In The Red
Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 | musiX | No Comments
1. Tilts – Tilts (Robotic Empire)
2. Swans – The Seer (Young God)
3. Lisabö – Animalia Lotsatuen Putzua (Bidehuts)
4. King Tuff – King Tuff (Sub Pop)
5. Ozarks – Ozarks (Wil-Ru Records)
6. Sic Alps – Sic Alps (Drag City)
7. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes (4AD)
8. The Men – Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones)
9. Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II (In The Red)
10. Gaytheist – Stealth Beats (Good to Die Records)
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 | musiX | No Comments
21. Tyvek – On Triple Beams (In The Red)
22. La Sera – Sees the Light (Hardly Art)
23. Skelator – Agents of Power (Metal On Metal Records)
24. Rhett Miller - The Dreamer (Maximum Sunshine)
25. The Pharmacy - Stoned & Alone (Seayou Records)
Thursday, September 15th, 2011 | musiX | No Comments
I’m not going to go into my love affair with San Francisco (and its inhabitants, restaurants, bands). I’m not. But when the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay … do I wanna be there in my city? Oh ooh whoa. Whoa ohhh oh ooh whoa.
I’m slightly convinced that John Dwyer is insane (yet not as insane as I am for quoting Steve Perry). The leader of San Fran’s Thee Oh Sees has taken every project he’s been involved with to the far reaches and nether-regions of thee arty and thee unhinged. You never know quite what you’re going to get. And live? Thee Oh Sees simply demolish. And Dwyer continues his prolific ways. The band released Castlemania in May, and are already gearing up for the forthcoming Carrion Crawler/The Dream on November 15 via In The Red.
The new single “Carrion Crawler” is relatively straight-forward compared to the creepy vibes of Castlemania. Dig in. Trip out. Get back. Go forward. Move ahead.
“Carrion Crawler” – Thee Oh Sees
I’ve been hibernating in my hyperbaric oxygen chamber since the closing minutes of MFNW, and I think I added a few years to my life in the process. For a few days I felt like I was 16 again, and only wanted to write about Ke$ha and Linkin Park—I had to smoke a pack of Camel Lights and drink a bottle of Crown Royal last night to snap out of it.
Which brings me to The Fresh & Onlys. San Francisco is a foggy little hotbed of rock that includes Sic Alps, Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall, but The Fresh & Onlys have probably released more music—several 7-inches, two full-lengths—in the past two years than all those bands combined. And they don’t appear to be slowing. The four-piece will release Play It Strange on October 12 on In The Red. Needless to say the lead single “Waterfall” is a garage rock twanger (that ends with a classic fade-out) that has me feeling my current age once again.
“Waterfall” – The Fresh & Onlys
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 | musiX | No Comments
[Ed. Note: It's no secret to anyone that The Days of Lore loves The Strange Boys (I mean, unhealthy). The band's debut handily made the top spot on the TDoL 2009 year-end list. Sheesh, you think I'd have already written something on their latest record Be Brave. Well, I did for one of the publications that actually pays for my opinions on music. Since I hate repeating myself, here it is. Enjoy!]
0riginally published in the Chico News & Review, March 11, 2010
Last year Austin’s The Strange Boys released their In The Red debut, a record that had more in common with rock ’n’ roll’s formative years than it did the label’s garage-punk rock roster. It’s been less than a year, and the Boys (and new girl, former Mika Miko saxophonist Jenna Thornhill-DeWitt) are already offering up album No. 2.
Be Brave lacks the sock-hop pop of And Girls Club, and instead sounds as if the band spent time hanging out in a smoke-filled back room with England’s Newest Hitmakers. The more lackadaisical feel could be partly attributed to the absence of powerhouse drummer (and co-founder) Matt Hammer, who left the band last year. But what the new songs lack in energy they more than make up for in texture and intimacy. Ryan Sambol’s voice creaks like an old rocking chair on more spare folk offerings like “All You Can Hide Inside” and “Dare I Say.” And piano and organ fuel the record’s boozy blues (“Between Us”), while sax rips through on the title track.
If anything, Be Brave shows that The Strange Boys are their own men/woman—which should make album No. 3 all the more interesting.
“Between Us” – The Strange Boys
“Be Brave” – The Strange Boys
Video for “Be Brave”
Years before garage rock moved to the dorm room, bands like The Gories, The Mummies, The Oblivians and countless others were carrying the torch, making strange and primitive noise underground … wait a minute, did they save rock ‘n’ roll? The Oblivians lasted about as long as any band of that ilk should, and disbanded in 1998 after five years (although they are back together playing dates). Greg Cartwright went on to form Reigning Sound soon after, a band that dipped as much into musty garages as it did deep into the soul of Memphis R&B. I’ve doted on the band tirelessly, Cartwright in particular—to my friends, on this blog, in my column, year-end lists … on this blog again. Maybe they saved rock ‘n’ roll for me.
Cartwright is from another time—it’s unlikely he’s ever listened to The Strokes, or even Black Lips. But he has listened to The Counts and The Guillotines and Glass Sun. In fact Reigning Sound’s cover of the Glass Sun banger “Stick Up For Me” is the tune that immediately grabbed me off their latest Love and Curses, the band’s first platter of new material in five years. It doesn’t quite match up to Break Up, Break Down and Time Bomb High School, both more refined albums that captured the tenderness of early Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. Love and Curses is essentially Reigning Sound live—sweatier, grittier, not quite as sweet. Although Cartwright has his moments, most notably in “The Bells” and “Something to Hold Onto,” where his venomous rasp gives way to grievous croon and Dave Amels’ organ swirls between the guitars.
I’m still soaking it in, but I keep going back to that Glass Sun cover. I’ve actually decided that from now on when someone asks what kind of music I listen to I’m just going to strap headphones to their skull and let the song play. I hope that doesn’t make things awkward.
“Stick Up For Me” – Reigning Sound
“Something to Hold Onto” – Reigning Sound
Monday, March 23rd, 2009 | musiX | No Comments
South By Southwest is over. Good bands left their marks. Other bands are already looking forward to next year. Austin’s economy is fat and happy. Matt Pinfield‘s totally awesome coverage for Direct TV is already a distant memory. Four days of music and sin are being picked up, swept away and hosed down by someone who’s happy to have a job. Yes, life in the hipster mecca has returned to normal. Sort of.
The four kids that make up Austin’s The Strange Boys are still there making rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form. The band’s debut full-length And Girls Club is out on In The Red and is shaping up to be one of my favorites of 2009. It would be quite easy to dismiss them as just another band in a long line of garage rock throwbacks—if the songs weren’t so damn good. “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up” is cut right from the blues bone. Essentially, the young-ish (early-to-mid 20s) Strange Boys know early rock ‘n’ roll, and play it as if they’ve never been exposed to anything post-1970 (I actually have a few friends who I’m convinced this is the case). It’s not so much garage rock as it is early Beatles if Dylan and the Fab Four smoked that joint and immediately went into the studio together.
“Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up” – The Strange Boys
“Should Have Shot Paul” – The Strange Boys