Tag: The Who The Who Sings My Generation

Live Footage: The Mystery Lights Perform Material off “Too Much Tension!” at Paste Studios

Comprised of founding members Mike Brandon and L.A. Solano with Alex Q. Amini and Zach Butler, the New York-based quartet The Mystery Lights have received attention across the blogosphere for an old-timey garage rock/garage psych sound and aesthetic that recalls The Who Sings My Generation-era The Who, The Animals, Raccoon Fighter, The Black Angels and 70s art punk — and for being the the first rock act to sign with Daptone Records subsidiary Wick Records.

Interestingly, the band can trace its origins back to Salinas, CA where Brandon and Solano grew up, met and played in a nubmer of different local bands in their teens before relocating to New York. The band’s lineup solidified with the addition of Alex Amini, Kevin Harris and Noah Kohll. And despite lineup changes, the band initially developed a word-of-mouth reputation over the period of a few years for explosive live shows across town. Naturally, those live shows helped the band develop their sound and approach. 

2016 saw the release of the band’s self-titled debut, which they supposed with a wild array of touring, including the now-prerequisite stop at SXSW. Over the past couple of years, the members of The Mystery Lights have been relentlessly playing shows everywhere — and they’ve been busy writing and recording, their Wayne Gordon-produced sophomore album Too Much Tension! Recorded at Daptone Records’ famed House of Soul Studios, the recently released album finds the band digging deeper into their influences to enrich their sound — without echoing the past. Thematically, the album touches upon substance abuse, self-care and the recognition of happiness only once it’s lost, imbued with a post-modern anxiety.  

The New York-based band was recently invited to Paste Studios at Manhattan Center to perform material off the new album that included the fed-up anthem “I’m So Tired (of Living in the City),” the tense and uneasy “Someone Else Is In Control,” the slow-burning The Animals-like ballad “Watching the News, Gives Me The Blues,” and the rollocking “Traces” — and all of the tracks performed at the live session were delivered with the raw, fiery intensity of their live set.

Live Footage: Chicano Batman Perform “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” on Conan

Comprised of Eduardo Arenas (bass, vocals), Carlos Arévalo (guitar), Bardo Martinez (vocals, organ, guitar) and Gabriel Villa (drums, percussion), the Los Angeles, CA-based quartet Chicano Batman have developed a reputation for specializing in a sound that draws from Brazilian tropicalia, psychedelia and classic soul — and for a growing national profile, as they’ve opened for Jack White, Alabama Shakes, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Gogol Bordello and others. Adding to that, the band has played at several of the country’s biggest music festivals, including Coachella and Bonnaroo among others.

Interestingly, the band’s latest album Freedom Is Free finds the band leaning heavily towards a classic soul and classic R&B-leaning sound. And in order to achieve that goal, the band enlisted the assistance of Leon Michels, who is best known for specializing in that classic soul sound with his work with El Michels Affair, The Arcs, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Black Keys and The Menahan Street Band. Additionally, Michels has had his work sampled in songs by Jay-Z and Ghostface Killah.

“Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” is the latest single off Freedom Is Free and as you’ll hear the song draws from slow-burning, classic soul and R&B while nodding at the sound of The Who Sings My Generation and A Quick One-era The Who and The Kinks — but if they added an organist and a handful of backing vocalist. And as a result, the song consists of a soulful, old-school, shuffling two step and a deceptively simple nature, as the song lyrically and thematically speaks of the complex and complicated nature of friendship. Throughout the song, the narrator openly recognizes that while human relationships are absolutely pleasurable and necessary if they forge a deep understanding and companionship; but they can also be frequently fraught with misunderstanding, bitterness, heartache and betrayal.

Recently, the members of Chicano Batman made their national television debut with an appearance on Conan, where they played a loose and fiery version of “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm) off their latest full-length effort.

 

Initially comprised of cousins Jamie Turner (vocals, bass) and Matt Williams (guitar), along with Mike Mutt (organ) and Adrian Macmillan (drums), Perth, Australia-based psych rock quartet The High Learys can trace their origins to when Turner and Williams met Mutt in high school, with the band recruiting Macmillan to finalize the band’s original lineup back in 2011. With the release of a full-length album and a number of singles the Australian psych rock quartet have received praise both across their native Australia and internationally for a sound that had been described as a contemporary take on 60s psych rock, bubblegum pop and large rock that seemed to draw influence from the likes of  The DoorsThe Who Sings My Generation-era The WhoThe Animals, The TurtlesThe Beatles and contemporary acts such as OasisThe Black Angels, Elephant Stone, Sleepy Sun and others.

In fact, the band quickly became a JOVM mainstay as I wrote about a handful of singles on this site — including “Letters to Alice,” a song comprised of intertwined, twisting and turning guitar and organ chords paired with a propulsive rhythm section and Turner’s  Liam Gallagher-like vocals; “I’m A Fool For You” was their most bubblegum pop-leaning single, which possessed an infectious and sweet melody paired with even sweeter lyrics; and “Clear My Mind,” a single that sounded as though it could have been written, recorded and released sometime during the Summer of Love. Now, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve written about them and in that time the band’s lineup has been shuffled — Macmillan has been replaced by Mitchell J. Benson on drums. And interestingly enough, the band’s latest single “Cabinet” not only marks a change in sonic direction for the band that pushes their 60s-leaning psych rock sound closer to the 21st century and is the first time that the band produced themselves in the studio. Sonically “Cabinet” sounds as though it draws from My Gold Mask and Elephant Stone’s most recent releases, as the band pairs guitars and organ played through distortion and effects pedals, thundering drumming and an anthemic hook. In some way, the song sounds as though it were recorded in an enormous empty room with the instrumentation reverberating off the walls and back down to the musicians and listener.

As the band notes in press notes “‘Cabinet’ explores the insecurities of a young mind. Someone who feels lost in their ways, but at the same time shares the burdens of adolescents with their other half.”  And although the song possesses a trippy feel, at its core is a plaintive heartache that should feel familiar — it should remind the listener of the fact that love is almost always awkward but perhaps even more so when you’re trying to figure yourself out.