This one has been out since last September "Treatment Bound: A Ukelele Tribute To The Replacements" by Bright-Little-Field on Bar/None is definitely worth a listen, or ten. So how good were the Replacements? Well, their songs never sounded better being played with just ukes and various percussion items - no guitars, no bass, no keyboards, no problem. All these songs would also work as reggae songs, punk songs, folk songs and so on. "Swinging Party" is my new favorite song this week.
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The fourth release from Savoir Adore is "Our Nature" and it's been out for about a month on Nettwerk Productions. Traveling light, this is a "fantasy pop" duo out of NYC - Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro and their friends, a bunch of machines. It's all interchangeably wimpy and weak but it might cause the listener to fixate on '80s BritPop videos, spend an inordinate time in front of the mirror trying to will yourself cute and fight the urge to go to the mall and buy hip threads you neither can afford nor need. Take a couple of hits of Kajagoogoo and the Human League and then, wake up to Yacht - and you'll be fine.
The debut from Houndmouth is a keeper - that would be "From The Hills Below The City" and it's on Rough Trade Records. Unlike most hound mouths that smell bad and are dripping slobber, this one is worth it alone for the country rock anthem, "Penitentiary," an ode to those that are serious about being stupid and screwing up and have demonstrated sufficient consistency to allow their great state to pay their rent for their vacation with a bunch of like-minded men.
Once upon a time a folk rock duo consisting of Katie Toupin and Matt Myers, but now expanded to a quartet, Houndmouth is a ragged and righteous Indiana country rock party band, now and again fixated on the love stinks affairs of the broken heart in the same vein as the Bottle Rockets, Water Liars, Shovels and Rope and others palatable to the rockers. This is quite possibly a Top Ten finisher for 2013.
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 the Dodgers and Yasiel Puig do his thing as the Dodgers are still in last but are showing signs of upward mobility.
Remember spring training when the Dodgers had too much pitching? How'd that work out? Can Puig pitch? The Dodgers finally wised up and cut Matt Guerrier, who was basically a batting practice pitcher for the other side - now just dump Brandon League and Ted Lilly and the Dodgers will be fine. Since I've been such a dedicated Dodger fan for so long, I wonder if Puig would loan me some dough so I could buy his cards?
The Bowman auto redemption card is around a grand - yeah, for one and the upcoming Bowman Inception series is gonna feature about a dozen Puig auto cards in varying degrees of scarcity - it would cost about 15 grand to buy them all. Wow. I mean, ouch. Meanwhile, I'm typing away 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.
Anyway, 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:
"Night Singer" is the second album from "Eric & Magill" and it's on Perfect From Now On records and it's an advance due out 23 July.
Their real names are actually Eric Osterman and Ryan Weber (why ask why?) and it's shoegazer techno pop that could be 2 a.m. getting lucky music or else inspirational to punks checking the Yellow Pages under RPG.
Each guy has been in a bunch of bands in a number of places - Weber did his fair share recording while a member of the Peace Corps from Kenya, trying to undo the ill will from rampaging corporate America.
If you close your eyes, you could imagine two impeccably dressed gents surrounded by ladies who could not be improved upon even in Hugh Hefner's dreams or MTV in 1986 and that's just the second song, "Baggage And Clothes."
Already more popular than any shah of the Pahlavi dynasty that had Iran on the road to ruin before the CIA and the ayatollahs completed the job, is Nadine Shah - and gotta appreciate the title of her debut album, "Love Your Dum And Mad," due out the third week of July on P&C Apollo Records.
Sad, surly and semi-strident music and vocals somehow add up to a compelling mix of freak rock - a live show Dexter might choose for date night as he tries to get Lizzy Borden drunk.
Shah has a Pakistani dad and a Norwegian mom - proof positive that everyone is making out with everyone else, so in a hundred or so years (if we don't kill the planet first) we'll all look the same and racism will just be a quaint idiocy from the bad ol' daze.
The poster gal for European artiste, Shah was raised in England, stoked extra by Julie London and Billie Holiday, as she moans and groans on tunes such as "Dreary Town," "The Devil" and "Used To It All." Getting the picture? Shah is no barrel of laughs - and doesn't intend to be on these haunting hymns to the hopeless.
Next up is a 5-song EP from The 1975 and it's "IV" and this one is on Vagrant Records. The 1975 is an ascendant and solid BritPop band out of Manchester, while back in 1975, the Sex Pistols and the Talking Heads first played and everyone was still mad at President Ford for pardoning the Nix even as the war in Vietnam was finally over, except in Hollywood.
When your MTV rock star dreams finally inspire you to that "Hey - let's start a band!" moment, having a capable frontman like Matthew Healy is always a good first step. The single "Sex" is another good move - the repetitive, but mighty convincing chorus, "...they all got boyfriends anyway," definitely is true most of the time - but not always.
Pure power pop, lushly produced and smartly done is always a good thing despite the calendar and Republicans longing for 1955, or is it 1855?
First up is the new one perfectly suited to the vast fan base of "True Blood," which of course, would be Vampire Weekend whose latest is "Modern Vampires of the City" and it's on XL Recordings.
Ivy League rockers out of Columbia, this is their third album, offering further proof that these guys are going to be around for a while - it always helps to have a world class frontman like Ezra Koenig who can probably outsing Walter (and almost everybody else).
Once upon a time, this used to be called art rock - smart and savvy and baroque, coming atcha from all angles. "Diane Young" is one of the first singles and changes gears more times that a driver training class. Talented guys showing off always makes for a good time but might only rate a wide-eyed shrug in Bonton but they're just a bunch of rednecks with night sweats.
The new one from Five Knives is "The Rising," just out on Red Bull and commiserate with the label name, expect zero soulful ballads on this five-song EP as the Red Bull stomps and snorts his way through the china shop - you.
It's raggedy but energetic EDM music with gang vocals when it's not Anna Worstell going it alone or as they see it - "M.I.A. meets NIN. Also, there's a math issue here - there's only four of them and a geography issue as well. Never heard a Nashville band like one - wahoo not even - what's next, hick hop? They have their moments, some of which will be on display at 2013 Warped.
Moon Hooch has a new one, it's self-titled and it's on Hornblow, which is apt description of what's in store.
This one could be the soundtrack for a college fraternity prank during which the victim is blind folded in a dark room full of ducks and keeps stepping on them, no fun for our fine feathered friends.
Moon Hooch offers a bunch of sax-crazed instrumentals which would also fit right in as the background music in some smoky jazz club in a 60-year-old film noir black and white B-movie.
It becomes quickly repetitious and tedious, unlike Daffy and Donald.
Rise Against has a new one - that would be "Revolutions Per Minutes," just out on Fat Wreck Chords. The album cover is probably a sign - headphones and a hand grenade - as Rise Against is yet another of those bands that somehow believes that screaming somehow equals singing. No, it does not. Screaming is what angry, drunk people do at the trailer park on Saturday night after they drink their weight in bad beer. If Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Elvis were screamers instead of singers, there would be no rock 'n' roll, just trailer park uber alles with only the occasional tornado interlude. With that said, Rise Against plays so-so music in the pop punk vein - 12 tracks plus 10 more bonus tracks. One of these days frontman Tim McIlrath's vein-popping, blast furnace vocals will come to a messy and eye brow-raising conclusion when his neck explodes. Ick. Then again, despite the din, the band does know what's really going on as exemplified by "Blood-Red, White & Blue," a sharp jab at our heartless oligarchy, but since they're screaming, you need to read the liner notes to know this, and if you going to read, then check out "Dirty Wars" by Jeremy Scahill.
Biffy Clyro has a new one, "Opposites" on Warner Brothers. It's the sixth album from this alternative rock trio out of Scotland. Big beats, big ideas, big hooks - big deal? Sure is - these guys know what they're doing. A double bill with Snow Patrol would be an inspired pairing. The Biffy boys are three pros on top of their game doing their thing - the title tune is a compelling break-up song. I wonder if Biffy knew Buffy? The alliteration ops would be endless. One of the best of 2013.
To any self-respecting cat, the only band more popular than Skinny Puppy would be Dead Puppy. These emaciated doggies have a new one - "Weapon," just out on Metropolis Records. Imagine the Predator slumming with a side project at the Sunday afternoon jam session. These slightly reptilian, slightly menacing growling vocals don't do much for me.
Ron D. is a sax player and the album is "Ron Dziubla's Nasty Habit" and it's on Rip Cat Records. The importance of the sax goes back to the early days of rock 'n' roll and all those great Lee Allen solos, and specifically Gene Barge on "Quarter to Three," whoever it was on "Bust Out" by the Busters" and Mickey Kipler of the Rockin Rebels on "Wild Weekend" or anything by Saxa with the English Beat - all sterling examples of the sax as an able substitute for the guitar. Dziubla obviously is a studly player but how well he is suited to be The Man as opposed to being the sideman is the issue here. These instrumentals that are fine, but as a stand alone rock? Probably not.
Daft Punk has a new one just out on Columbia Records and what a great title which pretty much describes everyone's brain, "Random Access Memories." Daft Punk is two French guys - Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter - and their friends, most of whom are machines, but here augmented by a revolving cast of interchangeable rock stars. "Georgio By Moroder" is nine minutes of explanation and excess as the Man Himself tells us perhaps, more than we need to know. "Within" finds a pleasant enough little techno dance groove but the biggie is a direct order to the pedal digits, "Lose Yourself To Dance," but it's all pretty mellow but the vocals by Pharrell Williams and the Daft dudes are first rate and Nile Rodgers has that funky guitar thing going. "Get Lucky" is the soundtrack to Branch Rickey's sound advice, "Luck is the residue of design." DP's advice? Dance all night. If you've ever been to a club, who's going to get lucky? Right - the guys that dance. No one is going to write a term paper examining the deep meaning of the lyrics - it's so-so dance music with too much mindless mechanical middle-of-the-road noodling.
The debut from Wild Belle is "Isles" and it's on Columbia Records.
Wild Belle is what can happen when siblings actually get along - and here we have Natalie and Elliott Bergman - he's the hippie dude and she's not. This is pretty much, a showcase for the vocals of Natalie who has this original but oddball, nasal tone which is fine, but unfortunately, too many of the songs don't go anywhere.
There's a vague reggae undertone on the first few tunes and "Another Girl" could be the hoped for hit and also a compelling reason why this one could've been a solid EP.
"Here's Willy Moon" is the debut from Willy Moon and it's also on mighty, mighty Interscope.
First of all, the True Blue will remember Wally Moon, a Dodger from the Coliseum daze when his famous inside out swing resulted in his famous "Moon Shots" over the left field screen - at one point in 1959, Moon had 10 homers when the next nearest guy had two.
That was, of course, way before Willy, this retro futurist, was even born. The new Moon seems to be channeling Frank Sinatra, Chris Isaak and Harry Connick but he makes these tunes his own and his reverential covers of the Blasters"'Shakin"' and "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins"'I Put A Spell On You," are both outstanding. This is becoming an unfortunate and recurring theme - I just got the CD and figured out who Moon is - a few days after he played in Santa Barbara.
Next time - and there will be a next time as this Moon will be hanging around for the foreseeable future.
The latest from Frank Turner is "Tape Deck Heart" and it's on mighty, mighty Interscope. Live wire English folkie with some punk power in there, Turner is a rapid fire motor mouth mindbender - clearly a Type A personality whose brain is way ahead of his mouth. "Recovery" is the album kick-off and it'll make you a fan right off, as he combines the emotion of Rhett Miller, the energy of Hammel On Trial and the subtlety of a cannonball - all of which will probably have you scrambling to check out Turner's prior four albums. He drops the f-bomb now and again but not with impunity but surgically and for effect, especially on "Good And Gone," as he just can't seem to get Miss Take out of his neurons at the most inopportune moments. "God dammit Amy..." is the attention-getting intro to "Tell Tale Signs." Just insert the name of he/she who makes you miserable. Frank has the talent to the level that Ted has the dough.
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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