Category: rock

New Video: Introducing the Psychedelic-Inspired Sounds and Visuals of OOLALA’s “Falling Out of the Universe”

Although they’ve dubbed themselves a space rock trio, the Philadelphia, PA-based rock act OOLALA’s Tim Sonnefeld-produced and Fred Kevorkian-mastered debut album The New RockRoll Cosmology reportedly draws from psychedelic jazz, stadium rock, glam rock and heavy soul while thematically focusing on both universal and deeply personal themes. “Falling Out of the Universe,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be-released debut was released earlier this year to praise from Philebrity, Philadelphia’s longest-running city blog and others for a scuzzy and bombastic, scorching, riff-driven song that sounds as though it were influenced by T. Rex and The Black Keys but with a sleazy, backroom shuffle.

The recently released music video for the song features the members of the Philadelphia, PA-based trio performing the song in front of weird color lights and special effects to evoke the sensation of UFOs and psychedelics — and of time’s relativistic nature; but with a mischievous sense of humor.

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Live Footage: See Roger Waters Savage Donald Trump During a Live Performance of “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”

Interestingly enough, Roger Waters posted the live official video of a performance of “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” recorded when Donald Trump was the Republican presidential nominee and while Waters was in Mexico City for a series of gigs playing his classic and beloved material — and it’s an incendiary performance with artist-made images of Trump toting a machine gun outside the White House, giving the Nazi salute and surrounding himself with Ku Klux Klan members. And the performance ended with Waters co-opting the phrase that went viral among Mexicans and other Latinos across the world “Trump Eres Un Pendejo,” which translates to “Trump, you’re an asshole.” It’s a witheringly savage takedown of someone, who needs to be taken down as much as humanly possible and as often as possible.

With the election of Richard Nixon, the hippie era had come to a screeching halt; however, just as the hippie era ended in the States, young people across what was then known as the white minority ruled Rhodesia — now known as Zimbabwe — had created a rock ‘n’ roll counterculture that drew inspiration from the hippie era’s message and ideals, as well as the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and others. And unsurprisingly, the young folks in their scene had dubbed their music “heavy” because they felt and believed in its impact — and their music began to resonate across to its neighbor in Zambia and as far North as Nigeria. And at its peak, in the mid-1970s, the country’s heavy rock scene had united thousands of young progressives across all racial and social backgrounds, openly defying the country’s harsh segregation laws and secret police, while making a bold stand for democratic changes that would benefit all.

As I’ve mentioned frequently on this site, including as late as yesterday, the technological advances brought forth by computers and the Internet have made discovering new and extremely rare, lost music from known and little known artists much easier. And it’s also contributed to a proliferation of extremely niche-based labels, who are willing to take careful, thoughtful and taste-making risks. As a result, a number of these labels have spent at least a portion of their time introducing and re-introducting artists, whose work was either so far ahead of its time, that audiences at the time just couldn’t grasp it upon its initial release — and yet, now has proven to fill in a historical gap; or the work of regionally favored artists, whose work should have seen a bigger audience but somehow just never broke out; and in the case of “world music,” releasing work from artists based in regions and countries that Westerners being biased Westerners hadn’t been paying attention to and really should have been. To add to my point, at the time of Zimbabwe’s heavy rock scene’s existence, a quartet by the name Wells Fargo was at the forefront of their homeland’s scene — and for the first time ever will be released the band’s renowned album Watch Out outside of Zimbabwe.

Interestingly, Watch Out‘s first single, album title track “Watch Out” was largely considered their counterculture’s anthem and while clearly drawing from Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland-era Hendrix, there are hints at 60s garage rock and folk-leaning blues and while pointing out the dangers of what was clearly uncertain and fucked up times for them, there’s clear sense of hope and possibility; after all, the storm that’s coming over the horizon will inevitably end. But with some strange days ahead for us here in the States, let the example of these Zimbabweans be a reminder that music and art are weapons — and when you have them on your side, you wield incredible power, the sort of power that wannabe autocratic demagogues like Donald Trump actually do fear. So artists, go out and lead the charge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback: John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”

I also felt compelled to continue yet another semi-annual tradition here — in which I posted John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” with the sincerest hopes that one day there may be peace, equality, understanding and true brotherhood and sisterhood among all. After all war, hatred and strife can be over — if we all want it to be.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a wonderful and peaceful holiday season.

You might recall that earlier this month, I wrote about California-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Elijah Ford. Ford has quite the musical pedigree as his father, Marc Ford is a former member of Black Crowes. Interestingly enough, the younger Ford toured with his father’s band Fuzz Machine when he was 17 and a few years later, Elijah’s own recording career started in earnest when he hooked up with Oscar and Grammy-winning artist Ryan Bingham, with whom Elijah Ford recorded and toured with for several years before going solo with the 2011 release of his full-length debut Upon Walking and its follow up, an EP Ashes in 2012.

As We Were, Ford’s forthcoming full-length effort is slated for a September 16, 2016 and as you might remember, the album’s first single “The Way We Were” liberally draws from bluesy and boozy old school work, while possessing a finely crafted feel, thanks in part to a soaring and anthemic hook and a shimmying and shuffling sound reminiscent of The Black Crowes, Elvis Costello and others. As We Were’s latest single “Black and Red” will further cement Ford’s burgeoning reputation for finely crafted and rousingly anthemic songs that draw from 70s and early 80s rock; however, in this particular instance, “Black and Red” is sonically reminiscent of Damn The Torpedoes-era Tom Petty and the aforementioned Elvis Costello but with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail and how it impacts one’s character and in turn their relationships with others.

Quietly emerging from the breakup of The Black Crowes, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood played 50 shows over the course of nine weeks in California before officially releasing material or doing any extensive touring outside of the state. With the release of two critically applauded albums Big Moon Ritual and The Magic Door in 2012 and a staggering 118 date tour to support both efforts, the members of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood also quickly received a rapidly growing national profile — and in fact, many critics and media outlets considered the band one of the contemporary standard bearers of the old-school blues rock/psych rock sound. Plus, let’s not forget that Robinson is one of the most soulful white boys on the face of the earth.

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s fourth full-length effort, Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel is slated for a July 29, 2016 release through Robinson’s own label, Silver Arrow Records. As the story goes, the members of the band relocated to California for the writing and recording sessions in a studio that was according to the members of the band located on the side of a mountain, overlooking the foggy Pacific Ocean — and naturally, the members of the band were inspired by the environs. Along with the change of scenery, the sessions were not only their first with their newest summer Tony Leone, who has worked with Ollabelle and the legendary Levon Helm, Robinson left as much open-ended as possible. Rather than coming into the studio with a finished collection of songs ad he had in the past, he presented his bandmates with rough sketches of songs — maybe a verse and part of a chorus, a chord progression here and there and allowed his bandmates the opportunity to improvise and let their collective muses push the material towards the direction it needed to go. As Robinson mentions in press notes the recording sessions for the album were “an opportunity to see where our expression could take us. For us, when it comes to making records, the looser it gets the better. It’s all about taking our intuition and following it to where our ideas can really manifest themselves. This turned out to be the most spontaneous record I’ve ever been a part of.”

Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel‘s latest single “California Hymn” manages to mesh elements of county, soul, classic rock, gospel and folk music while sounding as though it was equally inspired by The Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers and others in a loose, shambling and shuffling song that possesses an easy-going pious joy over life’s small and intimate pleasures.

The band will be on tour throughout the next three months. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

July 1 – Quincy, CA – High Sierra Music Festival
July 15 – Charleston, SC – The Music Farm
July 16 – Orlando, FL – The Beacham
July 17 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
July 19 – St. Petersburg, FL – The State Theatre
July 21 – Macon, GA – Cox Capital Theatre
July 22 – Augusta, GA – Sky City
July 23 – Wilmington, NC – Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
July 24 – Norfolk, VA – The Norva
July 26 – Asbury Park, NJ – The Stone Pony
July 27 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head Onstage
July 29 – Fairfield, CT – The Warehouse
July 30 – Beverly, MA – The Cabot
July 31 – Plymouth, NH – Flying Monkey
August 5 – Stowe, VT – The Rusty Nail
August 6 – Hartford, CT – Infinity Hall
August 7 – Newton, NJ – The Newton Theatre
August 25 – Arrington, VA – LOCKN’
September 16 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater
September 21 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
September 23 – Pontiac, MI – Crofoot Ballroom
September 25 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
September 26 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
September 29 – Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater
September 30 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
October 1 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
October 2 – Syracuse, NY – Westcott Theatre
October 4 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
October 6 – Cincinnati, OH – 20th Century Theater
October 7 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom
October 8 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
October 9 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
October 11 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
October 13 – Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe @ Old National Center
October 14 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
October 15 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
October 16 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
October 20 – Louisville, KY – Headliner’s Music Hall
October 21 – Charlotte, NC – The Neighborhood Theatre

 

 

 

 

In 1967 While the States and the rest of the Western world was in the height of “Flower Power,” “The Age of Aquarius,” and people were out protesting against the Vietnam War and for civil rights for people of people of color, women and the LGBTQ community, Nigeria had descended into a brutal and bloody civil war. Interestingly, the rock scene that developed during three years of bloodshed and destruction helped heal and unite the country, propagate a brand new ideal of the “modern” Nigerian and eventually helped propel Fela Kuti to international stardom.

Earlier this year, Now-Again Records released volume one of a two volume compilation Wake Up You!: The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock. A companion book featured research from renowned musicologist Uchenna Ikonne and an incredible array of never-seen photos that will tell the stories of some of Nigeria’s long-forgotten but best rock bands — bands that specialized in a sound that meshed funk, psych rock and rock in a way that was unique and particularly Nigerian, while being remarkably familiar to Western ears. Volume 1’s first single Ify Jerry Krusade’s “Everybody Likes Something Good,” sounded deeply indebted to James BrownJefferson AirplaneBooker T and the MGs and others as heavily wah-wah pedaled guitar, soaring organ chords, sinuous and throbbing bass lines, layers of percussion were paired with call and response vocals in a way that seemed to nod towards Fela Kuti’s earliest releases. Volume 2’s first single Waves’ “Wake You Up” is a shaggy, garage rock and psych rock jam that sounds as though it drew from early Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals and others while managing sounding as though it were the forebear of Pazy and the Black Hippies psychedelic take on Afrobeat and funk.