by Tom Hallett
Welcome to the machine! Welcome to my nightmare! Welcome to the boomtown! Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends! Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back! It’s time once again for the ol’ ‘Dial to head down Review Avenue and commence to clearin’ away some of these stacks o’ discs cloggin’ up the rock n’ roll pike-way, folks. So without further ado, here’s this week’s picks...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “There’s not much people can count on today.
Everything has been so faithless, and people have been shown such disrespect.
That’s probably why we come out and play every night. If there can be
just one thing that goes against what you see all around you, then you know
that things can be different.”
— Bruce Springsteen
SONG OF THE WEEK: “The Song of the Low”
— Richard Buckner
(Brash Music, 2004)
Kilbey, former front man for The Church (“Under The Milky Way”),
returns to the spotlight on an amazing electronic-rock collaboration with Remy
Zero’s Jeffrey Cain. As with the dreamy, chilly soundscapes he created
in the ’80s, here Aussie songwriter Kilbey touches on universal human
subjects with an almost eerie precision. The songs (written mostly through the
mail, as Kilbey lives Down Under and Cain in L.A.), particularly the dreamy,
lilting opener, “Musidora,” evoke a plethora of emotions—ranging
from pure joy to the depths of melancholy. Interesting side-note: The pair include
somewhat of a “manifesto” with their press kit, where, among other
things, they pledge that they’d rather “... have nothing to do with
the music industry,” but that they are “quite capable of making
use of it like anyone else.” They refer to Isidore as both a musical and
a global entity, both of which provide “total liberation of the mind”
and “a cry of the mind turning back on itself.” They also make the
rather grand, sweeping claim that they are determined to “make a sonic
revolution” and “show the fragility of sound,” using “the
hammers of harmony.” Well, I don’t know about all that, I mean,
it all sounds quite exciting—but do I have to dress up for the revolution?
I’d rather stay home in the basement and listen to this album, if that’s
alright with you, Steve-O. Very cool new stuff, though, from a pair of highly
talented (if a bit eccentric) chaps. Cheers!
The Blood Shot
(Garage D’Or Records, 2004)
a mad, musically-obsessed scientist took genes from Iggy Pop, Black Sabbath’s
Tony Iommi, Skye Saxon of The Seeds and Alice Cooper, mixed ‘em all up
in the ol’ centrifuge, and brought the results to life in one glorious,
gritty, noise-driven monstrosity, you’d still only have a pale imitation
of Andy Kereakos, the howling, hell-raising head rock chieftan of local garage
thrashers The Blood Shot. Like the band’s previous releases, this collection
of loud, fuzzy, stomp-rock finds the band dealing with subjects closest to their
black little hearts—guns, gloom, the road, dope (the album cover features
two needles jammed into the skull of what looks like a golden idol), women and
ear-splitting guitar bands. And man, I’ve got to say, never has there
been a better time for this brand of no-bullshit, meat-and-potatoes, wamma-jamma
rocka-rolla to make a come-back. The eleven tracks on this release (including
such scathing numbers as “Runnin’ And Gunnin’ You Down,”
“I Wanna Tear You Up,” “Crawlin’ (Across The Killing
Floor)” and “I Did Too Much”) go a long way towards restoring
one’s faith in the pure, unassailable power of the amplified power chord.
If you dig Blue Cheer, scrappy Nuggets bands, early Cooper, Sabbath, and the
overwhelming reek of motor oil, stale beer, gun grease, pot smoke, old gasoline
and slowly melting electrical cords, this batch of songs will do you quite nicely,
thank you very much. Made loud to play loud.
(Endurance Music, 2004)
NYC subway-system busker Daniel Cartier returns (he was originally signed to
Elton John’s Rocket Records in the mid-’90s, but found himself label-less
after the dissolution of Rocket’s corporate parent, PolyGram) from a self-imposed
sabbatical with a punchy, exhilarating cache of new material. Though he’s
released a few limited-run, home-recorded albums over the past few years, Revival
finds the pop maestro at his hook-savvy best. Self-released, self-funded
and self-produced, this record is all his baby, and he makes the most of that
freedom here. Gleefully side-stepping from genre to sub-genre and back (here
a ’70s style disco thumper, there a soul-wrenching, Jeff Buckley-esque
ballad, etc. etc.), the wily singer/songwriter/musician (with “Five-octave,
powerhouse Gospel pipes” screams the press release—but it’s
true, Lord, it’s true!) defies categorization and positively oozes pure,
original soul. Album opener/anthem “Lay It On” fairly bleeds out
of your speakers with a plaintive cry and a soul-heavy back-beat, while “Good
Time” ebbs and flows like a bewitched electronic musical waterfall. The
eerie, bass-heavy “Locked Away” finds our illustrious protagonist
spewing and growling his way out of that aforementioned self-imposed exile with
such vehement invectives as, “Fuckin’ A ... fuck all the things
that I thought I knew ...” The rest of the tunes are just as eclectic
and wide-ranging in both subject matter and style. Over sharp, spine-tingling
acoustic pickin’, sly, swirling drum loops, and positively joyous harmonica
blowin’, Cartier raises the specter of such sound-pioneers as former Velvet
Underground multi-instrumentalist John Cale and erstwhile Roxy Music co-leader
Brian Eno at their most romantic, exploratory, carefree peaks. Cartier—an
openly gay white man with a bizarre spider-web of tattoos adorning his shaved
pate—may physically resemble a Bizarro World Michael Stipe, but his true
peers are modern electro-pop romantics like King Of France and Halloween, Alaska.
A truly inspiring record that just gets better with every spin. Highly recommended.
The Summer People
Verge Of A Breakdown
(Garage D’Or Records, 2004)
their stable-mates The Blood Shot (both are affiliated with longtime local scene
supporter Terry Katzman's Garage D'Or label), The Summer People deliver scratchy,
squirrelly guitar rock with the amps turned up to eleven and their switchblades
half open. Led by vocalist Clayton Kline, this Arden Hills quartet fairly sizzles
their way through 10 cuts of the most energetic, frenetic, groove-a-licious
gut-busters you'll hear this side of 1969. Right from the first notes of album
opener "Light" to the booty-bumpin', mind-melting psychedelic punk
of "It's Fun," right on through to the bowel-disrupting drunk anthem
"Whiskey Bottle" and the wink-and-a-nod Stooges blast of final cut
"Dark," Verge Of A Breakdown captures a band not only at their
least self-conscious, the-riff-is-GOD best, but could very well serve as (please,
please, please) a template for up-and-coming young axe-slingers not sure which
direction to funnel their six-string angst. Psst! Hey, kids! Be like these guys!
More ROCK, less SCHLOCK!! Superb.
GIG OF THE WEEK
miss the official Minneapolis release of local singer/songwriter Dan Israel’s
latest CD, Time I Get Home, this weekend. Along with his crack backing
band, The Cultivators (drummer Dave Russ and bassist Kris Bowring), Israel will
perform songs from the critically lauded album as well as crowd favorites. As
a special bonus, fans will get a chance to check out (and buy!) the band’s
recent, homemade DVD video for the Cultivators’ tune “Overloaded”
(from 2002’s Love Ain’t A Cliche) on the big screen. Shot
in a basement practice space, and featuring hilarious, “Office Space”-ish
scenes starring Israel, the band and friends, the vid shamelessly brings out
the simultaneous melancholy/exuberant vibes of an already killer song by a great
group of guys who just happen to be excellent musicians, as well. Good job,
fellas! Check it all out at Lee’s Liquor Lounge this Friday, Dec. 3. Openers
include Molly Maher and The Disbelievers and The Wooldridge Brothers from Milwaukee.
9 p.m., 21+. $5.
That’s it for me this time out, gang. Spin your dial back to this same
place, same time, next week for more of the same. Until we meet again—make
yer own damn news.
If you have local music news/gigs/events/CD’s you’d like
to see listed in this column, or you’d just like to really know what’s
going on, Mr. Jones, send replies to: (temporary e-mail) firstname.lastname@example.org.