band name motif, "Everyone's A Bitch" could be the theme song for that next prison prom that is coming up - let's see - never. The vocals are just tolerable on these raggedy garage rock feedback noodlers. I could see these guys playing in a garage somewhere with their girlfriends all jittery with everyone else standing with their arms folded.


Jaill - Perfect Ten by subpop

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Kelly Hogan - I Like To Keep Myself in Pain

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Kelly Hogan is back - her latest is "I Like To Keep Myself in Pain" and it's on Anti Records.

I Like To Keep Myself in Pain

Way back in the days of vinyl, she was the voice of the Jody Grind and the Rock-A-Teens, has put out a few solo albums but lately is a member of Neko Case's band. Great country voice and a laid back cry-in-your-beer vibe as the title tune is further proof - if any still be necessary - that bad love does indeed, make for good songs. This distaff take on Frank Sinatra, "Daddy's Little Girl" is oddly compelling among other keepers, so how come this lady ain't rich?


Kelly Hogan - Plant White Roses by antirecords

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Beachwood Sparks - Tarnished Gold

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The Tarnished Gold

The new one by Beachwood Sparks is "Tarnished Gold" and it's on Sub Pop. It's laid back and well rested folk rock - it's been a decade since their last album - maybe they're too well rested. If these guys were any mellower they would achieve silence. The singing is just fine, but the songs? Not so much - it's all sound alike acoustic music - basically, it's harmonies without direction.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Blue Foundation - In My Mind I Am Free

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In My Mind I Am Free

The new one by Blue Foundation is - and this sounds like a quote out of "The Prisoner" - "In My Mind I Am Free" and it's on Dead People's Choice and it's the brainchild of Danish skatehead DJ, one Tobias Wilnar. He's a multi-instrumentalist as is his sidekick Bo Rande and the remainder of the band are machines. Sparse, spare, ethereal, spooky and groovy - it's all that and a dance album as well and could conceivably coax the Transformers into a mosh pit, but maybe they're just trying to impress Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Some times, the band meanders into gas music from Jupiter mode or Depeche Mode mode but then they put it in gear for some serious speeding ticket music with "Hard Life." Clearly worth a listen or three...

Rock 'n' Roll Call: That Noise - Love Remains

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Love Remains

That Noise is an unsigned L.A. indie band hoping to sell a few (zillion) copies of their new three-song EP, "Love Remains." According to their own hype, "They're on a mission to eradicate mediocrity of thought and develop a new generation of soldiers dedicated to freeing minds and breaking down barriers." Cliche fest aside, they do offer up some reverential surreal BritPop techno pop - except it's not 1988 and these guys are from L.A. "Erase the Pain" is smoother than the aftermath of a 50 foot slug, and their "noise" is sufficiently musical to preclude the dreaded day job for the forseeable future.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Of Monsters And Men - My Head Is An Animal

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My Head Is An Animal

The debut from Of Monsters And Men is "My Head Is An Animal" that's creepy and it's also on Universal Republic. Maybe the coolest band in all of Iceland, it's a six-piece indie pop band with a couple of singers with way too many consonants in their names who still sing in English better than we speak it. "Little Talks" is their hoped-for hit and it is their best one - all that and a glockenspiel as well - making it for some smooth and comfy folk rock lite that's much more mellow than monstrous.


TimeOut: Grouplove is part of KJEE's annual summer concert on June 1

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These days in Greece, the birth place of democracy and Western Civilization, the locals are being tortured for things they did not do by people they do not know. About the only good thing to come out of this latest brutalization of the 99 percent by the 1 percent is the completely serendipitous band of 20-somethings known as Grouplove. They'll be on the bill at this year's KJEE Summer Round-up along with Garbage, Silversun Pickups, the Naked and Famous and locals band Gardens & Villa. It's all happening today at 4 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

The members of Grouplove hail from the U.S., but they met on the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea, pretty much off the charts and out of our consciousness since King Minos tried to immortalize greed in deepest antiquity. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Best Coast - The Only Place

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The Only Place

The heavily hyped new one from Best Coast is "The Only Place" and it's on Mexican SummerRecords . Beth Cosentino is the front gal and she's the one that has most of those dorky critics trying to invent some new adjectives. Now, I interviewed blues belter Candye Kane the other day and she was talking about how some girls get a pass when it comes to musical proficiency because they look good in a tight skirt. Not saying that about Cosentino but these are just generic pop songs - done better by many others and I even saw Best Coast last year. They were OK, not great. Raggedy pop is raggedy pop. I like BC cuz she likes cats, unlike the Santa Monica PD who should be expecting a lightning bolt from Bastet, the Egyptian cat-headed goddess.

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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