Watch This: NOFX – “Six Years On Dope”

NOFX dropped a new track today and it is bad ass.  Check out the lyric video below:

“Six Years on Dope” is a new track off of First Ditch Effort which drops this October.  The song reflects years of substance abuse by the band and really is not meant to be taken in comical form.

NOFX

To say I am excited about their new album is an understatement.

Watch This: Worship This! Live @ Bad Racket

Akron, OH’s prom kings Worship This! stopped out at Bad Racket earlier this summer and played one of my favorite OG songs, “Best Parts”.

Check it out:

Bad Racket is one of the coolest recording studios in Cleveland and have been doing their thing since 2009.  They specialize in welcoming bands into their studio to play a song and be filmed while doing so.  If you want to see more amazing acts do their things, click the below link:

Music Videos | Live From Bad Racket

 

Album Review: Jonathan Richman – Ishkode! Ishkode!

Jonathan RichmanI recall the very day when I was first introduced to Jonathan Richman.

Sometimes I wish I could say it was because I came across a Modern Lovers album at a young age, but the truth is, I learned of him in the mid-90s thanks to Repo Man on VHS.  As many of you know, there was a Modern Lovers song on the soundtrack and I fell in love with it instantly.

That was a long time ago and I have never stopped being a fan.  So I am sure you can imagine how stoked I am to have been given the opportunity to review Richman’s latest release titled Ishkode! Ishkode!.

I have to admit though, I have been sitting on this review for a few weeks now as I wanted to make sure I said the right words as this artist is so important to me.

So here I am pondering and making a big deal about an album by a guy who has inspired me to be myself.  After listening to this album probably for the 100th time, I felt today was the day to share.

Ishkode! Ishkode! dropped last month on Cleveland’s very own Blue Arrow Records.  This is Richman’s first release in over six years and was well worth the wait.  Assisting Richman on this release was Tommy Larkins, Lisa Marie, Kelly Brown, and a handful of other friends.

Starting off the album was “Woah! How Different We All Are!”, a more underground, beatnik sounding track that had Richman and crew taking a darker approach.  Not goofy by any means but certainly something Warhol would have been a fan of.

“Ishkode! Ishkode!” carried the style Richman has presented over and over I have grown to appreciate.  I loved when Richman, once warmed up, just went on a mini tangent with some amped up guitar playing.

I heard “Wait! Wait!” last year when Richman dropped a pair of 45s via Blue Arrow Records.  This track is so fun it is ridiculous.  I hate to repeat myself, so go check out what I said about it previously.  I also talk about “O’Sun!” too.

“‘a Nnammurata Mia” which translates to My Beloved, was easily my favorite track off the entire album.  I felt like I was on vacation listening to it as Richman swooned me away in Italian and English.  Seriously though, Richman displayed himself to me in a new level on this song while blending the two languages so perfectly.  It was beautiful.

The love fueled “Let Me Do This Right!” should be the soundtrack for all mantra.  Even though it was the quickest song on the album, it was gentle, repetitious, and honest.

“Outside Oduffy’s” just had me smirking the entire time the song played.  This was a comical track that just had me visualizing Richman talking to a girl outside of a pub, falling head over heels in 10 minutes.  This was Richman storytelling at it’s finest.  Having the ladies sing along made it that much better.

“Longtemps” returned back to that vacation feeling I had earlier with the versatile Richman showing his true talent in a different tongue – French to be exact.  Originally written by Charles Trenet in 1955, Richman covered it quite well.

Closing the album was “Mother I Give You My Soul Call”, a chant written by Paramahansa Yogananda.  It is beyond why Richman chose this song to cover, but it was absolutely captivating to listen to.  The sitar playing over the low toned instrument that escapes me at this time (please feel free to help me out here) was calm and relaxing to listen to while Richman recited the chant.  This was an incredibly unique listen.

For anyone who is a fan of Richman, listening to this album was an experience of its own.  At first, I could not place my finger on some of the tracks and felt Richman was just doing something different because he can, but as I listened more and more, it made sense to me.  This album was Richman continuing his legacy as a musician and merely enhanced his talents.  It’s a fantastic release.

Head over to Blue Arrow Records to order a copy of Richman’s new album.  If you are lucky enough to live in Cleveland, just take some time and visit their brick and mortar store.  You will not be disappointed.  I always enjoy my visits there and you can just pick up a copy of the LP yourself.

Concert Review: The Falcon / Worriers / The Lippies @ The Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH – 04/06/2016

[Passing the mic/keyboard/whatever over to my pal Jason Utes who covered the recent Falcon show that filled up the Grog Shop on Wednesday night.  Thanks Utes for the killer review!  It appears that I missed one hell of a show]

“I wanna die and I don’t care who knows.”

If you’re reading this, you are probably already a fan of The Falcon. Otherwise, if I told you I was going to see a band with such lyrical presentation, you would imagine something far different from what I experienced Wednesday night.

Ostensibly, The Falcon is a band that exists primarily for the sake of the band members to get together and have fun playing music, free from the expectations of their higher-profile projects which include The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio, The Loved Ones, and the Smoking Popes, to name just a few.  Seriously, Neil could add probably a dozen more credits on his own, and this band is now one degree of separation from Blink-182 (more on that later).

So, if the band exists in the name of a good time, how is that going to translate to the stage when they are touring in support of the mostly bleak and harrowing (but excellent) Gather Up the Chaps?

The FalconGranted the album cover, which features a despondent leather daddy in the same vein as certain Minor Threat and Rancid album covers, achieves a humorous yet somber sexuality that Third Eye Blind only achieves on accident, this record is still a serious undertaking even with song titles such as “Hasselhoff Cheeseburger” and “You Dumb Dildos” boldly printed on the sleeve. (Enough about the album itself, you can check out the review of the album).  Rest assured, the answer is that the show was a great time for band and crowd alike.

The Lippies, from Grand Rapids, kicked things off for me (Note: I did not make it in time for Blacklister to kick things off). The band took the stage led by Tonia Broucek who addressed the crowd with a politeness that bordered on timid that simply didn’t last. Once the band kicked into their brand of 1990’s Lookout Records reminiscent punk rock, she became an authoritative force that demanded (and received) control of the entire Grog Shop.

At one point, she entered the crowd to lay on the ground in a mock temper tantrum and her sheer aggression parted the crowd like riot police.  Broucek easily had the most confident and effortless stage command of the entire night. The real pleasant surprise of the set came when the band receded for a haunting solo rendition of “It Boils” off of their eponymous full-length that left everyone rattled. Standout songs to check out: “302” and “It Boils” which you can find on their BandCamp page.

Next up were Worriers, touring in support of the incredible Imaginary Life. This band became one of the highlights of the night for me [as] every song sounded fundamentally different but clearly had the same fingerprints. For fans of thoughtful and melodic rock, hopefully they won’t mind that I mentally catalogued them in the company of The Weakerthans. This was definitely a more highbrow compliment to what the Falcon had in store next (again, hopefully taken as praise by both parties). Check out “Glutton for Distance” and “Plans” on their BandCamp page.

By the time the PA started blaring Bad Lip Reading’s “The Bushes of Love” (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Lovegun played just before), The Falcon took the stage. From the opening riff of “The Angry Cry of the Angry Pie” the show was the usual onslaught of humor and spastic punk rock.

The Falcon

Having only two full length albums and an EP, all of their material was represented, but decidedly centered around songs from Gather Up the Chaps.  “Skeleton Dance” prefaced by a sarcastic “this will be great, wait till you get a load of this” and “War of Colossus” being high points for me.

Between songs, the band took playful jabs at one another and Cleveland itself. There were at least three instances of pointing out that Cleveland is indefensible to a touring band’s gravity toward Cleveland Steamer jokes.  They quipped that the crowd “Cleveland steamed the wrinkles out of [the song] ‘Sailor’s Grave’.”

Brendan Kelly reveled in pointing out how much Dave Hause hates ska and that he is now sentenced to playing the Falcon’s own ska anthem “The Unicorn Odyssey” on a nightly basis.

Dan Andriano stood helpless as Kelly mused on Dan’s Alkaline Trio bandmate Matt Skiba’s undead persona as well as a few taunts such as, “you BLINK and you’re out of a job!”

Dave Hause is a welcome addition and it’s great to see him playing punk rock again (The Loved Ones will soon be in the midst of a 10th anniversary tour for Keep Your Heart that I’m selfishly hoping will lead to the band being more active. I also don’t mean this to discount Dave Hause’s fantastic solo efforts)

The intended purpose of the Falcon is still front and center, a group of friends having a great time and not taking things too seriously. Still, the Falcon’s set still had its heartfelt moments.  On the day of this show, Merle Haggard passed away and Kelly, who has a prominent “Mama Tried” tattoo, was audibly choked up when he memorialized his hero with a story of Merle and Johnny Cash’s first meeting.

Sadly, due to the nature of this being a “side project” for everyone involved, it may be a while until we hear from the Falcon again.  This was their first proper tour since 2007.  Still, as the show ended with the band leading a conga line around the Grog Shop to Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” (yes, really) everyone in the club could only hope that this would be the first annual Gathering of the Chaps in Cleveland.

Special thanks to Toby Jeg of Red Scare Industries for inviting us to cover the show, and thanks to Brian for letting me stink up the joint on his behalf.

Setlist:
The Angry Cry of the Angry Pie
Sergio’s Here
Blackout
War of Colossus
Hasselhoff Cheeseburger
Huffing the Proverbial Line Off the Proverbial Dong or The Blood and the Frog
Sailor’s Grave
You Dumb Dildos
The Skeleton Dance
Little Triggers
Dead Rose
Unicorn Odyssey
If Dave Did It
The Fighter, The Rube, The Asshole
Black Teeth
The La-Z Boy 500

[Man, Utes, this was a damn fine review.  I think I just should give you my login info to the site and call it a life.  Thanks for covering a solid evening of tunes!  – Brian]