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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

 

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Reviews & Suggestions

CD Review: The Innocent Bystanders “Attractive Nuisance”

Take influences such as the style of Jackie Wilson, the sound of the sax player from Buck-O-Nine, Wild-&-Innocent-era Bruce Springsteen, a little Grace Slick, some Phil Spector influence and blend everything together. What you end up with is the base for a band from San Diego that calls itself The Innocent Bystanders.

The band consists of Steve Berenson – drums & percussion, Jessica LaFave – tenor saxophone, Ben Nieberg – acoustic guitar & lead & background vocals, Kath Rogers – lead & background vocals, Donny Samporna – electric 5-string bass, Steve Semeraro – electric 6 & 12 string guitars & vocal on Working Man’s Daughter and Kaimi Wenger – electric piano & Hammond B3. Together, the band combines various influences to create a sound that is all-inclusive and varied which gives the music an ever-changing feel.

With the size of the ensemble being what it is, it’s easy to understand just how it is that the band’s sound and style could contain that many influences weaving throughout it. The reason for the wide array of influences comes from the fact that the various members of the band come from different time periods, meaning they all grew up in different eras of music. And the musical influences from those time periods seeped into the feel of both the lyrics and music, helping to create a style which can only be described as timeless.

The Innocent Bystanders formed mostly as a live band, to play out in live settings. But recently, the ensemble walked into a recording studio where several songs written earlier in the lives of several of the band members were finally given the respect they deserved. These four songs now form the first EP to come from the band. The release from The Innocent Bystanders is entitled Attractive Nuisance.

Attractive Nuisance from The Innocent Bystanders begins with the track “Gotta Get Outta Here”. As the song begins, you can hear all of the various elements that the band admits to having as influences. The lead-off track begins with the sound of Kaimi Wenger’s Hammond B-3 and other instrumentation that gives a slight hint at a Ska feel to the music before that Ska feeling is swallowed up by other influences that help to create a Rock and Roll feeling to the music. Because of the initial Ska influence, the musical blend on the track helps to create a rather full-bodied feel to the music as various influences all float within the music that makes up “Gotta Get Outta Here”. The track blends together rather obvious musical influences such as Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen & the E. Street Band. And from the very first track of the EP, The Innocent Bystanders prove they have a lot of different influences that make up their music.

The Innocent Bystanders continue their new EP with the track “Highways”. The song begins with a strong bassline from Donny Samporna before the rest of the band joins in on a song that blends together influences from the mid-fifties with more recent influences. The result is a track that has a dual feel at the same exact time: The track contains a definite Retro feel as the fifties influence mixes together with a style that would be more eighties-based. The track of “Highways” features the vocals of Kath Rogers and the saxophone playing from Jessica LaFave who are truly the standout musicians of the band on this track. The song of “Highways” is a quick-moving track that also contains a beat strong enough to get up and dance to.

With the next track, Donny Samporna once again stands out as he begins this track with yet another strong bassline, just like he did for the song “Highways”. The track “Emerald Eyes” features a straight-out Rock and Roll feel to the music. The track revolves around the sound of the piano with the help of Samporna’s bass as well as Jessica LaFave’s saxophone and the vocals from Kath Rogers. Together, the entire ensemble creates a track that, once again, has a sound and style that feels as if it would belong with songs in the eighties.

The four-song EP entitled Attractive Nuisance from The Innocent Bystanders comes to an end with the track “Working Man’s Daughter”. The energy level is brought down quite a bit with a much softer approach to the band’s sound on this track. That being said, The Innocent Bystanders create a track that contains a stronger orchestral feel than previous tracks. The reason for that orchestral influence comes from the combination of both the piano and the organ. The inclusion of the saxophone also gives the track a rather retro feel to it. The result is a song that feels as if it should have been created by the likes of someone like Billy Joel back in the seventies as it has that type of vibe to it; especially given how mellow the feel of the overall track is. For someone looking for the definite feel of AM radio from back in the seventies, “Working Man’s Daughter” is one track that would absolutely fill that desire.

Taking a listen to the four tracks that make up the Attractive Nuisance release from The Innocent Bystanders, it seems only natural that this release came to be the way it did. As the band itself is mainly a cover group making a living playing cover songs in live settings, the band members each bring different musical influences into the group’s musical makeup. That makeup of different influences ultimately helps to shape the songs that have been written at different times by different members in the group. The blend of different writers matched up with band members with different musical backgrounds that are rather varied by the different age ranges makes for a release that could only be this varied by nature. And while there are many elements shaping the band’s songs, those elements still come together to form an EP that is a lot of fun to listen to.

To check out the music from The Innocent Bystanders, check out the official video to the band’s song “Emerald Eyes“.

The band is also currently promoting their version of the song from the band The Zutons called “Valerie,” a song that has recently been covered by the likes of both Bruno Mars and Amy Winehouse. 

For more information, check out The Innocent Bystanders’ PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase a copy of the Attractive Nuisance EP from The Innocent Bystanders, click on the album cover below:

 

 

 

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Ryan Joseph Anderson “City of Vines”

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Ryan Joseph Anderson has spent time as the bandleader for the group Go Long Mule, a band that created two albums of Americana-based music. After releasing two albums with that band, Anderson would then go on to create one release of his own. The 2014 debut album from Ryan Joseph Anderson, entitled The Weaver’s Broom, was one of the strongest releases to be put out that year. Three years have passed since the release of that album. After three years, Anderson is back with his second album of all original music. The new release from Ryan Joseph Anderson is entitled City of Vines.

City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson starts off rather strongly with the track “Molly the Flood”. The track features a very strong Rock and Roll flavor and immediately gives the release a very rockin’ beginning. The track takes the music of Anderson into a direction that would fit alongside other songs that were created back in the eighties. The straight-out Rock and Roll sound on the track comes courtesy of the electric guitars that give the song a timeless musical feel. “Molly the Flood” is one of the most rockin’ tracks from either of Anderson’s solo albums.

The newest release from Ryan Joseph Anderson continues with the track “The Ragged Kind”. While the previous track makes use of the feel of the influence from the eighties, “The Ragged Kind” produces another musical approach that takes the music back even further in the Rock and Roll era as the track has a sound that almost seems as if it could have been produced by legendary Rock and Roll producer Phil Spector as the track comes complete with a very full and rich sound to the instrumentation included in the track. The nearly-overproduced feel of the track gives it a very commercial sound that would easily have fit on AM radio back in the sixties. Like the track “Molly the Flood,” “The Ragged Kind” sounds as if it would have been a popular track in another time.

The pace of the music slows down on the track “Shadowboxer”. And while the pace slows down, Anderson makes sure that the track “Shadowboxer” does not drag. The slower pace of the track is met with a strong drumbeat that acts kind of like a heartbeat and that heartbeat of sorts is what keeps the pace of the song moving. “Shadowboxer” is one track on the new album from Ryan Joseph Anderson that easily ties the new release to the previous one as this track could easily have fit within the playlist of the artist’s earlier album of The Weaver’s Broom.

The older feel to the Rock and Roll found on the first three tracks is only one reason why City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson fits under the Rock and Roll label. One other reason for that label is the inclusion of other musical genres that help place that label on the release. One track on the new album that makes use of other musical genres other than just plain Rock and Roll is the title track to the album.

On the title track of “City of Vines,” Ryan Joseph Anderson takes the listener back to the sound of his last release, especially the last track of that album. On the song “City of Vines,” infuses a large amount of folk influence into the track’s music. In fact, the resulting song feels almost nearly like a continuation of the final song from The Weaver’s Broom called “Mission Bell”. Like “Mission Bell,”  “City of Vines” features a gentle flowing feel to the music. And just like “Mission Bell,” “City of Vines” ends up being one of the shining moments on the release. While the harder songs on the album show off the rock star side of Anderson, the softer songs like “Mission Bell” and “City of Vines” show off the real talent of the singer-songwriter.

Staying in a mellower mood, the song “16 Lovers” features a slower pace to the music as Anderson combines a Rock and Roll backbone to the song with a little bit of the Blues to give the track a rather unique sound. The track’s lyrics also seem to have a Blues influence as the resulting song finds Anderson singing about the women he has known intimately. “16 Lovers” is one track that seems to dig deeper into the songwriter side of Anderson than other tracks.

On the track “Diamonds,” Ryan Joseph Anderson writes a song that has more of a personal feel to it than the rest of the album. The lyrics of the track apparently sing about things that helped shape Anderson into the man he is today. The track once again features a gentle feel to the music but still contains a definite Rock and Roll approach to the sound.

The track “July” brings the new release of City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson to a close. Like much of the material from Anderson, “July” is a track that combines an equal amount of Rock and Roll with Folk music. The easy pace of the track along with lyrics about remembering the past creates a song that seems very familiar to the listener. While the first part of the track has an easiness to the music, the second half finds the music building to a much more energetic approach to the music. The track of “July” brings the release to a close on an energetic note.

2014 found Ryan Joseph Anderson releasing a strong album in The Weaver’s Broom. Three years later, Anderson returns with his second album. City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson features the same mix of both rather energetic tracks and rather laidback ones. While it is very rare to find a second album that is just as strong as or stronger than the first, Anderson has created a follow-up release that is just as strong as his first album and proves to have been well worth the three-year wait between releases.

To hear some of Ryan Joseph Anderson’s music, check out his song “Shadowboxer“.

For more information, check out Ryan Joseph Anderson’s PR firm NoVo Management and Publicity.

To check out City of Vines from Ryan Joseph Anderson, click on the album cover below:

City of Vines

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Features

PIGSHIT: Endless Winter

With the Brian Wilson: Songwriter DVD still lodged firmly within the ol’ Pig Player, I pause to conduct a virtual poll in order to ascertain, on behalf of R n’ R Reporters everywhere, that traditional Yule-rock question… “WHY WOULD YOU REALLY RATHER BE LISTENING TO THE BEACH BOYS THIS DECEMBER 25th?”

“Because I live in Syracuse, and it’s gonna fucking snow until July. I’d rather be surfing!”
(Carl Cafarelli, This Is Rock n Roll Radio)

“Because two of my favorite bands, The Dukes of Stratosphear and The Pretty Things, have absorbed Beach Boy influences into their music.”
(Tina Max, Noise Magazine)

“Because KISS didn’t use any sleigh bells on their new release.”
(Pat Meusel, Sony Music Nashville)

Categories
Features

PIGSHIT: 10 reasons why The Rolling Stones WERE the world’s greatest rock and roll band

As what remains of the literary world eagerly celebrates the arrival this month of none other than Keith Richards’ long-awaited autobio “Life,” I thought I’d just keep this particular ball, well, rolling with…..

TEN REASONS WHY THE ROLLING STONES WERE THE WORLD’S GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND

1. BRIAN JONES’ HAIR

Not only the longest and the blondest, but the most distinctive coif to come out of the (first) British Invasion – hence his invariably being positioned as the focal point of the band’s publicity photos, not to mention album covers. “Personally, I always make a point of cleansing my hair after every meal,” a young Brian would defiantly inform the press when asked if the band, as their promo boasted, bathed only during months with an “R” in them.

Categories
Artists and Bands

The Americans’ Charlie Klarsfeld on working with Sean Lennon, The White EP, and the coming year

On November 16, modern pop band The Americans will release their sophomore effort, The White EP. The Americans have recruited none other than Sean Lennon to lend a hand with the new EP, which contains six genre-defying songs. It could even be argued that no one since Prince has blended rock, pop, and soul so masterfully as The Americans. Recently, lead singer Charlie Klarsfeld took a few moments to answer some questions about the EP, The Beatles, and the coming year.

Q: Thanks for taking the time for this interview! So, tell us how The Americans came together…

A: I started the band about two and a half years ago. The cast of characters has changed over time, as I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect Americans, and we reached the band’s permanent form this summer with the addition of James Peanutbutter Preston on the bass.