Going Through The Motions? or The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily

arcs yours

It’s interesting that two guys who appear to hate each other as much as Jack White and Dan Auerbach should have careers that seem to parallel each other so closely. For whatever reason, they both have tried stepping outside the bands they are known for to create something new and different. However, White wisely chose to bring in other vocalists and songwriters (Brendan Benson with the Raconteurs and Allison Mosshart with Dead Weather) to help change the direction of his sound. The result is a distinct difference between each band.

Auebach hasn’t chosen this route. While the writing credits have been distributed throughout the band, The Arcs debut Yours, Dreamily may as well be a new Black Keys record. His guitar – vocal combo doesn’t explore any new territory that differentiates one band from another.

Of course, that doesn’t mean this is a bad record, on the contrary, it does exactly what you might expect from Auerbach by giving you a collection of songs that work his strengths. You have that blues/soul influence played with his vintage Supro and a couple songs that work as ‘rockin’ singles.’ “Outta My Mind” is a familiar anchor song that serves as a statement of arrival, a wave if you wish, that pushes the album towards the deeper cuts. Auerbach laments “working just to beat the clock / all I need is one more shot” on “The Arc” and while his voice seems rather sleepy in the sentiment, the guitar work is ferocious giving the song an image of someone rising up after a beating down.

The problem with Yours, Dreamily is that familiarity with the Black Keys library has begun to breed the perception of complacency with new band the Arcs. There isn’t anything new to offer, but still, if Auerbach is only going through the motions, he does it far better than most.

I Need A New Drug or Ten Great Alt Rock Documentaries pt2

   What makes a good rock ‘n’ roll documentary? It all depends on the personalities involved, as the top five picks take drastically different takes on how to tell their stories.

 

   5.  loudQUIETloud: A Film About The Pixies

So hell froze over and Frank Black Francis actually picked up a phone and called the band he ended by fax machine. loudQUIETloud looks at how fractured relationships can return together to create lasting impressions on fans and glorious memories (and cash) for themselves.

 

  1. Under Great White Northern Lights (White Stripes)

Touring the tundra is not for most folks, but Jack and Meg not only play music in the north; they made a poignant film about it. Between the live music tracks and meetings with town fans, mayors and elders, sits moments where you can see these two opposites moving further apart. Only the music brings them together… and is that enough? The film doesn’t answer the question, but history sure has! It is essential viewing for any White Stripes fan.

 

  1. Three Days (Jane’s Addiction)

Filmed during the bands 1997 Relapse Tour, one walks away from watching wondering how normal a hedonistic lifestyle can be. With no valid anchor to ground the audience we see Dave Navarro sweetly lie about drug use to his gal pal over the phone, Perry Farrel pontificate about the nature and the purpose of the universe, and a steady stream of cameos that bring a serious type of normalcy to their own brand of Spinal Tap adventures.

 

  1. Meeting People Is Easy (Radiohead)

This Radiohead ‘anti-documentary’ documentary follows the band attempting to deflate the hype surrounding themselves and their monolithic OK Computer. No attempt is made to see how the relationship between members works to help their creativity; instead Grant Gee focuses on the writing process using studio outtakes and live footage to build a narrative. However, burnout becomes apparent and band faces its lowest point at what seems to be their artistic height.

 

  1. 1991: The Year Punk Broke (Sonic Youth)

A virtual who’s who of the 90’s alt rock scene, the movie follows Sonic Youth and Nirvana as they start in cult following obscurity and rise to commercial and critical success stories. At its heart you see two bands just trying to “goof off” and make sense of it all in the middle of the oncoming hyperbolic onslaught.

 

 

 

 

 

Punk Before Anyone Coined The Phrase or The Sonics – Here Are The Sonics!!!

sonics2

No one quite did early garage rock like The Sonics. They were a musical mess of fuzzy guitar, earth pounding drums, screaming vocals and lyrics that were dirty and just plain asinine at times. This was the early sixties and while The Beatles were singing “Love Me Do” The Sonics were belting out “she’s gonna make you itch / ‘cause she’s the witch” (from the song “The Witch”) and as the Stones sang about “Mother’s Little Helper” these guys were blasting out a tune named “Strychnine.” It was a sound that reverberated from the 60’s and had enough impact to influence everyone one from The Stooges to Nirvana. The fact is that they were punk long before anyone even coined the phrase.

That The Sonics are not a household name is more at testament to poor timing than quality of expression. They were loud and crass before it became popular, and when they tried to move in a more commercial direction, that sound changed again and the band wasn’t thrilled about their new path anyway. Their debut, Here Are The Sonics!!!, was released in 1965 and by ’68 they called it a day. However, punk in the 70’s and grunge in the 90’s brought renewed interest in the band. Nirvana and later the White Stripes and Hives hailed them as influences while cover versions of their songs were played by the Flaming Lips, The Fall, L7, The Cramps, LCD Soundsystem and more.

If you are considering giving these guys a try the best place to start is with Here Are The Sonics!!! which provides the best overall example of their sound. On vinyl, you have a few choices, but your best bet is actually the 1998 mono edition released on regular vinyl. Mono being how it was originally recorded, it sounds far better. The great thing is that it is still widely available, NEW, for around the twenty dollar mark. A re-united Sonics has been touring and recently released a new album, This Is The Sonics.

The Nature of Withdrawal or April 26/15 Playlist

“Beneath The City Of Dreams” – Calexico

I missed out on their advance release when I wasn’t paying attention. Still, a great record I’ll probably talk about soon. Maybe even in the next few hours. They just create such great imagery.

“Don’t Wanna Fight” – Alabama Shakes

Reviewed this on Tuesday and it’s just so damn hard to listen to anything else. It is such an awesome piece of work I’m going to need copies for all my relevant locations.

“Bobby Jean” – Bruce Springsteen

Looked back at this earlier in the week, than I got word that a childhood friend had died; suddenly this song started making me cry. Just the idea that we never really say goodbye before people leave us, and we never have a clue what they meant until that door is forever closed.

“Just Like Anyone” – Aimee Mann

Another song about loss, except this one… well it speaks for itself.

“Don’t Look Back In Anger” – Oasis

Not sure what it is about this song, how it works as both depressing and up lifting at the same time. It pulled me out of a darker mood.

“The Rescue Blues (Live)” – Ryan Adams

Officially the most freakin’ expensive vinyl I own after shipping and duty charges. I wish someone would tell me how much duty I’d have to pay before I finish my order, as good as this record is I had to pay an extra frickin’ charge when UPS showed up at my door!

“I Don’t Want Control Of You” – The New Mendicants

Joe Pernice and Norman Blake were playing in town yesterday, unfortunately I wasn’t able to go, so I drowned my sorrows in their music.

“It Don’t Come Easy” – Ringo Starr

Back in university a friend and I wrote a movie script that featured this song in a very prominent position. It would have been hilarious…

“I Don’t Mind” – Sebadoh

Sebadoh just announced a show and the release of a new single… a cover of a famous Canadian single just because they love us. You can order here.

sebadohlime

“Real Wild Child” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

The first song off her RSD 15 offering Flashback… which rocks in case you were wondering.

“The Witch” – The Sonics

I’ll cover this song and album soon, but wow, I wish I had known about them when I was a teen.

“Ong Ong” – Blur

Off the new Blur album, I’ll have a review for ya by Tuesday.

“Blue Orchid” – The White Stripes

Posted about this album… holy cash grab, and I’m not talking about the record company or artist. Just look for Get Behind Me Satan on e-bay and you’ll understand.

“Limelight” – Rush

The original song before the Sebadoh cover arrives in May.

“Gold” – John Stewart

Sad storytelling at its AM radio best! Took me a while to find as all I had remembered was a couple lines and that Stevie Nicks was doing background vocals.

“Raspberry Beret” – Hindu Love Gods

You’ll understand why they’re included when I put the Blur review out. Besides, it’s a great cover of a great song.

“Spectacular” – Graham Coxon

Graham Coxon takes a most rockin’ riff and turns it into a sing along anthem.

“Black Nite Crash” – Ride

Think I’ll write about this album next week, so it gave me an excuse to add this song.

“Sophisticated Gentleman” – Gabby Glaser

My son used to ‘rock out’ in the backseat as we drove around and this song was playing. I actually sent a quick message to her about it and she wrote back thanking me. Seems odd getting thanks from the person who provided my son and I with the soundtrack to happy memories! Oh yeah Luscious Jackson got back together and have a kids record out, you should check it out here.

“Happy Kid” – Nada Surf

Just a damn good song by a damn good band! After the past week I needed something that would make me smile?

Sometimes Rare “Means” Rare or The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan

GBMSlenticular2

With all The White Stripes catalogue being released through Third Man Records you would have thought that Get Behind Me Satan would have been in the mix… but noooooooo, sometimes rare stays rare. This explains a good amount about why Jack White went through great lengths to put out a cool vinyl product for Record Store Day. It also explains the hefty price tag if you were lucky enough to get your hands on it. Near $50.00 is expensive even for 180 gram coloured vinyl.

gbms2

Thing is, the alternative is way more expensive due to the exclusive nature of its original pressings.

Only 600 were made and split for distribution between V2 and XL recordings in North America and Europe. These vinyl editions were given to music journalists for review. The original North American V2 record sells for over $630.00 on discogs and I found a copy on e-bay that someone had priced at over $1200.00.

gbmsxl

The European XL edition is selling on discogs for over $426.00 and e-bay for more $970.00.

Then a German company tried to make a convincing bootleg edition to pass off as the those 600 originals by printing 600 numbered fakes in red coloured vinyl and another 600 in white. Funny thing is, even the counterfeit vinyl sells for over $200.00 a piece.

gbmsoriginal gbmsside1

So now you have your Record Store Day copy Get Behind Me Satan and already the least expensive asking price is just under $100.00.

BUT…..

You couldn’t get out for RSD 2015 and you really want a copy, well…

WAIT!!!!!!

Third Man Records is putting out a regular black vinyl edition later this year. You don’t need to mortgage your house or sell your car to own this record, you just need a little patience. It won’t be ‘rare’ much longer.

 

My Story of RSD 2015 or Insanity Blooms Eternal

Over ninety minutes early and the line is more than one hundred deep. The old roomy and I meet and catch up as some dude directly in front of us chain tokes his way into the sonic abyss that is Record Store Day 2015. Music geek conversations drift through the air only interrupted by my backfiring joke at the length of the line.

“Maybe everyone is here to pick up that One Direction record…”

“I am!” says the woman just two people ahead. Her boyfriend starts laughing at my dumbfounded look.

I think to myself “I haven’t actually met a One Direction fan over the age of twelve” but I hold my tongue; after all, it isn’t even 9AM and pissing people off shouldn’t happen so early on a weekend.

The line moves forward in a civilized manner, which seems rather odd considering that I’ve had vinyl literally rain down upon my head during past RSD’s. Seriously, it is an odd sensation when a bunch of seven, ten and twelve inch records start smacking your cranium. Mild pain followed by anger and a quick burst of panic because you just don’t want any of this very sweet vinyl to get broken.

As usual, there is that group of people trying to look through the bins of records while the people behind them are giving them the “pick your record and get the fuck out my way” stare. It would be amusing if I wasn’t trying to get my hands on the same record as … well, the guy in front of me who just grabbed the last Otis Redding record that my fingers were reaching for.  Fortunately, I do get my hands on some of the stuff I wanted.

otisbluersd

The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan in gatefold cover with coloured red and white 180 gram vinyl

GBMSlenticular2

The Dandy Warhols – Eponymous – first time on vinyl in double gatefold cover and white vinyl to boot

dandy

George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers debut without bass as it was originally recorded. Also on blue vinyl

gt

Ride – OX4: The Best of – In glorious 180 gram red vinyl with a double gatefold cover

ride

Yeah I missed out on Social Distortion, Joan Jett, Small Faces and as mentioned, Otis Redding, but still had a pretty good time despite the competition and jockeying for best vinyl position. I jump into the vehicle and head for the elderly mall on the west side of the city figuring maybe I could grab some of what I lost out on. When I arrive the employees are praying mallrats will finish the free coffee they had for their customers. I manage to pick up a couple of the 7 inch’s I missed out on, namely Alex Chilton’s “Jesus Christ” and the Lemonheads/Gram Parsons split “Brass Buttons” on pink vinyl.

gramsplit

Now, I’m looking at the clock and considering the likelihood of finding a few things at some record stores I’ve never tried before.

Do I really want to spend more?

It’s the best haul I’ve managed but the little music geek in the back of my brain is whispering, “find more… you must find more…”.

Then I remember, I have stuff on the way… other awesome pieces of vinyl in transit from places abroad.

Afterall, if you look around in the right places, any day can be a record store day. Yeah, right, who am I kidding, I’m heading to another record store.

Insanity Blooms Eternal – April 19/15 Playlist

“Just One Of The Guys” – Jenny Lewis

This was a 7” I had a friend pick up for me on Black Friday/RSD 2014, but I only got it yesterday. It was nice to spin.

“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” – Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Was having a bit of a difficult beginning to my week after visiting a cemetery to pay a visit to… well, anyway, it got me very reflective. This song and the next popped into my head.

“It Makes No Difference” – My Morning Jacket

Out of context but the sentiment and conclusions loan themselves to mourning, so I just wrapped myself in a cocoon of sad music for a couple days and rode the whole thing out.

“Like A Daydream” – Ride

RSD 2015 find. It was a glorious day and now I’m spinning it… it’s going to be another great day!

“Dumb” – Nirvana

Was reading the interview with Francis Bean last week when this song came up and was popped right into my head.

“Bohemian Like You” – The Dandy Warhols

Another RSD 2015 find, although this song wasn’t on it… just wanted to hear it after playing the earlier album.

“Stratford-On-Guy” – Liz Phair

Another interview I found myself reading, it was interesting to hear her perspective… on so many different things.

“The Denial Twist” – White Stripes

Yes! Get Behind Me Satan was released on vinyl – finally! It will be spinning later today.

“Milk Cow Blues” – The Kinks

The b-side to “You Really Got Me” which was another of yesterdays finds.

“Ride On Josephine” – George Thorogood & the Destroyers

Currently spinning on the turntable, I’ll have a full story on this later in the week.

“State Trooper” – Bruce Springsteen

What can you say about the Boss and Nebraska? Dark and desolate it leaves little room for hope…

“Brass Buttons” – Gram Parsons

Such a beautiful frickin’ tune from a soul that left us way to soon.

“Singer Not The Song” – Alex Chilton

B-side to “Jesus Christ” on this RSD release, it just smacks of sarcasm.

“No Cities To Love” – Sleater-Kinney

The only thing I bought yesterday that had nothing to do with RSD. It sounds a 1000 times better on vinyl.

“Funplex” – The B-52’s

Another fun and sarcastic bit from the band that always makes me smile.

“The Meaning Of Soul” – Oasis

I just had to slip this in for no other reason than I felt like it.

“Superstar” – Sonic Youth

You don’t realize just how creepy this Carpenters classic is until you hear the Sonic Youth version. Spine tingling!

“The Cabbage” – Teenage Fanclub

I so badly want this record on vinyl. One of my favourites!

“When My Baby’s Beside Me” – Kelly Willis

Say what you want, it’s a great song that holds its own even when it gets a little ‘countrified’.

“You and Your Sister” – Chris Bell

Because it is a great song that I just had to put in… no other reason.

Playlist March 29/15


nirvana colour

1. “Love Buzz” – Nirvana

Something about the bass line in “Love Buzz” that at times seems both sinister and fun. Then the guitar kicks in and you can’t decide which instrument to ‘air-play’ to, and when you finally decide, you find yourself doing vocals and tearing your throat apart in a vain attempt to capture that fierce Cobain voice. I could listen to this over and over like a demented 13 year old and never see myself getting sick of it.

2. “Kid With Crooked Face” – Bob Mould

A long time ago, I saw Sugar play several times. I was always blown away by how Mould can convey image and emotion with a dry vocal competing against his fierce (and very loud) guitar work. He’s also the guy that convinced me to have a pair of ear plugs in my pocket at a concert… my ears were ringing for two days after I saw Sugar for the first time.

3. “The Simspsons Theme” – Green Day

Well I couldn’t very well talk about the Lego Simpsons house without sneaking in this wonderful bit of Green Day noise.

4. “The Way We Were” – Me First & the Gimme Gimmes

Most people think of Streisand when they hear this song. Instead I get killed by the heartache and laughter of the late great Gilda Radner. I think she would like this version too.

5. “In The Heat Of The Moment” – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher is one of those artists I will purchase without even hearing a song. He just has that dependable rock’n’roll sound that gets me humming in whatever setting I’m in.

6. “Listen To Some Music” – BMX Bandits

Glasgow band has fun with a jangling low-fi house party sound. Would love to see them live, but the Atlantic Ocean provides a small barrier between me and that little dream.

7. “Spider-Man” – The Mr. T Experience

I must have listened to a 100 different versions before I picked this one. You would think I would get sick of it… but no – I just wondered where the hell the Ramones version went.

8. “Lampshades On Fire” – Modest Mouse

Like the song, but if I see a lampshade on fire, I’m reaching for a frickin’ extinguisher, not dancin’ around.

9. “Panic In Detroit” – David Bowie

This is a preview – I will soon be writing about a special vinyl acquisition and I couldn’t wait to play something from it. Here’s a picture – I just hope it sounds as good as it looks.

10. “The Great Salt Lake” – Band Of Horses

Arriving with the new Modest Mouse, came this great record in a coke bottle clear colour. Sounds great, looks great, and is another of that limited stuff I buy every so often.

11. “On My Wall” – Travis

I’ve been a fan of Travis for years, but the weird thing is, I couldn’t tell you much about them other than the Brit-Pop connection and that I have always enjoyed them. It’s like they have been stuck on the mellow side of Radiohead’s The Bends, and continue to dwell and explore that place.

12. “Lego” – The Maccabees

The band with a religious name that doesn’t follow any religion – but can write a pretty decent tune involving Lego… well ok… as usual my wit has escaped me.

13. “Delinquency” – V Twin

Another Glasgow band said to be the “Next Big Thing” falls short. Still, like Teenage Fanclub before them, they write some great tunes. Only problem is finding their stuff.

elephant2

14. “The Hardest Button To Button” – The White Stripes

Seeing as I wrote about Elephant only yesterday, I figured they should hit the mix today. Besides it gave me another opportunity to include that Simpsons/White Stripes video.

15. “Elevator Operator” – Courtney Barnett

Due to my fascination with vinyl I don’t often talk about new artists, but damn, this song was too good to pass by without putting it into the mix, ask me in a month if I feel the same way about the album.

16. “Tin Soldier” – Small Faces

I was always a bigger Faces fan than the Small Faces, but in recent years I’ve gone back to discover that when these guys were at the top of their game, they were every bit as good as the Kinks and Who… which is about the biggest compliment I can give.

17. “The Letter” – The Box Tops

It’s hard to believe that Alex Chilton has departed this place; even harder to believe he was only 16 when he recorded and had a #1 hit with this song. He certainly doesn’t sound like a kid.

18. “Free Again” – Alex Chilton

Because I was in the mood for Chilton, I could help but throw this on right after the Box Tops. It is an awesome song in its own right. The album can still be purchased from Omnivore. For a good laugh, you can see how much Chilton hated lip-synching.

19. “Sundown” – Gordon Lightfoot

A prize find at last year’s RSD, I’ve spent many hours since mellowing by the window reading books and listening to this record.

20. “Echo Beach” – Martha & the Muffins

One of my favourite songs from childhood, it convinced me I really didn’t want to grow up. Unfortunately, responsibilities have a way of making such proclamations sound rather silly. Still, I would rather be at “Echo Beach” on a mid August evening than in front of a computer in March. It was a long winter.

 

Remember that time Bart crashed into Meg or The White Stripes – Elephant

With Record Store Day 2015 fast approaching I thought I’d go back to one of my favourite RSD releases, The White Stripes – Elephant.

elephant1

While the White Stripes put out a lot of great material during their career, nothing opened up quite the way Elephant did with “Seven Nation Army.” It thundered to the point of making you rock whether you wanted to or not. It was a hair swinging, face slappin’ opening statement. Things only got cooler when you saw them chasing The Simpsons around to the driving fury that was “Hardest Button to Button”, and yet like Led Zeppelin before them, they could slow it down on a dime with a slow blues or acoustic number that had you grab for your headphones to hear the nuances and emotional depth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs5vHRn1zDU

This limited edition version was released for RSD 2013, as a tenth anniversary celebration and to draw attention to the fact that Jack White was the ambassador for Record Store Day that year.

Album one was a black and red split piece of vinyl while record two was white.

elephant2

elephant3

Another little weird thing was that sides were given letter designations except for the front of the white vinyl which was marked “Side 3”, rather than “C”.

The album was re-mastered directly from the original analog tapes making the vinyl a true representation of what White wanted people to hear.

Discogs now has this album listed for $75.28 while e-bay stores are asking in the $50.00 range.

Of course the only thing that really matters is, that this album is awesome and that it is gives you the urge to keep turning the volume up. If you can find a vinyl copy – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!