January 2013 Archives

Tamaryn can

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The second album from the Bay Area's Tamaryn is "Tender New Signs" and it's on Mexican Summer and it's vinyl. It's strum and groan shoegazer pop that is probably better live than it is here, which sort of sounds like amateur hour psychedelia - Mopey Grape maybe. These mumbling melodies are as interchangeable as they are long but don't really go anywhere, except to bring to mind visions of nodding longhairs wishing things could be this groovy forever. Wanna hear some great stoner pop? Go back to the Paisley Underground daze and check out "The Days Of Wine And Roses" by the Dream Syndicate.

Got one from Spoon Records, a subsidiary of mighty, mighty Mute Records and it's "The Lost Tapes" by Can. Evidently, these guys were early proponents of krautrock, flipping some switches way back in 1968 in Cologne, Germany. This is a five-song EP of very trippy stuff that your feet will appreciate and otherwise attach itself to your being at the visceral level. It's experimental and minimalist but there's also melodies and hooks and some cool hooks. No one is going to write a term paper on the lyrics if you can understand them in the first place; then again "Abra Cada Braxas" might be one of the worst songs of all time and you probably won't want to hear "Mushroom" again either, so whatever it is they're doing, sometimes, they Can but sometimes, they Can't.

Black and blue vengeance

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Marina and the Diamonds' second release is "Electra Heart" and it's on once potent Elektra Records, now an alias of mighty, mighty Atlantic Records. It starts with a propulsive rocker - like a sugar locomotive, "Bubblegum Bitch." I'm guessing that one is going to be a dedication favorite. Singing to young adults who have angst and puppy love issues, Marina joins the ranks of countless other young female singers who have this whole techno pop, New Wave for the New Millennium, bouncy plastic pop thing figured out, but then you listen to the lyrics. All of them come in pretty packages but most deal with love lousy and the phony baloney nature of everything and "...the wasted years, the wasted youth, the pretty lies, the ugly truth..." Marina is the nihilist filling in a jelly donut. Hope no one comes over and catches me listening to this stuff... 

Green Ruby Sunday

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The second of the titanic trilogy from the prolific Green Day is "Dos" and it's on Warner Brothers. These guys are so good at creating hooked-filled, instantly agreeable pop punk that it doesn't even seem like they're trying. But they are. This one is their tenth album and the imminent "Tre" will be #11. Green Day has been at this since 1987 and has won five Grammys and just keeps getting better. Nothing close to a bad cut, "Wild One" is one of the best ones - catchy lyrics, too: "...She gave up on Jesus/For living on Venus/All dressed up with nowhere to go/I'm drinking the Kool-Aid/I jumped on the grenade/Now that my mind's gonna blow/Hello..." And when they slow things down on "Amy," that one could be a long lost Buddy Holly tune. Green Day's got it - they're keeping it and they're getting better.

Foal some Bad Religion

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Pony Death Ride
The goofball husband and wife duo that is Pony Death Ride has a new one, "Not A Foal...Not Yet A Horse." Jaye and Joe MacAskill are both multi-instrumentalists and somehow keep a straight face on tunes such as "I Think My Boyfriend's Gay For Morrissey," and that stalker serenade, "Watch You Sleep."  Just as "'Killer Klowns From Outer Space" uses every clown joke in the world, the album-ending "Enough Already With The Beatles," is a snarky and snappy punkish "shut up" to the Fab Four, who haven't put out a new one in like, 40+ years. Every song is Dr. Demento ready as here is a duo that clearly enjoys their night job.

Triple Hex leads into Fiasco

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Triple Hex has a new self-titled six-song EP and it's on Mon Amie Records. Frontman Dave Hex seems to be channeling the Cramps and Iggy Pop with his deep voice and those big, scary bluesy beats on politically incorrect but often hilarious songs about inappropriate activity, such as finding panties in the laudromat. "Love Song" is a fitting companion to Fear's and the Rugburns' take on Christmas and Harry Nilsson's song about his broken heart, making this the stuff your parents would disapprove of, which is why you'll love it. Imagine a zombie fronting the Stray Cats.

Knockout by Young Rebel Set, and listening to Girls

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The new/old one by the Young Rebel Set is from 2011 in Scary Olde England but just out here - the album is "Curse Our Love" on Big Flame/Ignition Records. I don't even know who sent this to me - but thanks - these guys rock and are my new favorite band, adding a bit of the Clash, the Bobby Fuller Four, Bruce Springsteen and Del Amitri - it's smart guy BritFolk with an edge. 

I don't even know what year to list this one but these guys deliver a knockout - one of the best albums of whatever year - you'll be inventing new adjectives to describe this and also buying a crowbar to extract this one out of your CD player. "Lion's Mouth" is sort of a rockabilly song and "If I Was" and "Measure of a Man" have so many hooks that they'll live in your head for daze. This is why I do this - to find bands like this.

Take a ride, preferably with Rey to avoid NON

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The latest from the prolific NON is Back To Mono and it's on mighty, mighty Mute Records. NON is the alias of one Boyd Rice who spent too much time with his Erector Set when he was a kid as this is not even music - it's mechanical sounds, like factory sounds - hums, whirrs and screeches. I doubt if even R2D2, a teenage Transformer or the most bubbly of the Borg would mosh to this mess. If this stuff appeals to you - get a job in the ball bearing factory - you will have discovered heaven on earth and earn a paycheck as well. NON as in non-musical is not even close.

Worth getting struck by

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Corb Lund has "Cabin Fever." If you do, too - then you have his latest album on New West Records. Lund is a Canadian cowboy who fronted a band called the Smalls but has been leading his own alt country band for more than a decade. Twangy, tight and pretty much terrific, Lund makes it clear that he knows how to write a gritty country rock song. Probably not a good first date selection, but "Dig Gravedigger Dig" shows more than passing expertise on a subject no one wants to talk about. "Bible On The Dash" probably won't be a hit in the Bible Belt although it should be as those people owe the rest of America plenty for our infinite patience and gentle attempts to expand their horizons beyond their view of the 1950s which never existed anyway. The song about the German motorcycle is the rocker here and Lund is sort of a more serious (but too much) Todd Snider from north of the border. And you won't care if "The Gothest Girl I Can" ever gets a tan. Lund's fever is definitely worth catching. 

Nothing less than the dB's

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The db's are back - didja miss 'em? Their first new one in a long time is "Falling Off The Sky," and still on Bar None Records. It's the same four guys that recorded the band's debut back in 1978 - yeah, 1978 when Jimmy Carter was president. They still have swell vocals going on. There's five or six meandering and mellow pop songs including the lead-off cut, "That Time Is Gone" that get better with repeated listenings. And "World To Cry" as in "you think you're the one that taught the world to cry"  makes it clear that the subject of the song flunked history. Although solid throughout, the reality did not meet the expectations as one would've hoped that the db's could've come up with some better songs during their long hiatus.

Aerosmith, Cold Specks, Phillips, Snuff and more

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The debut album from "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips is "The World From The Side Of The Moon" and it's on Interscope. Let me put this into Dodger Talk: Phillips is like Jose Offerman and Adrian Gonzalez - both hit it a homerun in their first at bat as a Dodger, just as Phillips has knocked it out of the ballpark in his first try. Talk about radio ready, every song is supremely crafted, there's tons of memorable hooks and completely awesome rock star quality vocals from Phillips. He writes most of his own material, so he's gonna be around for a long time. It would be a waste of space to list all the songs on the album - every song is instantly agreeable and seems to be a hit. And I didn't have to watch the show. I can watch something good like "True Blood" or "Mad Men" which should've been on HBO.

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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