Category Archives: Motown

Album Review: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits

A few weeks back, I found a photo of myself from when I was working in shipping and receiving at some internet company.

I was about 21 years old at the time and looked ever so thrilled in the picture.  The photo showed me working hard while I rocked a backwards hat as well as a Me First and the Gimme Gimmes shirt, a shirt that I basically wore in the late 90s until it fell apart.  That was almost 20 years ago.

Where am I going with this you ask?

Well, clearly I was a fan back then, and I still am today.  Ever since I heard the Gimmes play “Country Roads” on a Fat Wreck comp, I fell in love.  There was just something so appealing about hearing a song my parents listened to in the 70s altered to my standards.

For those of you who live under a rock, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes consist of Joey Cape, Chris Shiflett, Dave Raun, some guy who calls himself Fat Mike, and good ol’ Spike Slawson.  They have been taking overplayed and classic tunes and covering them the only way they know how to.  The result is catchy, likable, and just downright fun.  i should probably add that they have been doing this since 1995.

Over the years, they have tackled adult contemporary, Motown, show tunes, country, and even Japanese pop songs just to name off a few genres.  I guess you could say they are not the gimmicky type.  Hell, they have 7 studio albums under their belts released on Fat Wreck Chords.  Clearly they are pretty damn important in the punk cover band scene.

To showcase their accomplishments (and squeeze you out of your hard earned cheddar), they are about to drop a greatest hits album on April 7th full of renditions of songs cleverly titled Rake It In: The Greatestest Hits.

Featuring 17 memorable covers, the Gimmes threw together the best of the best for all to hear in one collective listen.  I am sure it was tough for the Gimmes to pick the right songs for this “greatestest” hits album, but I think they did a pretty good job.

Starting with Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, the album spans the Gimme’s eclectic taste in covers.  It was great to hear “Straight Up” and “Jolene” and of course “I Believe I Can Fly”.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stoked to hear “Desperado” as well as “End of the Road”.  I adore the Gimme’s take on these two originally over-played-as-hell songs.

As an added bonus, a few non-album tracks that I have not heard in a long time appeared.  “City of New Orleans” off of Willie, a Fat Mail Order limited edition EP, was an excellent surprise to hear.  The Del Shannon classic “Hats Off to Larry”, originally on the Live Fat, Die Young: Fat Music Vol. V, was the other.

The one track missing that I felt should have been on this greatest hits was the Gimme’s version of “Rocket Man” by Sir Elton John.  Luckily, I have Have A Ball in my collection and can listen to it whenever I please, but for those out there that are just discovering this punk rock cover band, that is one song I know they would enjoy.

To be honest, I was really hoping for the band to have a new album full of covers, but I will take this “greatestest” hits release over nothing.  I hope one day they decide to cover 90s hip hop songs in the key of punk rock, I seriously think that would be amazing and I know they could pull it off.

What I’m trying to say is simple:  Long live the Gimmes.  They are the best cover band of my time.

In support of this release, Me First are touring and have been since February.  I can not even tell you the last time I have seen these guys tour, so make sure you go see them live.  It is going to be an all out blast.  Give them your money.  All of it.  Being in a cover band can’t pay that much, can it?

Tour Dates:

04/11/17 Pittsburgh, PA at The Rex *
04/12/17 Cleveland, OH at House of Blues *
04/13/17 Chicago, IL at Concord *
04/14/17 Detroit, MI at Majestic *
04/15/17 Toronto, ON Canada at Phoenix Theatre *
04/16/17 Montreal, QC Canada at Club Soda *
04/19/17 Boston, MA at Royale *
04/20/17 Philadelphia, PA at Union Transfer *
04/21/17 Baltimore, MD at Baltimore Soundstage *
04/22/17 Asbury Park, NJ at Stone Pony *
04/23/17 New York City, NY at Webster Hall *
05/02/17 Portland, OR at Wonder Ballroom ^
05/03/17 Vancouver, BC Canada at Commodore ^
05/04/17 Seattle, WA at Showbox ^
05/05/17 Boise, ID at The Olympic ^
05/06/17 Salt Lake City, UT at The Depot ^
05/07/17 Denver, CO at Summit Music Hall ^
05/10/17 Scottsdale, AZ at Pub Rock ^
05/11/17 San Diego, CA at House of Blues ^
05/12/17 Santa Ana, CA at The Observatory ^
05/13/17 Los Angeles, CA at The Fonda ^
05/14/17 Berkeley, CA at The UC Theatre ^
05/27/17 Las Vegas, NV at Punk Rock Bowling
06/09/17 Interlaken, Switzerland at Greenfield Festival
06/11/17 Milano, Italy at Carroponte w/ Descendents *
06/14/17 Attnang-Puchheim, Austria at EQUALITY Festival
06/15/17 Nickelsdorf , Austria at Nova Rock Festival
06/16/17 Bischofsmais, Germany at Rock The Hill
06/17/17 Bischofsmais, Germany at Rock The Hill
06/23/17 Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany at Southside Festival
06/23/17 Scheessel, Germany at Hurricane Festival
06/24/17 Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany at Southside Festival
06/24/17 Scheessel, Germany at Hurricane Festival
06/25/17 Scheessel, Germany at Hurricane Festival
06/25/17 Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany at Southside Festival
07/01/17 Würzburg/Giebelstadt , Germany at Flugplatz Mission Ready Festival

^ = w/ Together Pangea

Watch This: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears “Mustang Ranch” Video

Have you even heard of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears yet?

Watch this video they just dropped for “Mustang Ranch” and become a fan already!!!

As if the song was not hilarious enough, the video just makes it that much more entertaining. “Mustang Ranch” is off of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears latest album Scandalous. The album is out now and if you liked that song, boy are you in for a treat.

What? You want another? Sure, why not:

Foxy Shazam To Take Over The World (or something like that)

Genre slamming rock spazz stars Foxy Shazam are getting ready to riot out of Cincinnati, OH and take it to the streets.  The shock rock act will be dropping their major label debut entitled Unstoppable on April 13th thanks to Sire Records.  The band takes inspiration from legendary musicians Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Bruce Springsteen (the Born To Run years) and adds their punk attitude and ruthless energy making for one hell of a sound.

Love them or hate them, this band will be heard one way or another.  Just check out the video below.

Foxy Shazam headlining tour dates (sadly no Cleveland show…) are as follows:

3/15 – Exit/In – Nashville, TN
3/17 – Las Palmas Racetrack – Las Palmas, TX
3/18 – House of Blues – Houston, TX
3/19 – SXSW – Austin, TX
3/20 – SXSW – Austin, TX
3/21 – White Rabbit – San Antonio, TX
3/22 – Higher Ground – Metarie, LA
3/23 – Juanitas – Little Rock, AR
3/24 – Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
3/26 – Orpheum – St. Petersburg, FL
3/27 – Jack Rabbits – Jacksonville, FL
3/28 – Canal Club Downstairs – Richmond, VA
3/29 – Studio @ Webster Hall – New York, NY
3/30 – Great Scotts – Boston, MA
3/31 – Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
4/01 – Webster Underground – Hartford, CT
4/03 – Petit Camps – Montreal, QC
4/05 – Sneeky Dees – Toronto, ON
4/06 – Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
4/07 – The Basement – Columbus, OH
4/08 – Eagle Theater – Detroit, MI
4/09 – Mad Hatter – Cincinnati, OH
4/10 – Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
4/11 – The Vault – Minneapolis, MN
4/13 – Marquis Theater – Denver. CO
4/15 – El Corazon Lounge – Seattle, WA
4/16 – The Venue – Vancouver, BC
4/17 – Satyricon – Portland, OR
4/18 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA
4/19 – Boardwalk – Sacramento, CA
4/21 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
4/23 – Martini Ranch – Phoenix, AZ
4/24 – Launch Pad – Albuquerque, NM
4/26 – Jackpot – Lawrence, KS
4/27 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO

Bonnaroo 2010 Or Bust

Today was like a musical draft for one of the biggest festivals in the US.  I speak of the 4 day festival Bonnaroo and today’s announcement has been a day long event as the initial line-up was introduced to all who were curious throughout the day via Twitter and MySpace.  This was the first time Bonnaroo has done something like there where they utilize other sites to slowly leak out fetival details.

The way that Bonnaroo chose to dish out the artists was annoying to me.  It was a novel idea but if you are like me you want to know everything at once and not have to wait over 12 hours for a line-up.  I hope next year they just go back to routine and hand everything out at once.

Having already been to Bonnaroo twice (2006 & 2009) I can tell you that the line-ups are generally full of an array of artists for everyone.  This year is without exception and I really am thinking hard about going again.  I had a great time last year and really could go for a road trip with friends again.  This time though I am going to go and enjoy it and not worry about covering it.  I missed out on a few good sets because I made promises of coverage on a site I could barely keep but I still kept to my word and was submitting nightly reviews as the sun was rising the next day.

The artist line-up is listed below and I am sure a few other acts will sneak in over the upcoming weeks.  Anyone else interested in attending?  I know it will be a good time as always – just look at all the bands and artists!

Artists confirmed for

* Dave Matthews Band
* Kings of Leon
* Stevie Wonder
* Jay-Z
* Tenacious D
* Weezer
* The Dead Weather
* Damian Marley and Nas
* Phoenix
* Norah Jones
* Michael Franti and Spearhead
* John Fogerty
* Regina Spektor
* Jimmy Cliff
* LCD Soundsystem
* The Avett Brothers
* Thievery Corporation
* Rise Against
* Tori Amos
* The National
* Zac Brown Band
* Les Claypool
* John Prine
* The Black Keys
* Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
* Jeff Beck
* Dropkick Murphys
* She & Him
* Against Me!
* The Disco Biscuits
* Daryl Hall & Chromeo
* Jamey Johnson
* Clutch
* Bassnectar
* Kid Cudi
* Baaba Maal
* Kris Kristofferson
* Medeski Martin & Wood
* The xx
* Dan Deacon Ensemble
* Tinariwen
* Wale
* Deadmau5
* The Melvins
* The Gaslight Anthem
* Miike Snow
* The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
* Dr. Dog
* They Might Be Giants
* Punch Brothers
* Isis
* Blitzen Trapper
* Blues Traveler
* Miranda Lambert
* Calexico
* OK Go
* Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
* Martin Sexton
* Lotus
* Dave Rawlings Machine
* Mayer Hawthorne and the County
* Japandroids
* Jay Electronica
* Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
* Ingrid Michaelson
* The Dodos
* Manchester Orchestra
* The Temper Trap
* Cross Canadian Ragweed
* Big Sam’s Funky Nation
* Carolina Chocolate Drops
* Tokyo Police Club
* The Entrance Band
* Local Natives
* Brandi Carlile
* Mumford & Sons
* Rebelution
* Diane Birch
* Monte Montgomery
* Julia Nunes
* The Postelles
* Lucero
* Here We Go Magic
* Hot Rize
* Neon Indian
* B.O.B
* More Artists to Be Announced! (Subject To Change As Well)

Rumors earlier in the month pointed to Roger Waters possibly playing the festival but I am sure that is a no go now.  Also word on the streets was that Mastodon was going to make an appearance as well.  One could only hope.

I’ll be posting stuff here and there through out the next few months.  Still have not fully committed but highly considering it…

Tickets are on sale now and at this time are $234.50 but that price will not last forever and they will jump to $249.50.  They also are going to have the payment plan again this year – 5 payments of $50.  Not too shabby!

Westbound Train – Come And Get It – CD Review

Boston’s Westbound Train are back with an all new album following their impressive 2006 debut Transitions.  This time the seven man crew completely outdo themselves in every way possible with Come And Get It.  The album was once again released on Hellcat Records and proves to be one of my favorite releases to date this year hands down.

Think ska music infused with jazz, reggae, and heavy doses of R&B and you have the perfect blend of what Westbound Train specializes in.  Not to be compared with Motown, although close at times, the band remains a ska act throughout this release but keeps a soulful attitude.

I had the pleasure of reviewing the band’s last CD a while back and was impressed with every moment of it.  This time I am back to that same level of excitement with Come And Get It.  I must say that I am pretty sure that this CD will be my soundtrack for this summer hands down.

As soon as the CD started with “I Don’t Belong Here” lead singer Obi Fernandez’s voice seems to sooth the soul and set the mood.  With horns, a groovy rhythm, and even some background harmony the song immediately put me in the most relaxed of states as the song reminisces about the good times.  Almost reminding me of a Smokey Robinson song, “Ain’t Gonna Be Easy”, was a full forced R&B track sure to please any listener one way or another.

“Why You Cry” was an amazing ska soul track with ear catching singing thanks to King Django and also amazing tenor saxophone solos.  “Come And Get It” featured some sick organ playing throughout the song with even more impressive singing.

“What You Need”  was one of the more diverse tracks on the CD thanks to The Sweet Divines adding their classy soulful backup singing.  If that was not good enough they return on “So Many Things A Man Can Say”, one of the albums more Motown inspired songs.  If there is any track on this CD that proves this band has soul, this is the track.

“Critical Ska” was just that; a fine instrumental ska track from start to finish with an array of guitar, piano, and sax solos perfect for playing in the background of any outdoor party.  “Cheers! The World’s Almost Over” ended the CD but not without leaving a good feeling.

Westbound Train is a ska band that has some serious soul playing abilities and Come And Get It proves it.  I’m not saying this album is pure Motown but I am saying this comes very close and Westbound Train does it well.  Fans of The Slackers, The Pietasters, and just good soulful music will enjoy this CD over and over as did I.  Look for the band this summer at the 2009 Van’s Warped Tour.

In the event that you have not heard these guys it is only right for me to post some videos of material from their previous releases:

Westbound Train in Mainz (2007-04-30)