December 2012 Archives

Heating up on a "dead mouse" sequence

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Chicago-based Singer/songwriter Anne Heaton's fourth and latest is called "Honeycomb" and it's on her own Still Records. Either bubbly or sad - those are the choices here - in any case, Heaton has a swell voice and coffeehouse ladies all in black with be rapt in jaw dropping reverence and "Watch You Win" is not a lottery dream but a lady digging on her dude. Heaton would certainly be worth checking out live as she and her night job seem to be joined for the long haul.

Kinky galaxy

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Texas wildman Kinky Friedman's latest is "Kinky Friedman's Bi-Polar Tour: Live From Woodstock" and it's on Avenue A Records. Friedman, the most famous Jew from Texas - and certainly the funniest was all the way live at Zoey's a few weeks back as he did most of the songs off this one. Wise-guy wise, he's like Mojo Nixon from Texas with a hat and a cigar. "Waitret, Please Waitret" is some redneck can't-take-'em-anywhere scenario about some place you're glad you're not at and "Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns In the Bed," was good enough to incite an attack by militant lesbians once upon a time in Buffalo and also landed Friedman the Male Chauvinist Pig Award in 1983. He also righteously caps on one of the most unnecessary and hated sub culture of skimmers, the insurance industry, on "Nashville Casualty & Life," and he saves the best for last just as he did live with the hard to argue with, "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore." Friedman is running for governor of Texas next time - he might win and would certainly be an improvement over Governor Jesus McBangBang to use Bill Maher's apt description of Governor Rick Perry.

Lonesome Dreams need to be listened to

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My kid turned me on to my new favorite band - Lord Huron - their debut album is "Lonesome Dreams" and it's on IAMSOUND Records. If you dig the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, the Head & The Heart and other smart folk rockers, then these El Aliens may be your new favorite band as well. Stellar strumming, heavenly harmonies - it's so old, it's new, but it's also so well done, you'll be a fan by the halfway point of the first song, "Ends of the Earth." There's also a delightful denial to the end of the world - "The Man Who Lives Forever;" the title tune is a keeper as is "The Ghost On The Shore." This a Top 10 album for 2012. As good as it's going to get for us for the time being: Lord Huron at the Museum of Natural History on 4 January in Hell-A.

Lot's to do if you're into seeing red

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Wassup 805? Bill Locey here, neither in Studio 805 nor in Camarillo, but still gainfully employed by the Ventura County Star, at least for the next hour or two, kicking it at my house, multi-tasking, writing about rock 'n' roll, watching "Sixteen Candles" on HBO and then "Battleground" on TCM, both 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's I'll be lurking in the back this week:

OK, tonight, providing the Mayans weren't so good at math after all - Friday, down in Hell-A, it's Xmas with X at the Fonda in Hollyweird - how appropriate is that? There's old school punk rock with the Vandals and the Gears at the House of Try to Find a Place to Park and for those with a nicer wardrobe, check out Ventura's finest, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, also in Los Angeles. Singer/songwriter Judy Collins will be at the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge - check out "Jewel-Eyed Judy" by Fleetwood Mac off their "Kiln House" album or back when they were good. Up here in the 805 where we love it, check out some original rock from We Govern We at the Sans Souci across from the Ventura Theatre, still damp from all those panting cowgirls who turned out in force to drool over Dwight Yoakam last weekend. Through the alley to California and the Bombay Bar & Grill, it's Buena High School rock a few years removed with Bloody Mary Morning and the Corsican Brothers will play some pop rock at Pierano's, once upon a time, a market across the street from Father Serra's 230-year-old ancestral abode, still elaborate in its simplicity, the San Buenaventura Mission - in place since 1782. Down the wino stroll to Santa Clara Street - or Promenade, maybe - to Zoey's, it's B. Willing James & Friends having some fun and punk rock legends, Youth Brigade - still closer to youth than the Beach Boys are to boyhood - they'll be screening a movie, "Let Them Know" at the same place. Up the coast to Santa Barbara, it's charged up bluegrass with my favorite band, Old Man Markley.

On Saturday, it's the Brian Setzer Orchestra at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City where it hurts to pay to park but sometimes you gotta suffer for art. While up here in the 805 where we like it, there's old-school punk rock - since the '70s even - with Youth Brigade, playing loud and fast at Billy O's in Ventura. Since a brigade consists of four regiments, this brigade is severely under strength but they'll more than make up for it with decibels. And at the Bombay Bar and Grill, local party band of vast experience and serious sloth, Raging Arb & the Red Heads is playing for Mary Kay's birthday. Her band, La Vonnettes is also playing as is her brother's band, Fish Fry. Raging Arb is approaching their 30-year anniversary, and you can't claim to be a local until you survive a Redhead gig, not so frantic anymore but they should still play at least once a month because they can. While down at Zoey's, it's Brother Sal sending out some good vibes while up Hwy. 33 to Ojai it's Love and Rockets legend Daniel Ash doing something cool at the Hub on the main drag. And finally on a Saturday, up in Santa Barbara, it's Tommy and the High Pilots at the Lobero Theatre where the sound is always perfect.

On Sunday, Teresa Russell will be at the Hollywood Beach Wine Bar along with her mom, Pat, while 50 Sticks of Dynamite will be up all those stairs at the Watermark and Los Dudes will do something fun at Amigo's while a few blocks north, Frank Barajas will be at Tutti's and Julie Christiansen will be at Zoey's and finally on a Sunday, the Ventucky String Band will be at the Ojai Library.

Skip a few until Thursday when the Rev. Horton Heat and Jell-O Biafra will be outrageous at the Fonda in Hollywood and up here in the 805 where we always like it, all those Shoemaker brothers will be at the Tavern in Ventura. OK, choose wisely.

Bare hits the "wahoo" note just right

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By Bill Locey
Legendary country heavyweight Bobby Bare has a new/old one, "Darker Than Light" and it's the debut of a new label, Plowboy Records. He applies his world weary twang to a bunch of classic songs made slower such "House of the Rising Sun" and "Boll Weevil." To tell the truth, I thought this was the kid, Bare Jr., a hilariously funny rockin' redneck of Americana fame, but the dad has been around since the sundowns was in black & white and knows what's what for those whose world view is slightly to the right of "wahoo."

Merging fits into mould

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That once upon a time Husker dude, Bob Mould has a new one, "Silver Age," just out on Merge Records. I'm reading a new book "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story" about the Silver Age of Marvel Comics from 1961 to the present, making me sad because I used to have 73 boxes of these comics and now all I've got is memories only the owners of the Dodgers could afford to replace. This Silver Age Mould is not so much unlike his Golden Age with Husker Du, Sugar and now, as his own man. It's propulsive guitar songs in over drive with Mould's urgent vocals. Every song is real good - a flawless performance.

Rounder round-up, Edwards & McPherson

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Just getting around to Kathleen Edwards' latest - and I'm having hippie concert poster flashbacks - I can't even read the album title, so had to go to Wikipedia (who never lie and are always right) to decipher the handwriting only to find it's "Voyageur," whatever that means. Edwards is still on Rounder. Loved her earlier stuff and couldn't wait for this one - her fourth, but it took some getting used to. Pretty much didn't like this one at first, but Edwards can still sing and she does so on a bunch of sad girl songs, dangerously close to the dreaded we-have-to-talk moment. On "Mint" she reminds me of Kathleen Wilhoite (who is better than everybody) even though Edwards is the established rock star here. "Pink Champagne" will have the ladies crying extra about mistakes made in the form of that big lunk snoring on the couch who knows when his team is on but not how you feel.

Grizzly bears could do better

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The new one by Grizzly Bear is "Shields" and it's on Warp Records and it's one of the worst albums of the year. Imagine four people from four different bands wearing headphones, practicing away on four different songs.

This one is so completely dysfunctional, so totally lacking in any sort of musicality or hooks and the vocals are just flat weird on songs that really suck. Remember the Grizzly Man who was gonna kick it with the grizzlies in Alaska and it was all growly feelie right up until they ate him? If he had been playing this stuff on his WalkMan, they would've munched him in half the time.

Pickin' some sweet water

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Harlis Sweetwater - now, that's a great rock 'n' roll name - remember him? He used to come up here to the 805 and make us get drunk while be played sweaty, bluesy rock with his band, Barrelhouse. This one is "Lights Goin' Down" and it's as good as anything Sweetwater has done in the past - and he's been plenty good and also one of the few people behind the Orange Curtain to have contracted a case of the blues. Kicking it off with a Willie Dixon tune ("Backdoor Man") is always a smart move but "I Just Wanna Be Your Lover," the blueprint for a horndog's holiday and "Like A Woman Should" are not just great blues tunes but also feature incendiary guitars from Sweetwater and Ray Booth. The title tune rocks, too, on the hardest rockin' blues album since Dave Hole. You may need asbestos ear muffs for this one.

The new Black Twig Pickers' album is "Rough Carpenters" and it's an advance from Thrill Jockey. It's old timey music from Appalachia with enough sad fiddles to be the soundtrack from a Ken Burns documentary or for the hillbillies forget for a moment what the coal companies have done to them and their state. If the survivors of the Hatfields and the McCoys had a truce and a held dance - this could be the soundtrack. This is an advance for an album due out in February - their 2012 album was "Whompjawed," gotta love that. If you were to watch one of the weirdest movies of all time, "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia," with the sound off - this would be the perfect soundtrack. brutally heavy instrument with three heads.

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"Metz" by Metz is out now on Sub Pop. I like what it says on the wrong-sized band bio: "Metz play like one brutally heavy instrument with three heads," and that pretty much, is that. It's real loud garage band rock that would knock the walls of the garage down. You won't care much about the lyrics should you try to decipher them - it's all about the beat. This is a Canadian band that makes convincing speeding ticket music on a very visceral level. Your kids will think you're cool but the cat may get all pouty.

Over a cardboard sea, Whales lie beneath

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The self-titled new one by Poor Moon is on Sub Pop out of Seattle. So even if it's a paper moon sailing over a cardboard sea, this Poor Moon still doesn't get many points. It's coma folk that runs the emotional gamut from A to B with mundane vocals bereft of any hooks whatsoever. Not only is "Holiday," one of the worst song of all time, this one may have a future on the frozen food aisle at Von's as annoying muzak.

Banking on a grey plain

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The brain behind Interpol - the band not the cops w/o borders is Paul Banks - his solo album is "Banks" and it's on mighty, mighty Matador Records. This is a collection of atonal, loopy tunes that don't go anywhere that you'd want to go twice. Banks is like a bad '80s band - think out of focus Gang of Four - but on the other hand, if this dude can get a record deal, why not your crappy little band? Hope springs infernal.

Boys like girls like Carly Rae

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Boys Like Girls have a new one - that would be "Crazy World." Ain't that truth? It's on Columbia Records. It's tone perfect, corporate power pop rock with stellar vocals and harmonies on forgettable songs as created by a bunch of pros, such as frontman and guitar player Martin Johnson. The title tune has "hit" written all over it and "Be Your Everything" should have all the mall mice salivating and the label accountants doing likewise.

The cutest girl in the world, Carly Rae Jepson, has a new one - "Kiss" and it's on Interscope. It's more corporate, disco princess techno pop, pressing all the right buttons of those subsisting swimmingly on daddy's day job. This Canadian heart throb - sort of the female Justin Bieber - is well known to the tweeners, as she should be. She looks 15 even though she just turned 27. Genetics when they're right, are a good thing. "Call Me Maybe" is the first of many hits and at last report, had 300 million hits on YouTube.

Your homework from BJM

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They have one of the great rock 'n' roll band names, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and they have a new one - "Aufhaben" on A. Records. Anton Newcombe is one of the rock 'n' roll originals - check out one of the great music movies ever, "Dig." 

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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