July 2012 Archives

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Thee Satisfaction - Awe Natural

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Awe Natural

Thee Satisfaction's latest is on mighty, mighty Sub Pop and it's called "Awe Natural," which is a pretty darn clever title from these two ladies who met at U-Dub in Seattle. Maybe Mick couldn't get no - oh, course he could; he was lying - but these two seem to be having fun doing sort of a spoken word, rap thing over a propulsive jazz background. Not right for me but maybe for you.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Missy Higgins - The Ol' Razzle Dazzle

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The Ol' Razzle Dazzle

The new Missy Higgins is "The Ol' Razzle Dazzle," perhaps synonymous with "the ol' okie doke" or "the Jedi Mind Trick," is just out on Vagrant Records. Higgins is an Aussie vegetarian, PETA member, tree hugger, so her politics prove that she's paying attention and this, her third album is mostly, a knockout. The album opener, "Set Me On Fire," is a delayed description of Thich Quang Duc's send-off in 1963 and likely to recall bad memories from girls with dragon tattoos, but Higgins is just warm for someone's form, much like on "Unashamed Desire." A few of the songs are baseline generic but Higgins' vocals make that a matter of indifference. "Hello Hello" is a bouncy pop gem and the bluesy, introspective girlie love lousy songs like "Temporary Love" encapsulate the whole theory behind the bar scene. She's honest, too, and even though men are clearly the dopes that have screwed the world up, Higgins admits it's "All in My Head." Not likely to get much traction from a dude wearing a Slipknot shirt, this is chick music from a way cool chick.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Milo Greene

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Milo Greene

The self-titled debut from Milo Greene is on Chop Shop/Atlantic. No one named Milo - just five voices harmonizing on these throwback tunes, not so much unlike those folk groups singing choir-like from back when your grandparents thought they were cool. "Silent Way" offers a thought that probably gets little traction with anyone under 30, "...when we're older, can I still come over?" or maybe it's just an update of "When I'm 64." The simple songs and solid vocals offer proof positive as to the veracity of the old adage, "It's so old, it's new."


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Passion Pit - Gossamer

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Gossamer

The new Passion Pit is called "Gossamer" and it's on Columbia Records. This one's all over the place - strident vocals and some lame mid-life crisis-too-early lyrics as on "Take A Walk." Passion Pit, once upon a time, slang for a drive-in - I believe none survive in Ventura County. That's too bad because a drive-in was the place to watch a movie from your car and where high school kids earned extra credit in Grope 101. Anyway, Passion Pit is the brainchild of frontman Mike Angelakos, who, once upon a time, did it all with just his keyboards, but now, his songs are embellished by the band that is made up of Berklee College of Music grads, whom not surprisingly perform flawlessly, on what are basically, dippy disco tunes.


Take a Walk by passionpit

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Ed Sheeran - +

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Plus

The debut from tweener scream dream Ed Sheeran is "+" and it's on Elektra from late last year and it's lamer than lame. Didja ever watch the totally whacked and wonderful "Girls" on HBO? Remember neurotic Hannah's hot roommate, Marnie and her clingy, totally annoying boyfriend, Charlie? Well, Sheeran could be Charlie (who does have a lame band on the show) as he offers one heartfelt whine-o-gram after another. Remember the toga party in "Animal House" when John Belushi kills Stephen Bishop's guitar on the staircase? Well, Sheeran is Bishop but you would not apologize for this seriously "-" music.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Claudia Schmidt - Bend in the River: Collected Songs

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Bend in the River

Red House Records recording artist Claudia Schmidt's latest is "Bend in the River: Collected Songs." She's jazzy, spacey, Celtic, Big Band and bluesy - whatever she chooses, Schmidt does it all very well - must be that nearly four decades of experience. There's a quote on her album by Garrison Keillor: "When Claudia sings a song, it stays sung." It doesn't get much better clearer than that. Even though the jazzy stuff is not my thing, the bluesy "Pretty at the End" is a knockout.

TimeOut: Meet The Smithereens at Indie West Fest in Ventura

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Two documentaries will be screened at the festival for free: "Color Me Obsessed," about the legendary band The Replacements, 4 p.m. Saturday; and "Bob and the Monster," followed by a Q-and-A with the film's subject, indie rocker and drug counselor Bob Forrest, and filmmaker Keirda Bahruth, 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Indie Fest West is back for an encore performance -- same menu, different venue. It's plenty of bands over the weekend at the venerable Majestic Ventura Theater. Last year, the festival was at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in the daytime -- the bands were uniformly awesome but too many people came disguised as empty seats.

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Rock 'n' Roll Call: Crystal Fighters - Star of Love

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Star of Love

The debut by the Crystal Fighters is "Star of Love" and it's on Atlantic and it's also good news as that whole Armada thing from 1588 is finally forgotten as this is an English/Spanish electronic rock band. This new/old album was actually released in Europe in October, 2010, but just came out here three months ago. It's propulsive happy feet music and a couple are so completely infectious, you'll find yourself moving - or moving fast, this is clean the house in 14 minutes music or speeding ticket music. This album could also be called, "Officer, was I really going 85?" If you don't already, you'll enjoy "I Do This Everyday" or lines like "maybe one day we'll go back to rehab or Argentina" but the chorus to poppy "Plage" will live in your head for daze. A wonderful album.



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:

Cracker

OK, tonight - Friday night, in Hell-A, it's a good one - two Sub Pop bands, King Tiff and Jaill with two l's, will be at the Echo and there's a bunch of good bands at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City - Cracker, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Barenaked Ladies and Blues Traveler. While up here in the 805 where we like it, the Preachers will play some rockin' blues at the historic Glenn Tavern Inn in Santa Paula and - check it out - two gigs in Santa Paula tonight, Friday night. The 5th Annual Citrus Balloon Festival kicks off with country music night - go check out Caught Red Handed while over in Ventura, the Indie West Fest kicks off tonight and rolls through Sunday at the venerable Ventura Theatre - you should go - check out my story in this week's Time Out.

The R&B Bombers will be up all those stairs at the Watermark and the Maudlin Strangers - whatta great name - and three other bands will be at the Bombay down on California Street and the Outta Sites will play some flashback tunes at Yolie's, also in Ventura. Up Hwy. 33 to Ojai - it's all 29 Mules playing some beer swilling inspirational country rock at the Hub.


Long Way Down by Maudlin Strangers


On Saturday, she's my dream date every morning and one of my favorite lesbians either on the radio when I'm driving to work or on current TV every weekday morning - it's the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Show - find out what Fox won't tell you and laugh about it as

Zachary James

well - they'll do it live at the Pantages, and the Dirty Projectors will be at the Wiltern in Hell-A. And up here in the 805, mucho really good local bands will be at the Citrus Balloon Fest thing in Santa Paula, including the reunion gig of Durango 95, who have served their 25-year waiting period but also Kyle Hunt, Jeff Hershey and Zachary James, the Shoemakers and more, Enjoy small town quality of life or before the Chamber of Concrete buys the city council and removes all those boring trees for some really bitchen condos so more jerks from Hell-A can move up here and assure us that the traffic is not really that bad. The Brian Faith Band will be at Blackbeard's BBQ, down at the Ventura Harbor and the Indie West Fest kicks in seriously with the Muffs, the Smithereens and a bunch of local bands at the Ventura Theatre, still Saturday. Jonathan McEuen and his many friends will be at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. The Noble Creatures will be at the Jester and Bob Jones and Randy Rich will play some blues outside at Los Caporales in Ojai and the Fish Tank Ensemble will be at the Dancing Oak Ranch. And up the coast, he's the soundtrack for his hometown playing that "spy movie music at the beach," that would Spencer the Gardener celebrating Fiesta with his annual gig at De La Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara.

On Sunday, the Indie West Fest goes out in style with X, Jackass and my heroes, Old Man Markley, and much more at the Ventura Theatre and Frank Barajas will do his Sunday afternoon thing at Tutti's in Ventura.

Skip one until Tuesday, when happy Giants fan Chris Isaak will be at the Ventura Theatre. Giants in first - what can be worse?

On Wednesday, the legendary Neville Brothers will rock it one more time at the Hollywood Bowl and Urban Dread will play some reggae music at Bogie's in Westlake Village and up here in the 805 where we'll always like it, Julie Christensen will do the honors at this week's Green Art People thing down on the Ventura Avenue. That's enough for one week....

A list of venues can be found here »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Scars On 45 - Scars On 45

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Scars on 45

The Scars On 45 debut full length is self-titled and it's on Chop Shop/Atlantic. It's Brit/Pop/Folk. Like singers that can sing? If that's a "yes," this might be your new favorite band as these Scars offer perfectly concocted corporate folk rock with stellar vocals from Danny Bemrose and Aimee Driver and there's nary a note out of place. Their big break was getting a song, "Heart On Fire," on "Grey's Anatomy," so that's probably the tune you may've heard. There's lots more just as good such as "Breakdown." Nothing close to a bad cut - this band is just as good as Mumford & Sons and my new favorite band this week.



TimeOut: Durango 95 rides again

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Balloons, food, drink and rock 'n' roll -- clearly a cultural landslide, and it's all coming to Santa Paula at the fifth annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival this weekend. The balloons are the colorful, giant-size, hot-air variety -- not the type popped to watch spoiled kids cry in preparation for the real world. It's fun and a reason to go to Santa Paula, where you can appreciate the agricultural heritage before it all gets paved.

There's music both days. Caught Red Handed are the draw tonight for those with a drawl and an affinity for country music. On Saturday, the lineup is a solid cross-section of the best rock bands in the 805 including three rockin' dudes and their respective bands, Kyle Hunt, Zachary James and Jeff Hershey, not to mention the Army of Freshmen, all those Shoemaker Brothers and the reunion of Durango 95, featuring all four originals.

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Rock 'n' Roll Call: SoSo - That Time I Dug So Deep I Ended Up in China

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That Time I Dug So Deep I Ended Up in China

Love this title: "That Time I Dug So Deep I Ended Up in China." That's the title of the new one from SoSo, a beautiful Swedish electronic princess who also answers to Sonja Somajo or SoSo - get it? This is her second release (she also writes tunes for others) and it's still easy for her to split the dough with band because she is the band. SoSo recorded these albums in her room with a bunch of machines, but the question is obviously, what's in a name? Sometimes band names contain within themselves self-fulfilling prophesies - a couple come to mind, Failure and F Minus. Now Miss S. probably has no idea that SoSo in English is "eh + a shrug," just as the Korean automakers KIA, missed the boat on their handle, which has traditionally meant Killed In Action. So, here we have SoSo, average electronic music by another gorgeous woman who has the same voice as the other 700 disco divas doing the same thing.


Soso - T.T.I.D.S.D.I.E.U.I.C (Full album for free download!) by You Can Call Me Soso

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Justin Townes Earle - Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

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Justin Townes Earle has a new one - great title - "Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now" - and it's on Bloodshot, out of Chicago. The 30-year-old Capricorn son of Steve Earle, J.T. is one sad redneck as Miss Take took it all, kicked what was left, fortunately resulting in all these deadpan ditties that seem to be slowly sweated and squeezed out of him. "Baby's Got A Bad Idea," gee - that's never happened before -it's the laid back rocker here. Chances are slim J.T. was ever gonna be a realtor or a truck driver and he's making the most of his DNA-fueled destiny by doing that rock solid Americana roots rock thang.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Lumineers - The Lumineers

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The Lumineers

The new Lumineers album is easy to remember, it's self-titled and it's on Dualtone. It's a three-piece out of Denver - two dudes and a chick cello player from Craigslist doing the low tech Americana folk rock thing - good - there's never too much of this stuff. In the same vein as the Avett Brothers and Shovels and Rope, the heartfelt vocals of Wes Schultz makes this band go as he has this sort of earnest Todd Snider meets Joe Walsh thing going on. And when your girlfriend compares you to the "Dead Sea," that's less than damning by faint praise and is probably not a good thing.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Waco Brothers & Paul Burch - "Great Chicago Fire"

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Great Chicago Fire

The latest from the Waco Brothers & Paul Burch is "Great Chicago Fire" and it's on Bloodshot. This is a kick-ass country rock band that almost forces you to drink beer and regret or get over what might've been. Dean Schlabowske has the economical guitar solo figured out - sometimes, he seems to be channeling Dickie Betts - and Jon Langford has the swaggering yet effortless frontman thing covered. This is album Number Ten for these Chicago rockers and ten more seem to be no problem. Nothing close to a clunker and "Someone That You Know" is yet another solid cry in your beer enabler. No doubt, this band shreds live. Oh, and who's Paul Burch? Guitar and vocals and his name up in lights.


Waco Brothers & Paul Birch - "Cannonball" by BSHQ

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:

Smokey Robinson

OK, tonight - Friday night, he's can sing better than everybody - it's a Miracle - that would be Smokey Robinson at the Hollywood Bowl and old school punk rock all in purple - that would be the Zeros - they'll be at the Troubadour. Did you know that in darkest antiquity, Arab mathematicians invented the concept of zero? Mitt Romney's personality has improved on that, but that's another story.

Still tonight - Friday night - Urban Dread will play some reggae music at Padri's Martini Bar in Agoura while up here in the 805 where we like it or until the Chamber of Concrete controlled city councils pave it all, super mandolin player Tom Corbett will be the headliner at this month's Camarillo Cafe show, while over in Oxnard where synchronized traffic lights remain an alien concept, Raw Silk will be at Heritage Square at the non-mall old town. Over in Ventura, it's the Corsican Brothers playing some pure power pop at Margarita Villa down in the Ventura Harbor. There's old school punk rock with the Dwarves at Billy O's and Rocket 68 will be at my favorite dive bar, the Red Cove, which rocked last week with Fangboy & the Ghouls - a gig I should've written about but I didn't find out about it until too late - if you have a show, tell me. It might get in the paper.

OK, still tonight - still Friday, those Legalizers will be up all those stairs at the Watermark in Ventura - not far away, La Vonettes and two other bands will be at the Bombay Bar & Grill. Down at Yolie's, it's Mr. Hi Hat's birthday bash - that would be Jerry McWorter, usually the drummer for Hot Roux; and finally on a Friday up in Ojai, it's Julie Christensen at the Ojai Youth Entertainer's Studio.

Ringo Star

On Saturday, it's the Kinks' legendary front man Ray Davies - you need "Muswell Hillbillies," a great Kinks album - Davies will be at the Wiltern Theatre in Hell-A. Zoey's favorite Brian Wright will be at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood and if you lover harmonious pop rock, it's the Fountains of Wayne at the Roxy, also in Hollyweird and Ringo Starr and His All Stars will be at the Greek Theatre, while up here in the 805 where we still like it, it's funk punk, what-the heck from Bad Brains at the Golden China in Ventura and We Govern We will play some Greek/American rock at the Sans Souci and Los Dudes will do something fun at Amigo's and Alexandra and those long legs are having a CD release party at the Bombay. A block away, Shaky Feelin' will do their jam band thing down on the pier at Beach House Tacos. And finally on a Saturday up Hwy. 33 to Ojai, Tommy Marsh will play some blues at the Jester and Bob Jones will do the same outside at Los Caporales about a block away...

On Sunday, living up to his name, Matthew Sweet will play some pop rock at McCabe's in Santa Monica, while up here in the 805, it's Charlie's veterans from 20 years ago - Dave Girtsman's Blimp and Joe Hamilton will be at Zoey's and Kyle Hunt and Emy Reynolds will be at the Ojai Art Center while up the coast to S.B, the Swingin' Utters and the Phenomenauts will be at Velvet Jones on State Street - check out my story in this week's Time Out, proof positive that I'm hardly making any of this up.

On Monday, the XX will play some electronic dance music at the Fonda down on Sunset in Hollyweird - a venue named for Henry Fonda who starred in so many great films, including one of my favorites, "Mr. Roberts."

Reel Big Fish

On Wednesday, Reel Big Fish will rock the House of Try to Find a Place to Park in Hollyweird and she'll belt out "Respect," "Think," and "Chain of Fools," who else but Aretha Franklin at the Nokia Theatre? Or you can check out some reggae from Urban Dread at Bogie's in Westlake.

On Thursday, it's pogo-powered pop punk with Teenage Bottlerocket at the Troubadour in Hell-A and Guy Martin will channel Jimi at the cavernous Canyon Club in Agoura, while up here in the 805, it's Alligator Dave at the Sans Souci, and Shawn Jones will play some bluesy rock at the Watermark in Ventura and up Hwy. 33, it's Jonathan McEuen doing something cool at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. OK, that's that for a slow week. Stay tuned...

A list of venues can be found here »

TimeOut: Nickelodeon idol Drake Bell to perform at concert fundraiser

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No matter what your position is on health care legislation, too many Americans are losing too much of their hard-earned assets when they or their families inevitably get sick. Exorbitant medical bills are draining the color out of the rosy American dream. It's a good thing that musicians routinely stand up and do the right thing to help. To that end, Nickelodeon heartthrob Drake Bell will have the tweener girls all atwitter and screamy when he headlines a fundraiser for Kimberly Alvarez, who needs help with medical treatment. Rock-solid bluesy rockers Hot Roux are also on the bill, among others.

It's yet another heartbreaking, scary story. Thirteen months ago, Kimberly and her ex-Marine husband, Matt, were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. Right near the magic moment, Kimberly was stuck with a bout of amniotic fluid embolism, a sort of stroke. Usually, the victim dies. Kimberly did not, but she's still receiving care for brain injuries while daughter Sophie is just fine, and now, 13 months old. Obviously, this ain't cheap.

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TimeOut: Swingin' Utters will swing into Santa Barbara on July 22

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The Swingin' Utters, another punk band with a funny name that's been doing this kind of thing for a while, will be playing loud and fast Sunday night at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. These self-described goofballs are, as their record company likes to say, "pretty much the trailblaizenistband that ever decided to put grandpa's banjo and spittoon next to the Marshall full stacks and the booze."

They started in the late '80s in Santa Cruz, then moved to San Francisco and got signed to Fat Wreck Chords and released a bunch of albums, the latest of which is titled "Here, Under Protest."

One reason they're still swingin' is obvious. While way too many bands have no one who can sing, the Utters have three guys who can really sing, which is always a good thing. They're even good for sound advice: "To our wives and girlfriends -- may they never meet!"

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Rock 'n' Roll Call: Skrillex - Bangarang

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Bangarang

Skrillex's fourth and latest EP is "Bangarang" and it's on Big Beat/Atlantic. This one came out around Christmastime but physically (which is all I care about) in January. With a name like Skrillex - he's reminiscent of a skillet, sex and a tribble - make your own porn out of that one. Born Sonny John Moore, he's a twentysomething Grammy Award winning electronic music wiz and he's also a Capricorn, so he never lies and is always right. There's a weird, technical explanation for what he does but if you explain it too much, you ruin it, so we'll leave at this: It's foot candy made by a bunch of machines with samples and vocal snippets. "Breakin' A Sweat" pretty much showcases Skrillex's connections and passions as he is joined by the three living members of the Doors and even a part of a Jim Morrison interview is included. Does it work? Dunno. Sorta. Probably. Ask your feet.


Skrillex - Bangarang by Skrillex

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Donny Hathaway - Live

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Donny Hathaway - Live

Shout Factory, fortunately always short on the shouting just released a 2-VD live one from Donnie Hathaway, who made a bad career move by committing suicide in 1979 at the ripe old age of 34. He's best known for his duets with Roberta Flack but these are a couple of live shows, complete with the dreaded drum solo. All the right people say the right things about Hathaway, but to me, it's not much better than OK. When I said essentially the same thing about Nick Drake - well, that's how I got fired from American Songwriter Magazine - sure do miss those 10 dollar checks. I'll save my Shout Factory adjectives for their English Beat re-issue. If I want some soul music, I'll throw on some Sam Cooke or James Brown.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Maroon 5 - Overexposed

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Overexposed

"Overexposed" is the latest from Maroon 5 and it's on one time heavyweight label and now but a shadow of it's former self, A&M. Adam Levine and his pals still have that pop punk thing figured out and there's lots of funny lyrics. "She's got tickets to her own show but nobody wants to go-oh," is the opening for "Tickets," which sounds better than it reads but what I really wanna tell you about is the album-ender, a rockin' cover of "Kiss" by Prince. I'm guessing that many Maroons (their fans?) have never heard this or stuff like this, and especially the rockin' blues jam that kicks in, including a kick-ass sax solo by Bobby Keys and raging guitars. I thought it was a different CD, so I had to stop working and go check the player. A solid effort by a solid band who knows what's up.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania

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Oceania

The new one by those Smashing Pumpkins is "Oceania" and it's on Martha's Music. This is album Number 9 from Billy Corgan - the giant bald guy and his friends. As usual, it's excessive, over the top and in your grill. The drummer is working overtime, the guitar is going off on weird tangents and Corgan has that high pitched shriek threatening the wine glasses in the next room - so, soulful, introspective ballads - not. The title tune is so annoying - it's like everyone is practicing for a different song in a different band - that I actually turned on Mark Levin to make "Oceania" go away. It did, but Levin who seems to be an angry Peter Lorre channeling a weasel - lasted about 15 seconds. I haven't listened to any Pumpkins for many years - used to like them, not so much anymore.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Shovels and Rope - O' Be Joyful

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O' Be Joyful

The new one from Shovels and Rope is "O' Be Joyful" and it's on mighty, mighty Dualtone. It's low tech country folk from Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent who sing up a storm on these sad slice of life tunes about places you're glad you're not at. Then again, you'll be glad to add this one to your collection - chock full of low budget, sweaty and sexy big time thrills - this is gonna be one of the best of the year and definitely worth a trip to Hell-A in August, but way better at Zoey's in Ventura. These two would also be great with the Blasters or the Avett Brothers. "Hail Hail" and "Tickin' Bomb" are about has hard as a duo can rock, the title tune is a keeper and "Kemba's Got the Cabbage Moth Blues" could be a worthy companion to Johnny Bond's "Hot Rod Lincoln." Love them.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Hives - Lex Hives

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Lex Hives

There's a new Hives - the good ones not the itchy variety - their latest is Lex Hives - I don't know what label they're on - they arted me right out of any sort of understanding trying to decipher the album liner notes - good thing they rock. And they do - in glorious black and white - imagine a Swedish version of the Ramones. They're all scream-y and shout-y and sort of the bratty answer to the unasked question: What if Eddie Haskell had a punk band? No one's gonna write a term paper on the significance of the album opener, "Come On!" That evidently is Swedish, for "1-2-3-4!" They're fun and they speak better English than we do and "These Spectacles Reveal the Nostalgics" rocks extra.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls

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Boys & Girls

The debut from the Alabama Shakes is "Boys & Girls" and it's on Ato, not a typo for Atco. Yup, they're really from Alabama and it's like a raunchy and bluesy bar band, featuring three white dudes and a kick-ass black chick singer, Brittany Howard, none of which should matter but this is Alabama, after all. The album kicks it off with their best one, "Hold On," most of the rest are generic bluesy rockers that are solid, if not entirely mindbending, yet, I'm thinking this would be a very good live band.


TimeOut: 'The Voice' helped kickstart former 805 singer's career

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Bluesy singer-harmonica player Lee Koch heard voices and they told him not to quit his night job, so he didn't, and now here he comes back to his favorite venue for a gig tonight at Zoey's in Ventura. Koch parlayed his 15 minutes of fame on NBC's music competition show "The Voice" into a tour across the country. In case you're unaware, "The Voice" is another of those endless, mindless and senseless competition shows that couch-bound Americans find so riveting.

Koch moved to the 805 from Temecula a few years back and released an album in 2009, "Same As Blood," that was produced by Jesse Siebenberg. Koch could often be heard sitting in with numerous local musicians or fronting his own band, the Grinders. Then, Koch moved back to the triple-digit heat and familiarity of Temecula where he intended to open a bakery with his wife, Nicole. Read more »

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:

Sonny & the Sunsets

OK, tonight - Friday night, it's Sonny & the Sunsets at the Echo in Hell-A - loved the album before last - the new one? Not so much, but these pop rockers live will probably be good. Leftover Deadheads will be swirling with abandon along with String Cheese Incident at the Greek Theatre - sure to be a mindbender to future archaeologists, much like the Assyrian tire factory on Hwy. 5. Meanwhile, Fish Fry will play some bluesy rock at the Lab Brewing Company, compliments of those Dodger fans in the Fishell family, and not far away, Nu Wave techno wiz with 30 years experience, Howard Jones will be at the cavernous Canyon Club, also in Agoura.

While up here in the 805 where we like it, it's reggae night at the Bombay, all for the VC Music Awards - the bands are Jahmon Soul, Elevator Ska and - they might remember the way - the Ska Daddyz, setters of countless new lows at this venue. I myself, was kicked out during a Ska Daddyz gig and when Zorba kicks off into "She Likes To Party," you'll be glad you came. Lee Koch and Naia Kete both veteran of "The Voice," will be at Zoey's. I never watch network TV; and Lynwood Slim - a veteran blues dude - will be at Yolie's in west Ventura across from Avenue Von's and finally on a Friday, it's New Liberty at the Deer Lodge - sounds like some Republican BS as they continue stealing everything, but it's not - they rock. But remember, "privatization" is just another word for stealing public money. That's your history lesson for this week. What do the Republicans want to steal next? Social Security and the dough tied up in the Postal Service, not to mention, your pension. Cut through the lies and find out what's really going on and read the new one from Robert Scheer, "The Great American Stick-up." Oh, and New Liberty still at the Deer Lodge in Meiners Oaks.

On Saturday, it's boogie woogie piano wiz Rob Rio - he'll be rocking out under the fog at the Olivas Adobe in Ventura next to the golf course which reminds me of Marrk Twain's timeless

Dr. M

observation that "golf is a good walk ruined." In downtown Ventura, Dr. M will play some dance music at the Watermark and a bunch of DJs will spin for the sprung, finding that dance groove at the Ventura Frequency Festival on the Promenade. Don't know about this one, but how could anyone resist Electric Liberace at Zoey's? And just as there is no Liberace Jr., Hot Roux will be at the Jester in Ojai.

On Sunday, it's the Queers and Screeching Weasel at the Fonda in Hollyweird - the Queers released one of the greatest pop punk albums of all time, "Don't Back Down," and yes, the do improve (or at least equal) the original. The Association - 45 years later - evidently still at it, will be at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and up here in the 805 where we still love it, it's all those Shoemaker Brothers at the Bombay and Emy Reynolds will be at Zoey's.

Skip a few to Wednesday when you can check out some reggae from Urban Dread at Bogie's in Westlake. Down in Ventura - it's all blues all over with the All Star Blues Jam at Bombay and the VCBS Blues Jam at the Tavern, while up in Oak View, it's Frank Barajas doing his one-man pop rock thing at the Big Buddha Lounge.

And finally for this week, on Thursday - one more time for Urban Dread again in Westlake but this time at the Zin Bistro, while down the hill to Ventura where my mom worked for 30 years - it's the Legalizers at the Pierpont Inn and up Hwy. 33, it's Jonathan McEuen doing something cool at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. OK, that's that for a slow week. Stay tuned...

A list of venues can be found here »

TimeOut: Synth-pop pioneer Howard Jones performs July 13 at The Canyon

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Before Melodrama Television, there was Music Television. Yes, it's true. Once upon a time in the '80s, MTV actually showed music videos instead of stupid reality shows about stupid people from New Jersey. Back then, one of the early stars was Howard Jones, a British singer/songwriter who knew how make music with machines. Jones will bring back the days of synth-pop when he stops by and plugs in at the cavernous Canyon tonight in Agoura Hills.

While George, Tom, Brian, Davy, John Paul, Quincy, Norah are all well known, Howard is not only keeping up with the Joneses but he's been doing this for nearly four decades after taking piano lessons as a kid. His first album, 1984's "Human's Lib," was a smash in England and made a respectable showing in this country with such hits as "What Is Love?" and "New Song" which, like other Jones tunes, are simple, hook-filled, optimistic singalongs. The next album, 1985's "Dream Into Action," featured the smash single "No One Is to Blame." Jones' videos, meanwhile, continued to stream with regularity on MTV. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Eric Prydz - Eric Prydz Presents Pryda

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Pryda

Eric Prydz is a Swedish DJ - his new one is "Eric Prydz Presents Pryda" and it's on techno-friendly Astralwerks. One of my old girlfriends used to call this stuff "ant music," but it reminds me of middle school science class when we were studying the heart and circulation and all the blood cells were whizzing through the capillaries like bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 during rush hour, except they were moving at a brisk pace. The songs are fairly interchangeable - but this happens when your friends are machines but "SW4" (probably not a Terminator) rocks most memorably. EP would certainly have one of the tent venues at Coachella getting all jumpy in short order but I have a recurring question about these DJs. You usually only see the top half of them as they're surrounded by tons of gear - how do we know that's all not just stage props and they're just pressing "Play"?


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Emeli Sande - Our Version of Events

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Our Version of Events

Emeli Sande's new one is an example of truth in advertising, "Our Version of Events" and it's on Capitol. I must admit that every car from the last 20 years looks the same to me and similarly, all these disco divas? Is there really any difference? OK, quick now - what's the difference between Madonna, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Taylor Dayne? They all have the same plug-in drummer and the same voice. Here's another one - she'll probably make zillions and buy her own mall...


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Ane Brun - It All Starts With One

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It All Starts With One

The very prolific Norwegian Ane Brun has a new release, "It All Starts With One" and it's on (PIAS) American. This one is from late last year and is the eighth album for the high brow singer/songwriter who now lives in Stockholm. It's pretty much just Brun's voice with sparse accompaniment - she's toured with a string section in the past. No barrel of laughs - much like Fiona Apple or Tori Amos - Brun could provide the soundtrack to a black and white British film on TCM with the volume turned down. Once again, gotta love that cover...



Rock 'n' Roll Call: Gossip - A Joyful Noise

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A Joyful Noise

Album #5 from Gossip is "A Joyful Noise" and it's on Columbia. It's indie rock or techno pop - whatever - it's the vocals of front gal Beth Ditto that makes this trio go. She's a powerhouse and they may have cemented their place in rock history as well as the real world of work with their catchy and insistent, "Get A Job;" a tune that would be perfect, recycled endlessly as you're on hold for 17 hours trying to talk to a real person (who doesn't speak English, anyway) when you call the unemployment office. Too many of the others are interchangeable and forgettable disco tunes, but Ditto definitely has a cool voice; oh, and love the album cover.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Dirty Guv'nahs - Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies

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Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies

There's more Southern Rock from the Dirty Guv'nahs - the album is "Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies" and it's on Dualtone. This is an advance from this Knoxville six-piece due out in August. Twangy and raucous - almost making you drink beer - as the band covers the usual suspect: women, whiskey and why me? On a scale of 1-to-10, I would imagination it would be an "8" as to the possibility of drunks shouting to hear "'Free Bird" as the set progresses and their sobriety fades. These guys are a bunch of pros who know what they're doing and frontman James Trimble has that perfect gruff and groovy rock voice. Anthems like "Temptation" will make you a fan of this seamlessly crafted corporate country rock.


TimeOut: Cory Branan brings his story songs to Ventura on July 6

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Embarking on a simulated pre-honeymoon but also a singing vacation/job, singer-songwriter Cory Branan will make his debut at Zoey's in Ventura Friday as he tries to sell a few copies of his third and latest album, "Mutt." If that show is too convenient, Branan will be at The Mint in L.A. Saturday night. Rather than wandering semi-aimlessly like usual, on this road trip Branan is bringing his significant other, his fiancee, who will add companionship and perhaps driving advice.

Branan, a master of the story song, has been favorably compared to Ryan Adams, Chris Carrabba and Chuck Ragan. Once upon a time from Mississippi -- the state that gave us Elvis and John Lee Hooker -- Branan is now holding his own with the varsity of American songwriters in Nashville. He's one of the few who can have long hair at work without repercussions. Read more »

TimeOut: Unleashing the blues

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Tommy Marsh to help kick off new blues series in Moorpark


The Santa Barbara Blues Society, founded in 1977, is the oldest in the country. The Ventura County Blues Society, meanwhile, is one of the newest such organizations. Gotta start somewhere. The Ventura group holds a weekly blues jam at The Tavern down on Santa Clara Street at a very cool Victorian mansion evidently not yet a law office. Expanding its horizons, the VCBS is heading east for a gig in Moorpark on Sunday starring blues guitarist Chris Cain, with Tommy Marsh and Bad Dog opening along with Kelly's Lot, a blues outfit from down south. It's all happening at the historic old theater on High Street, once upon a time the main drag.

The words "music" and "Moorpark" rarely occur in the same sentence, so perhaps this Sunday event is the start of something big -- Cain is an internationally known bluesman with a double-digit output of albums. The Sunday Blues Matinee Concert Series resumes in August at the same venue with Jimmy Thackery. Read more »

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Delta Rae - Carry The Fire

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Carry The Fire

The full length debut from Delta Rae is "Carry The Fire" and it's on Sire Records. It's folk rock out of North Carolina, the Tar Heel State, with three siblings with too many consonants in their surname, Holljes, but the important thing is they have two knockout female singers, Brittany H. and Liz Hopkins, not to mention the third voice, Eric H., is equally capable. There's some memorable Miss Take music on "If I Loved You" that could make Rhett Miller sigh and "Bottom of the River" is a kick-ass lady sings the blues tune that will make you a fan. One of the year's best, this one would make for one perfect show if Delta Rae played with the Avett Brothers.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Michael On Fire - Cadillac Ranch

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Cadillac Ranch

The prolific Michael On Fire has a new EP of rousing anthems called "Cadillac Ranch." He should know about the vehicular vernacular - he's from Detroit. MoF is also a master of the sing-along, stomp along slice of social commentary - think Michael Moore with an acoustic guitar. Sadly underappreciated after decades of great music, relentless touring and countless albums - this is a four song EP from a man who is never gonna have a day job. Good - because he excels at his night job. MoF is as good as Paul Thorn, Todd Snider and any of those other singer/songwriters with more money, but less hair. Old school locals will remember MoF from the Charlie's days and all those drunken Monday nights with Drew the Bartender. The title tune will make you a fan if you're not already - and when's the last time you heard a lyrical reference to a melaleuca tree? I hate them - no flowers - but MoF? Hey, he's on fire...and coming to SOhO in 11 July.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Spring Standards - Yellow/Gold

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Yellow/Gold

The latest from the Spring Standards is "Yellow/Gold" and it's on Parachute Shooter Records. It's a folk rock trio that is touring with Rhett Miller, so let me say "Crap!" to that as they were just in Hell-A on 18 June - missed 'em before I heard 'em, so, oh well. It's sort of like Simon & Garfunkel with an added female voice - or not, but close enough for our purposes and you'll love Heather Robb's voice and the two guys named James make for some soaring three-part harmonies that are way cool as it's obvious you can't hide anyone in a trio. No "Homeward Bound" big smash but nothing close to a bad cut - solid throughout as these multi-instrumentalists are just cruising and taking our ears to places they'll like such as with "Only Skin" and "So Simple So True."


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:

Bass Drum of Death

OK, tonight - Friday night, they're pretty cool, especially if you're having garage band withdrawals - it's raucous redneck rock all the way from the dumbest state in these here United Snakes, that would be Mississippi and the band is the Bass Drum of Death. I bought a shirt last time I saw them. This time, they'll be at the Echo in Hell-A and not Santa Barbara. World class guitar player Albert Lee will be at McCabe's in Santa Monica and Urban Dread, the most popular band in the Conejo Valley, will play some reggae at Padri's Martini Bar in Agoura. And up here in the 805 where we like it or until the Chamber of Concrete-controlled city councils pave everything, guitar goddess Teresa Russell will do her thing at the Savory Cafe in Ventura, while a few blocks away at Zoey's, it's Bloodshot Recording artist Cory Branan, trying to sell a few copies of his latest, "Mutt." The blues gig this week at Yolie's will be the Hi-Lo Playboys. And finally on a Friday up Hwy. 33 to Ojai, it's rockin' blues with those Preachers at the Jester.

On Saturday, one more time in Hell-A, it's the entertaining Mates of State at the Echo and the Mighty Cash Cats will play some Johnny Cash songs at the Lab Brewing Company in

Mouse Grey

Agoura, and up here in the 805 where we still love it, it's Steve White & the Barstool Pigeons doing some bluesy rock at Blackbeard's BBQ down in the Ventura Harbor. Mouse Grey will play some original rock down at the Pangea on Thompson and over at the Bombay Bar & Grill, it's their annual Beach Party going from Thursday through Sunday - especially Saturday when all your favorite local bands will play such as Kyle Hunt, Rubberneck Lions, Zachary James, Bloody Mary Morning and many more. Los Fabulocos will be at Yolie's also on Saturday and one more - Tina Sicre and Orlando Napier will be at SOhO in S.B.



On Sunday, you don't hear this often - Moorpark and music - but there's a cool blues gig at the old theatre on High Street - the main drag before Moorpark got too big - anyway, it's Chris Cain, Tommy Marsh & Bad Dog with Kelly's Lot opening - hope it goes off. One more time for Mouse Grey - they'll be at the Sans Souci in Ventura and all those Shoemaker Brothers will be at the Bombay.

Shoemaker Brothers

On Monday, it's a great Southern Rock-style party rock band - that would be Lucero at the Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara.

Skip one until Wednesday when 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 Howlin' Woods will be at the Green Art People gig on the Ventura Avenue; and I was only off by a month, but Tangerine Dream will definitely be at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara while a block or so away, he's as good as any of them and he's never gonna get a day job - that would be Michael On Fire at SOhO and finally, it's the latest Santa Barbara Blues Society gig with the Lionel Young Band at the Butler Events Center.

And finally, on Thursday, there's a good one in Hell-A at the Mayan - the Bouncing Souls and the Menzingers, while up here in the 805 where we will always love it - the Story So Far will be at Rock City Studios, probably for a smaller crowd than at the Warped Tour in Ventura recently. And finally for this week, it's Jonathan McEuen doing something cool at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View. OK, that's that - for now...

A list of venues can be found here »

Review: Fashionably late to see Fitz And The Tantrums

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Fitz And The Tantrums

Fashionably late at the Santa Barbara County Bowl is good for a Red Forman Moment of Dumbass. On Saturday as it always does and as advertised, the show started on time with a German Army of Capricorns precision. When Fitz kicked off his opening set at exactly six-and-a-half o'clock, I was still sweating, walking the several uphill blocks to the tree-lined venue. Right away as I finally settled into my seat, several things were different than the band I wrote about in last Friday's Time Out on 29 June.

So much for the snappy dresser - I outdressed or at least matched Fitz by wearing a Ziggens t-shirt - he wore Levi's and a dress shirt not tucked in. He was as skinny as six o'clock and had a competition stripe on his dome - the Pepe Le Pew look maybe or way back to Marshal Troop on "Lawman," which yet lives on the Western Channel. And the horn section was a bit smaller than anticipated - it was one guy - James King - with a sax two thirds his size.

More than holding her own on the Sartorial Splendor Scale was Fitz's alter ego, front gal Noelle Scaggs with a spray on red dress who danced around and teased the crowd as if she'd done this sort of thing before. Meanwhile, Fitz said all the right stuff - not only did he plug the band's new one, due out on October, but he evoked the obligatory cheer for the headliner, Ben Harper. Evidently not there to work on his badly needed tan and with the complexion of Bill or Eric from "True Blood," Fitz noted, "Thank God that sun went down."

Most obedient were all those standing in front - the lawn seats are way gone, replaced by concrete and standing. They clapped when told to and sang along on cue if not on key. And so it goes at the rock show. Fitz and the Tantrums are a mildly entertaining soul band - they're into it but like most bands, could use better songs. Their rendition of "Rich Girls" (of which there were plenty at this one) was solid but their best song was a cover, "Sweet Dreams" from the Eurythmics long ago.

They could've actually started late as what followed was the traditional free BMW - Basic Monotonous Wait - but not to me, I brought a book. Wherever you go - always bring a book. Do you have a strange sense that maybe something isn't quite right with our democracy? Densely written but a non stop shocker using unassailable logic, Henry Giroux tells us what's really going on and how bad things really are in "Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism." The chapters are short and mindbending - I was able to read two in between salivating at the ubiquitous trophy wives and those in training or still on the market.

Grammy Award winner Ben Harper arrived in due time to a hearty cheer by the now half liquored crowd. Harper came out low budget - just him sitting plucking this lap slide guitar like thing called a weissenborn and a violin player, Jesse Green maybe. It was a slo mo and mellow instrumental and the chattering Santa Barbarians were much louder, having evidently, spent a lot of money to hang out and chat. On the next one, Harper added his high quivering voice and at the onset of the third song, the full band joined him on stage. I listened to about half of his set of mellow tunes and then headed for Mac's for all the beans, rice and green chile burritos I could afford - the real reason to ever go to Santa Barbara.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Husky - Forever So

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Forever So

OK, dog lovers - Husky has a new one, "Forever So" and it's on Sub Pop. And - wow - who knew? Husky is not a furry canine but rather the best thing to come out of Ethiopia since Haile Selassie and let's not forget, the first people or back before time or anybody was late. Husky plays baroque folk rock with earnest (and pretty cool) vocals by Gawenda, who sings in better English than we speak. The opener, "Tidal Wave" will make you a fan with its slo mo hooks that will live in your head - and unfortunately the Asian tsunami was a sad example of the shock doctrine as the fishermen lost their beachfront property where they had been kicking it (and fishing) for centuries, allowing carpetbagger developers to steal their land in order to build hotels so tourism can devour another local quality of life. Slow and solid with swell vocals should make these guys indie heroes.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Avan Lava

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Avan Lava is an up and coming - maybe already there - it's a bouncy techno pop dance band out of Brooklyn with tunes so sweet and frivolous, your ears may get cavities. Fully as dangerous as whistling in the backyard - this is a band that would have one of those tents at Coachella getting all jumpy. If you're under 30, floating on ecstasy, with a Stella in one hand and checking out the talent in the local meat market and Avan Lava is playing, well, you might be in temporary heaven. I'll be down the street, slurping a Bass Ale watching Wussy.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: Teenage Bottlerocket

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Freak Out

Wyoming? Home of the most evil living man, DICK Cheney, but now there's finally something cool out of the Rectangle State - that would be smart guy punk rock from Teenage Bottlerocket. Their latest is "Freak Out!" (no relation to the ancient Mothers of Invention debut) and it's on Fat Wreck Chords. Chainsaw guitars meet snarky and often hilarious lyrics - how else could anyone so ably describe dead guys and comic book geeks on "Necrocomicon"? These guys compare favorably with the "Don't Back Down" era Queers and thus, my new favorite band this week.

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.
Click here for an archive of all past entries »