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PIGSHIT: TEN YOU MAY HAVE MISSED In 2018

Lindsey Buckingham got kicked out of Fleetwood Mac (again), The Monkees made their first-ever Christmas album (!), and I am still waiting for that big Turtles Battle of the Bands Commemorative Special Anniversary Collectors Edition. In the meantime though, I remained happily singing along beneath headphones to (in strictly Alphabetical order)…  


EDGAR BREAU
Edgar Breau
(Flying Inn Recordings)

Understandably kept quite busy piloting Simply Saucer since his Patches Of Blue in 2012, this marvelous return to root launches from the man’s consistently astonishing acoustichords into realms only hinted at on previous releases. Meticulously, beautifully recorded by Jordan Mitchell and Adam Bentley at their TAPE Studio, the often haunting aural landscapes – evident often during each track’s decaying moments, so as to ensure the listener’s listening – support and perfectly compliment the album’s deceptively tranquil lyrics. And Edgar’s eye, not just ear for detail has rarely been as keen (“Days Of Golden Sunlight”) nor as sharp (“Mount Idaho”); even when cast with W. B. Yeats (“He Wishes His Beloved Were Dead”)!  Kim Deschamps’ pedal steel adds ideal touches, to the N.ville North of “Martha’s Back” for instance, and Colina Phillips’ vocal harmonies are of course, and I quote, knockout. Not since my most recent digital encounter with Johnny Dowd have I spent such a fulfilling three-quarters of an hour with the lights out, and the campfire slowly fading.       

 

“D.O.A.: A RIGHT OF PASSAGE”
(MVD Rewind)

Celebrating, if that’s the correct word, the 40th (!) anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ ill-fated inaugural tour of the U.S. – and subsequent implosion – this more-than-bountiful Blu-ray + DVD edition contains still-incendiary mosh-eye footage of John Paul Steve ‘n’ Sid wow’ing (all the while confusing, baiting, and too often inflaming) the unsuspecting denizens of Atlanta, San Antonio and Dallas et al, then heads to the very heart of the matter – the decaying rot of James “No Future” Callaghan’s once Great Britain – to watch Generation X record “Kiss Me Deadly,” ex-Pistol Glen Matlock’s Rich Kids attempt a pretty lame “Pretty Vacant,” and X-Ray Spex, the Dave Clark Five of the New Wave, belting out their cheeky “Oh Bondage Up Yours.” The bonus Punk Documentary That Almost Never Was featurette (actually, it’s longer than the main attraction!) is absolutely Required Viewing as well, if only to discover the hidden connection between p-u-n-k and High Times Magazine, followed by – wait for it! – vintage footage of Barbara Walters interviewing Malcolm McLaren.  

 

FLAMIN’ GROOVIES
Fantastic Plastic
(Sonic Kicks/Severn Records)

Technically a 2017 release, which didn’t arrive at the sty til early oh-18… but it’s still not a minute too late to miss! Jumpin’ just like the Groovies we all know and will always love, right off the bat “What The Hell’s Goin’ On” shakes solid not-so-slow death, maximum mid-range on each and every guitar with the rhythm a compressed Wall of Deep Sound. Even when riding NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad,” or their ol’ Bay Area Beau Brummel pals’ “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” the impressively intact C. Wilson/C. Jordan vocals most notably retain a sense of substance and style which has punctuated this band for (how can it possibly be?!!) fifty-plus years and counting. Sure, while the retro MAD Jack Davis/Beatles ’65 packaging may well point direct towards the Larry Williams bass beneath “Crazy Macy,” the “Street Fighting Man” licking “Let Me Rock,” and the wonderfully Flamin’ Springfield “She Loves Me” – to say nothing of the big beat ballads “Lonely Hearts” and “I’d Rather Spend My Time With You,” Fantastic Plastic bends, not buckles with the undeniable durability and strength of the Flamin’ Groovies …NOW.

 

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
Electric Ladyland
(Legacy Recordings)

As the boomers – or at least their hearing – slowly but surely all f-f-fade away, what remains of the recorded music industry scramble to squeeze the last remaining blood off the tracks of warehoused catalog items prior to shuffling them permanently out to audio pasture. Hence the ongoing onslaught of Deluxe Remastered Super 50th Anniversary Numbered Limited Special Signed Commemorative Collectors Editions of each and everything from that White Album to Big Green Village Pink on down. But! One such big bonus Yule box deserves a fate much better than play-once-stick-up-on-some-shelf; in fact, its contents have aged not one note since first appearing upon countless turntables a half-century ago. Produced and directed in true cinematic fashion by Jimi alongside studio savant Eddie Kramer, a 2018/19 visit to Ladyland is every bit as mind-boggling and, yes, ear-shattering as it was circa ’68. And its Electric extras, including demos, out-takes, grungerful Hollywood Bowl concert plus expanded Making of Electric Ladyland Blu-ray only serve to enhance and enlighten this bona fide classic. Why, even its original Jimi-approved (but never used) front cover has been reinstated: another example of how this is one 50th Anniversary done entirely right.

JOHN & YOKO
Imagine / Gimme Some Truth
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)

And! Not to be one-upped by that above-mentioned White anniversary, the Lennon quarter of our forever Fab equation is more than fairly represented by these 152 (!) minutes of gorgeously upgraded sight and sound, centered on and around the recording of his most popular-ever long-player. The original 1972 Imagine film – the world’s first “video album” as it turns out – is still a joy to behold, guest-starring Dick Cavett, Jack Palance, George Harrison and, ever the debonair perfectionist, Fred Astaire …though it’s still not entirely clear who that man and/or woman wandering around London in a black bag is. 1999’s Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ Album is just that; to watch things getting, um, testy as Phil Spector tries voicing his high “Oh Yoko!” harmony in the Lennons’ right-by-the-kitchen Ascot Sound Studio is, as Yoko says, “home cookin’.” Self-indulgent, ultra-big-budget glorified home movies, you say? Well, I say Where else are you going to be able to watch Miles Davis shooting hoops with John Lennon as Andy Warhol skulks in the shadows with Jack Nicholson, shooting off Polaroids?!

 

CHRIS RICHARDS AND THE SUBTRACTIONS
Peaks and Valleys
(Futureman Records)

Barely a minute into this disc and we’re already thoroughly, willingly submerged by every single Vox-happy, ooooh-ahh’ing, tom-tom’d beat; long a specialty of Chris’, but the first we’ve heard from this incarnation of his since 2012’s Get Yer La La’s Out. And now with Andy Reed – yes, he of Bay City’s Reed Recording facility – on board, the musical team is complete, and completely compatible. Andy’s keyboards, be they a Wing-y Moog on the “Weekend,” dash of Mellotron (“The Coast Is Clear”) or strings “Wrapped In A Riddle” color but never overwhelm he and Chris’ angular axes and luscious vocals. Yes, those vocals! Meanwhile, “Maybe That’s All” is the BEST track Cheap Trick hasn’t cut …yet, and “Call Me Out” stars guitar lines worthy of, dare I compare, ex-Mac Lindsey. But it’s throughout the four infallible minutes of “In A Sense” all of these Subtractions’, er, pluses ring finest as Larry Grodsky’s drums pitch against, then wash amongst the 6-strings, Todd Holmes’ lock-step bass, and (speaking of Bay City again) wholly Roller-worthy backing choral. Bonus Points are due too towards Chilton/Bell’s “Thirteen”: it takes a big band to tackle Big Star, but it’s just one of many many peaks Chris has hit herein. As he regularly does.     

SEX CLARK FIVE
Mrs. Von Braun You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter
(Records to Russia)

Four songs, Seven inches, Nine minutes: my still favorite strum ‘n’ drummers from Alabama offer vinyl obsessives ample reason to heave their latest too-big-stickered Record Store Day hauls off the turntable, making way for something altogether groove-ier. Track-by-lovely-track then, the final 30 seconds of “Saint Barbara” would not have sounded a tad out of place inside a Saucerful of Secrets or even The Who Sell Out, why “Quasar” wasn’t chosen as The Big Bang Theory theme I’ll never know, cue up “Painting” if you ever wondered what Del Shannon (!) produced by Joe Meek (!!) would’ve sounded like, and “Paper Rock Saber” takes a mere three-minutes-five to flawlessly encapsulate those first four Doors albums …with Sexier lyrics and vocals, it should go without singing. Which reminds me: Their grand new Live! album (SC5 in NYC for CMJ on 11/1/91) should be grabbed ASAP as well. “A typically out of control show,” in their own wide words.

 

LANE STEINBERG
Lane Steinberg & His Magical Pony
(Lane Steinberg)

Leave it to Lane to again provide me with just about the fun-nest, most rewarding forty minutes I’ve spent (after taxes) all year. This time ’round and ’round however, the man is joined by a stellar assortment of fellow DIY-at-home writers and players: R. Stevie Moore, Irwin Chusid, the remarkable David Grahame and, for a splendidly understated little trio of Broadway-bound trinkets, the piano of Tot Taylor. One screen over, “You’re Not Connected To The Internet” sports a decidedly dial-up sound, “Everyone Thinks I’m Happy Now” rests upon one phenomenal cat indeed, “Crazy As A Shithouse Rat” must certainly be The Title – perhaps even Zeitgeist? – of The Age, and “Another Early Autumn” with perhaps even “Portofino” makes one won-won-wonder why Lane isn’t writing (for starters) Brian Wilson’s next couple of albums. After all is said and sung, I will conclude by saying “Magical” only begins to describe the ever-melodious goings-on in and around this astounding collection …and, come to think of it, this one too.

 

TODD AND JINGYU
Find Me Find You: A Story
(Todd Lerner Music)

Delicate yet disarming, always enchanting yet occasionally striking; purely adjectively speaking this seemingly merry skip down a romantic trail belies the over ten years it took to write and record. For not a solitary word or chord is ever overwrought or self-consciously labored. The piano-focused à la Left Banke Michael Brown/Odessey and Oracle Rod Argent arrangements – which, most cleverly, build and bloom as the album progresses – remain sparse, while often nuanced (the vocals especially). Speaking of which, Jingyu and Todd’s voices mix, match, then will overlap and counterpoint …the better to subtly conjure the musical dialog their dance relates. Then, as in “Everything Is Good,” a simple whistling “da-da-da” can, and does, suffice. Then, a minute later, “Where It Goes” demonstrates a remarkably complex, though again seamlessly tossed-off mastery of time and tempo. Find Me Find You is truly unlike anything I have heard this year; I now hope you hear it soon yourself. P.S.: and, as the couple themselves suggest when cueing up the tracks, “if one listens in order they tell a fully-integrated story on finding romantic love.”    

 

“WHITE LACE AND PROMISES: THE SONGS OF PAUL WILLIAMS”
(Curry Cuts)

For those who may have in 2018 – or, for that matter, 2019 – question the very concept of the “tribute album” (not to mention the compact disc itself), I would suggest even a cursory listen to any of the twenty-three tracks on this downright delight-filled, yes, tribute to iconic songwriter / singer / actor / supreme 70s talkshow guest Paul Williams. Everything about this endeavor, right down to Craig Dorfman’s rock and roll reporting introductory notes reflect much, much love within its labors. As its subject unquestionably deserves. From the Davenports’ “Evergreen” clear through Brandon Schott’s “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday” the material, as challenging as it may be stands not only the test of four decades’ time, but also the approaches, often whimsical yet always respectful, each participant offers. And while several bravely recast, as in “update” I suppose one could say (Cait Brennan’s “Old Fashioned Love Song” and even more so XNYMFO’s “Dangerous Business”) the existing templates, wisely none ever stroll too far from the indelible, impactful originals. Even Sitcom Neighbor, as they take my All Time Fave PW tune “Out In The Country” straight back to America …as in Gerry, Dewey etc. that is. Paul Williams is most deserving of such a talent-heavy nod, of that there can be no doubt. Thankfully, Andrew and all at Curry Cuts have now produced it.         

 

by Gary Pig Gold

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Kavanaghs “Pop Power”

Through its history, Rock And Roll has had a long and wild path that has made its way into many different cultures. While England and America are the most widely accepted locations for where new music comes from, countries such as Germany and Canada have also added their share of history to the music genre. And with more and more people becoming familiar with the sound of the music, Rock and Roll has found its way into almost every country on the planet, including down in Argentina. It’s in Argentina where you find the band The Kavanaghs, a band of four musicians (Tiago Galíndez on Vocals/Bass/Piano, Seba Cairo on Vocals/Guitars, Diego Vázquez on Guitars/Backing Vocals, Franco Barbieri on Drums) who have been making their own brand of Rock and Roll music for years.

Over the years, The Kavanaghs have created their own music that has been largely influenced by the sound of the British Invasion and then the American response that followed it. For their influences, The Kavanaghs have mentioned bands like The Beatles, Badfinger and The Raspberries (among others) as those bands that have inspired them the most. And when listening to the music of The Kavanaghs, you can most definitely hear each of these influences coming through.

Categories
Features

Thoughts by The Millions, About The Late Alex Chilton

Alex Chilton - Photo by Jim Newberry

As a preface to the little article/remembrance below, know that I seem to be all over the place because my mind still is jumbled concerning Alex Chilton’s death. I could certainly talk all day about how much his music meant to me and how much I am shocked by his passing. Below are just some thoughts running through my head these last few days, nothing more but nothing less……

It’s been a rough few days, that I can tell you with all the certainty I am able to muster. I had always promised myself as a music journalist never to let my own personal fandom interfere with the job, to let it affect me. I made it a personal vendetta never to let my giddyness show when I met someone I looked up to and idolized, whether it be Colin Blunstone, B.B. King, the guys from Sloan or anyone I had written about or reviewed/interviewed and then had the pleasure to actually meet face to face. I had made myself a promise I would never turn into a quivering wreck when one of my heroes passed. Since they were human, I had decided they had a right to eternal peace just as everyone else did and I would neither hold it against them, bemoan the fact they died before their time (whatever that means), or spend days, weeks or months “getting over” it as if I actually knew them or had a personal connection to them in some selfishly imaginary way. We tend to think of our heroes as our friends because their work affects us in untold ways. People die all the time and I felt it was needless to get worked up about it and to just let their music or their art I enjoyed so much allow them to live on as if they would always be there, which, in theory, they would.

But I never counted on this.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions Rock History

CD Review: Big Star – #1 Record/Radio City (Stax/Concord Records)

In memory of the legendary Alex Chilton who passed away this week we are republishing Scott Homewood’s Big Star double review that originally ran on July 14, 2009. If you are not familiar with Big Star and the work of Alex Chilton I urge you to become familiar with it now. It’s better late than never. ed

big-starWhat can be written about this bedeviled band that hasn’t been already? Besides maybe Badfinger, Big Star is the most romanticized rock and roll failure ever to release an album. Yet to call them failures doesn’t do the band justice as not only has the band released three of the most controversial and influential albums in rock and roll history but a version of them still performs today and has released an album of new material as recently as last year. That only two of original members still perform under the Big Star name (Singer/songwriter/legend Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens are augmented onstage by two of the semi-defunct alt-pop band The Posies, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow) makes no difference as the replacements found for the departed members mesh perfectly with the surviving members of the band and in retrospect were the perfect choices to revive the band when Chilton got the idea to jumpstart Big Star in the early ’90’s.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

You want great Rock and Roll? Just say SHAZAM!!

Meteor by The Shazam

Shazam – Meteor
Not Lame

Not only does this new album from rockers The Shazam mark the long-awaited return of one of the best power pop groups of the past twenty years or so but it also marks the return of THE best power pop label ever, Not Lame, if only temporarily. Two great treats in one! Seems the great folks behind Not Lame have decided to partner with The Shazam on this new CD but have no plans to revive the label outside of this release. Boo! Then again, if there was ever a reason to bother to start (or revive, as in Not Lame’s case) a label it is for a band as deserving and overlooked as The Shazam. For over a decade now, this powerpop juggernaut led by guitarist/songwriter/singer Hans Rotenberry have been at the forefront of the New Power Pop which sprung up in the mid-’90’s thanks to pioneering bands such as Jellyfish, The Posies and The Smithereens – bands who took the combination of melody and guitar bombast The Beatles, Badfinger, Big Star, and early Who represented and decided to bring it forward while giving it a much-needed kick in the ass with some modern technology and post-punk attitude. That the band hasn’t become more of a household name is very unfortunate as their distinctive blend of arena rock with razor-sharp pop hooks should have been the perfect bridge betwen the kind of FM hard rock fodder listeners have suffered through for over thirty years and the alternative rock of the mid-90’s and beyond. In fact, if Fountains of Wayne, Weezer and Foo Fighters were combined, it would sound like The Shazam.

Categories
Artists and Bands

A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ‘09 – Part 2

grammyIt’s finally here! The second half of our “A Year in Review” extravaganza is ready for you to peruse and, hopefully, enjoy. We’re serving up more great albums and fabulous artists and I finally get in on the action by counting down the best songs of the year (with some slight cheating.) For those of you who missed Part 1 (shame on you) I’d just like to repeat: Thank you for making RRR a regular part of your musical intake. (Please don’t leave us in 2010, we love you!)

In Part 2 you’ll find:
Top 10 Songs of ’09 – Barbara Pavone
Top 10 UK Acts of ’09 – Intense Nick
Top 17 Albums & Top 5 Reissues of ’09 – Scott Homewood

Top 5 Albums & Top Reissue of ’09 – Gérard Girard
Top 10 Albums of the Decade – Matheson Kamin

Categories
Features

The Scottish are Coming: We Should Be Ecstatic! Glasgow’s ‘Kizzy Star’ Plan World Domination With Their Fresh Sound and Charm.

Kizzy Star With their well-crafted songs that will have you coming back for more, Kizzy Star is not just any old indie band. Thanks to their unique fusion of powerpop, rock, and just the right amount of The Killers-esque mood and style, the Glasgow, Scotland quartet seems to be on a mission to revive the sometimes glum, and bland, music scene. There’s something indescribable, something hard to pinpoint, which makes their sound infectious, and listeners can’t get enough.

Having released their official debut single, Out of Control, in March of this year, and having just wrapped up a national tour of the U.K., they seem to be garnering rave reviews everywhere they turn, and it’s no surprise.

With so much promise and talent I couldn’t help but track the guys down for some interview time and Vocalist Tony and Drummer Mick graciously obliged to chat about everything Kizzy Star. (Note: the group is rounded out by Guitarist Martin and Bassist Lee, who must not have been feeling talkative on interview day.)

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Features

Musical Overdose: Ken Stringfellow Talks About His Numerous Projects, Sounds and Onstage Personas

KSKen Stringfellow is best know for his work with The Posies, but is also a key player in the re-formed Big Star, as well as a respected solo artist. Over the years he has also been a part of many other influential bands such as R.E.M., The Minus 5, and The Orange Humble Band, to name a few.  Currently living in Paris and working on his newest project, The Disciplines, Stringfellow granted The Rock and Roll Report a rare interview.

Q: I know you’ve lived in France for about 5 years now, do you feel like a native at this point?

KS: No, I don’t feel like a native. You have to be one – especially in France. I don’t have an absolutely perfect command of the language by any means. French culture is very particular. When you are in France, even if you speak the language very well, people always can tell. There’s always a “Hmm, you’re not from around here” kind of thing. I enjoy living here and I’ve gotten used to the fact that I’m kind of always a fish out of water in one way, but I have a great life here. It’s not a bad situation to be in.

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

Postcards From France: Gérard Reviews “Speaking Like an Elephant” by Cheap Star (Z & Zoé Records)

cheap-star-webévidemment avec un nom pareil on voit de suite où l’on nous emmène : mais non ce n’est pas un groupe qui nous rejoue l’intégralité du répertoire de Big Star. C’est un vrai groupe, de fans c’est vrai, avec un répertoire personnel et abouti. Oui, bien sur les titres sont produits par Jon Auer et Ken Stringfellow mais j’y vois plus une reconnaisance des deux Posies, une sorte de laisser passer pour démontrer tout le talent de Thomas, Vincent et Rémi. Eh oui les amis, nous avons affaire à un trio français qui joue sur les terres d’un autre trio mythique et séminal!! je suis donc pas peu fier de vous délivrer cette chronique pour vous inciter à vous procurer cet album qui va enchanter vos soirées. 11 titres qui ne s’essouflent pas, qui tiennent la comparaison, qui privilégient bien sur la mélodie imparable et les guitares carillonnantes.

Et pour finir, allez faire un tour sur le site du label, d’autres choses vous y attendent, tiens par exemple un mini cd avec 3 titres de Jon Auer et 3 titres inédits de Cheap Star!!!! Que du bonheur!!!

http://www.myspace.com/cheapstar

By Gérard Girard