Tag: The Who

New Video: The Breezy and Summery Visuals and Sounds of Wooden Shjjips’ Road Trip Anthem “Already Gone”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rockers Wooden Shjips, and as you may recall, although the act is currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the band can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them, centered by the underlying idea that untrained musicians would have a different outlook on what music is and how it’s played, essentially bringing something fresh to to the table in a fashion reminiscent of the garage rockers of the early 60s, the  Velvet Underground and 70s punk rockers did. As the story goes, Dusty Jermier, one of the longest tenured members of the band was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never picked up before while members of earlier iterations of the band frequently had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs. 
Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup but with different intentions. Johnson, who’s a fan of largely impenetrable albums and arcane, small-press poetry books was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. The band had purposely set out to make obscure albums that Johnson envisioned randomly leaving in libraries, thrift store margin bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpectedly, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals in Golden State Park to any and all comers, and the proceeds from the single went to the charitable foundation Food Not Bombs. Adding to a growing profile, the band’s second, real gig found them opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.

The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space, using a half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album a strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered-up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts adding later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records. Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his acclaimed side project Moon Duo, with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams. 

Written last summer, Johnson has publicly said that he has viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic of American life; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.” 

V’s first single ““Staring at the Sun” featured a shimmering guitar pop sound with a steady groove reminiscent of Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out, and “Red Line,” its shoegazer rock meets classic psych rock-inspired follow up single may strike listeners and fans as a bit of return to form, as it features a hypnotic groove — while much like its predecessor, emphasizing slowing, down and pressing the reset button in a world gone absolutely mad. The album’s latest single is the twangy, Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young and Crazy Horse-like “Already Gone” — with a subtle twist to the proceedings, twinkling synths reminiscent of Who Are You-era The Who; but regardless of its influences, it’s the perfect road trip song, as it possesses an overwhelmingly optimistic view, centered on the possibility of new adventures, new friends, of transformation, of being lost and found within the double lines. Unsurprisingly, the recently released video begins with the band’s Johnson getting his bike to ride to the band’s studio space on a glorious day — much like today here in New York — to meet the rest of the band. And of course, they play some hackeysack together — because they’re hippies. But all is right and glorious: bullshitting with your friends and playing music is necessary in a world that’s mad. It’s sometimes the only thing you’ve got. 

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New Audio: RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records Release Bluesy, Anthemic, Fist Pumping, Second Single from Sixth Brown Acid Compilation

Over the past few years, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records have collaborated on an increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations, Brown Acid. Now, as you may recall, each individual edition of the series is based on RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recored together in 30 or 40 years, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes regarding the previous editions of the compilations “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Naturally, by having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation process, it can give the artists and their songs, a real, second chance at the attention and success that they originally missed. Additionally, these songs can help fill in the larger picture of what was going on in and around the underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Following the critical and commercial success of its first five volumes, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ sixth volume of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip is slated for an April 20, 2018 continuing what I hope will be an annual rite of passage. And much like the previous five editions, the sixth edition continues on Barressi’s and Hall’s exhaustive, painstaking research and curation with the duo continuing to discover that the well of hard rock, psych rock and proto-metal 45s from the period is incredibly deep — with the sixth edition featuring 9 deep cuts from bands based in Continental USA and one Canadian act.

Each edition of Brown Acid has begun with an barn burner of a track and the sixth edition also continues that honored tradition with a swaggering yet frenetic, mind-melting, guitar pyrotechnic-fueled track from San Francisco, CA-based act Gold, “No Parking” recorded circa 1970. Reportedly, the band used to open their sets with the song — and as soon as you hear it, you’ll hear why: it captures a band that’s completely unafraid to kick ass and take names. Interestingly, The Sixth Trip’s latest single is Flight’s “Luvin’, Huggin’ & More,” a single that to my ears sounds like a fist-pumping, beer chugging and beer raising, anthemic, amalgamation of Quadrophrenia-era The Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business” but featuring a narrator, who gives his new lover a list of relationship requirements/demands, including the prerequisite luvin’ and huggin’ — with an emphasis on more. 

New Video: SSHH Returns with a Club Banging Industrial Electronica-Influenced New Single Paired with Trippy Visuals

Comprised of Bondi, Australia-born, London UK-based Sssh Liguz (vocals) and Zak Starkey, the son of Ringo Starr, a multi-instrumentalist, best known as a touring drummer for The Who and Oasis (guitar), the London-based electro punk duo SSHH received attention with the release of their 2016 debut effort, Issues, which featured the duo collaborating with some of rock’s most renowned rhythm sections, including members of The Sex Pistols, Mott the Hoople, the backing bands of Marilyn Manson and Peter Tosh — to benefit charity.

The propulsive, industrial techno-like single “Rising Tide” which features heavily arpeggiated synths with thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an infectious hook is the duo’s first bit of new material since Issues and the club banger was born, as Liguz told Earmilk “from a fiery argument” while “driving in a heavy rainstorm.” “I remember being furious beyond belief. Not only because we were having a huge fight, but because even though we were acting like assholes to each other, I couldn’t stop thinking how much I loved him,” Liguz recalled. “Just like I couldn’t stop the rain from falling, or the stars from shining, I just can’t stop loving this man!” Liguz continued, “There is anger in the happiness and a little hate in the love. At the end of the day, passion rules.” And as a result, the song possesses a raw and unbridled tension at its core, influenced by the tempestuous push and pull between love and hate in a fiery and passionate relationship.

BMG released the single globally today, and the single comes with 7 additional remixes and re-workings of the tracks, including re-workings by the likes of YOUTH, Sondrio, Acaddamy, Secret Space, Jevo,  and the members of SSHH.

Co-directed by the band and Billy Zammit, the recently released video for the song manages to subtly draw from rave and electronica culture, as well as psych rock, as it features the duo performing the song in strobe lights and projections.

 

Formed in 1964 by five American GIs station in Gelnhausen, Germany — Gary Burger, Larry Clark, Eddie Shaw, Dave Day and Roger Johnston — as The Torquays, before a name change to The Monks, the garage rock/avant garde rock quintet had quickly become bored of the already cemented, traditional rock format, and as a result, they were inspired to create what was considered a highly experimental sound and aesthetic comprised of hypnotic and driving rhythms, which minimalized the role of melody, innovative sound manipulation, copious feedback, shrill vocals and guitarist David Day’s frequent use of the six string banjo. They were also well known for their shocking appearance as they would frequently dress up like Catholic monks, complete with black habits, cinctures tied around their waists and their hair worn in partial tonsures.  And although they horrified and baffled audiences of their day, in the 50 years since their last known release, the members of the American-born, German-based quintet are now largely considered pioneers both of the avant garde movement and of punk rock, as their socially charged material — material, which had the band voicing objections to the Vietnam War and criticizing what they viewed as the increasing dehumanization of modern society and modern life.

As The Monks, the American-born, German-based quintet released a handful of singles during 1966-1967 — most notably “Complication,” which coincided with the release of their only full-length album Black Monk Time. Though the material released during that period achieved limited commercial success or attention, over the past few years, the band has become a cult-favorite act, thanks to a newfound interest in Black Monk Time by collectors and music obsessives looking for art rock and psych rock of the 60s and 70s, and appearances on several compilation albums, including Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 — and along with that bands like The Dead Kennedys and The Beastie Boys have publicly cited The Monks as an influence on them.

With the release of 1999’s Five Upstarts Americans, a collection of rarities, B-sides and demo’d tracks from the Black Monk Time sessions, the members of the band reunited for a reunion show and a series of sporadic tours throughout the 2000s. For the better part of five decades, it was assumed that The Monks quietly split up after a handful of releases; however in a strange bit of a serendipity, the folks at Third Man Records were sent a treasure trove of unreleased and barely released, original photos of the band, newspaper clippings, business cards, letterhead, contracts, postcards and analog tapes, which contained unreleased material recorded sometime in early 1967, sometime around the time of the recording sessions of their final single “Love Can Tame the Wild”/”He Went Down to the Sea,” and after hours in the Top Ten Club, just before the band’s breakup.

From what the folks at Third Man Records could determine, the Hamburg Recordings 1967 EP, the EP’s first single “I’m Watching You” would have most likely been recorded on February 28, 1967 during the same sessions in which they recorded their final single — and while sounding completely of it era, nodding at the blue-eyed soul of The Righteous Brothers, the mod rock of The Who and The Kinks, as well as The Beach Boys and The Doors, the song possesses a swooning urgency that feels wild and unhinged, evoking the thoughts of someone who’s madly, desperate in love; but just under the surface, there’s an obsessive menace, as though the narrator may stalking his object of affection.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Live Footage: Xylouris White Performing “Foraging” at Dublin’s Guerrilla Sounds

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the last few months of last year, you’ve come across a couple of posts on genre-defying, world music duo Xylouris White. The duo, comprised of of Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based drummer Jim White, who’s best known as a member of the internationally acclaimed instrumental rock act Dirty Three and for collaborating with a number of equally renowned artists including PJ Harvey, Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, Bill Callahan a.k.a. Smog and others; and beloved Crete-born vocalist and laouto player Giorgos Xylouris, the son of renowned vocalist and lyra player Psarantonis Xylouris, and who is best known best known for leading the Xylouris Ensemble.

Interestingly, the duo can actually trace their origins to when the renowned Cretan and his ensemble was touring Melbourne in the early 1990s. At the time, White was a member of Melbourne, Australia-based avant rock band Venom P. Stinger when he had met and befriended Xylouris, who would later collaborate with the members of Dirty Three whenever he was in Australia. This turned out to be a rather fruitful collaboration, primarily based on the long-held admiration and influence both the legendary Cretan and Giorgos Xylouris had on the Australian trio’s sound and compositional approach.

Strangely, although White and Xylouris had been friends for more than 20 years, it wasn’t until 2013 that they decided to collaborate together, a process which was accelerated when White played with Xylouris and Psaradonis at a Nick Cave curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the duo’s long-held admiration has managed to influence how the duo write, record and perform together, and in some way, the duo’s compositions manage to sound as though they were dancing within their compositions, as though at any given point, one instrument could be accompanying the other, or leading the other — frequently in a fluid, almost anything goes fashion. In fact, Xylouris and White’s debut effort together Goats was largely influenced by Xylouris’ poetic analogy for their creative approach — “Like goats walking in the mountain. They may not know the place, but they can walk easily and take risks and feel comfortable. Really, the goats inspired us.”

The duo’s sophomore album Black Peak furthers their goat analogy, as the album’s title is derived from one of Crete’s most famous mountains; however, the album, which was “recorded everywhere,” as Xylouris jokes in press notes and produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, has the duo expanding upon their sound while simultaneously giving a subtly modern take on traditional sounds and motifs. You may recall that at the end of last yer, I wrote about album title track “Black Peak,” a rollocking and stomping number in which the members of the duo push, pull, lead and follow in an intricate composition. The album’s latest single “Foraging” continues on a similar vein as the proceeding single, as it displays Xylouris’ dexterous, almost rock ‘n’ roll-like louto playing, reminiscent of the violin section in The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly,” White’s explosive, polyrhythmic drumming paired with Xylouris’ sonorous and soulful vocals singing in Greek.

The recently released some live footage that will give you a sense of the duo’s live set and their undeniably, forceful simpatico in which both members intuitively know when to lead and when to follow; it’s simply amazing to watch.

New Video: The Classic Soul Sounds and Visuals of Nick Waterhouse’s “It’s Time”

Nick Waterhouse is a Santa Ana, CA-born, San Francisco, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who first took up gutiar when turned 12. And as teenager, he found himself increasingly interested in more obscure and ecletic Americana and blues outside of the pop and contemporary rock his peers were listening to; in fact, he’s cited Bert Berns, Mose Allison, John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison among his earliest musical influences. However, Waterhouse’s musical career started in earnest when he was a member of an Orange County-based band Intelligista, an act that was compared to The Animals and High Numbers-era The Who. After the band split up, Waterhouse went on to attend San Francisco State University — and while studying, he continued pursuing music with very little luck.

As he was purising a music career, Waterhouse was simultaneously getting more involved in San Francisco’s DJ scene; in fact, he had quickly become a fixture at tthe all-vinyl Rooky Ricardo’s Record Shop eventually taking up a job with the store. Publicly, the San Francsico-based singer/songwriter and guitairst has cited that his time working under the store’s owner, Richard Vivian was deeply influential, as it put the then-aspriing musician i touch with the city’s soul club scene — while developing a friendship with The Allah-Las’ Matthew Corriea.

His debut 7 inch “Some Place”/”That Place” was recorded at the Distillery Studio in Southern California with backing band billed as the Turn-Keys, featuring The Fabulous Souls’ Ira Raibon on saxophone. The single was hand-pressed with letterpress printed labels, and because of the single’s overall response and its rairty, collectors have snapped it up. And on the strength of that single, Waterhouse was able to assemble his own backing band The Tarots and a trio of backing vocalists The Naturelles, with whom he played shows with Ty Segall, The Strange Boys, White Fence and The Allah-las. And in between touring across North America and Europe, the California-based singer/songwriter produced The Allah-Las 2012 debut effort. He then followed taht up with the release of his first two singles as a frontman and bandleader.

Waterhouse’s third full-length effort, Never Twice was released earlier this year thorugh Innovative Leisure Records and the album finds him collaborating once again with producer Michael McHugh, who has worked with Black Lips, Ty Segall, and The Allah-Las. As the story goes, McHugh was Nick’s first producer — and as Waterhouse was about to record the material that would comprise Never Twice, Waterhouse enlisted McHugh to recrate and capture the sound of Nick’s youth while in bands in Huntington Beach.

After McHugh was on board, Waterhouse being calling his favorite musicians to join him — Bob Kenmotsu, who contributed his flute; Ralph Carney, who has played with Tom Waits and Elvis Costello contributed sax; Will Blades, a protege of Dr. Lonnie Smith, contributed organs; a highly-accomplished batch of horn planers, bassists and guitarists join in; and Leon Bridges contributed vocals on the album’s lead single “Katchi.” The album’s latest single “It’s Time” will further cement Waterhouse’s burgeoning reptuation for crafting old school, jazzy soul with an incredibly uncanny period specificity — in this case, sounding as though it were released in the mid 1950s/early 1960s, thanks to a careful attnetion to craft while adding his name to a growing list of contemporary artists, who specailzie in the classic soul sound.

Directed and edited by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the video shot on what apears to be old Super 8 Film, and follows Waterhouse as she wanders around New York and features live footage of the Californian and his backing band playing live sets — and with the grainy, old-timey footage, it adds to the song’s old school aesthetic.

New Video: Chicano Batman Covers the Strange and Conflicting Feelings that Friendship Inspires in Their Most Soul-Leaning Song to Date

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 played a number of this country’s major music festivals including Coachella and Bonnaroo, as well as opening for a number of renowned acts such as Jack White, Alabama Shakes, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Gogol Bordello and others. However, with the band’s forthcoming album Freedom Is Free — slated for a March 3, 2017 through ATO Records — the band reportedly decided to lean heavily towards a classic soul and R&B leaning sound. And in order to achieve that goal, the band enlisted the help of Leon Michels, best known for El Michels Affair, The Arcs, has played with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Black Keys and The Menahan Street Band and has had his work sampled by Jay-Z and Ghostface Killah.

Freedom Is Free’s latest single “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” clearly draws from slow-burning, classic soul and R&B but has a subtle bit of rock ‘n’ roll at its heart as it dimly nods at early The Who and The Kinks — if they had employed the use of soaring organ chords and backing vocalist. And as a result, the song possesses an old school, shuffling two step. Interestingly, the song lyrically and thematically speaks to the complex and complicated nature of friendship, with its narrator recognizing that human relationships while pleasurable and necessary, can frequently be fraught with bitterness and betrayal. As the band’s Bardo Martinez explains in press notes “This is a song of betrayal in the most mundane sense. It’s about the trials and tribulations of friendship but a personal reflection on the painful realities of human relationships.”

Directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz, the recently released music video follows a series of relationships that highlight how quickly a relationship can go from being the best thing that could ever happen to you, to quickly souring and leading to some sort of betrayal — sometimes minor but quite frequently deeply heartbreaking.

New Audio: New Project featuring Oasis’ and The Who’s Drummer Releases a Blistering Cover of The Sex Pistols’ “Problems”

Comprised of vocalist Sshh Liguz and Zak Starkey, Ringo Starr’s son and a touring drummer for Oasis and The Who, SSHH is a musical project in which the duo of Liguz and Starkey recruited some of the most renowned rhythm sections in rock history — including members of The Sex Pistols, Mott the Hoople, the backing bands of Marilyn Manson and Peter Tosh — to record a bunch of covers to benefit charity, an album entitled ISSUES. And the first single is a blistering and forceful cover of The Sex Pistols’ “Problems” featuring The Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock (bass) and Paul Cook (drums). And while fairly straightforward, the song should remind the listener of how influential the material off Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols remains, as well as how timeless the material is — so timeless that most of the songs manage to feel and sound contemporary.