Category Archives: Jam

Album Review: Electric Six – Human Zoo

Electric Six - Human ZooI remember the very first time Electric Six (E6) hit my ears.

I was working at a Borders Books, Music & Cafe in some fancy Cleveland suburb one night just minding my own business.  One of my co-workers was unpacking all of the promotional CDs for the listening booths and asked me to help him out.

Flashback Memory: As I am sure many of your remember, there was a time when CDs were the staple of the music industry and at Borders, we literally had to manually input CDs into the CD players that were locked below the CD shelves.  This was done so all you consumers could come in and check out an album prior to its release.  Duh.

Anyways, I remember seeing a copy of E6’s debut release Fire sitting out on the counter.  For whatever reason, I picked up the CD to see what it was all about and soon flipped it over to see the track titles.  I decided to sneak in a listen after I put the CD into the listening station.  I have been a fan ever since.  I just sat there on the floor of the music department loving every song on that title.  Needless to say, I snagged that CD the day it officially released and have had it in rotation for years.

I can’t say every release since Fire had as huge of an impact on me, but I have always appreciated what Dick Valentine and crew have done for 10+ years now.  Last years Mustang left a pretty good impression on me, but I just was not blown away completely.

The Detroit garage/rock/funk/disco/jam/electronica/jack-of-all-trades genre-bending act just dropped an all new album titled Human Zoo.  I am happy to say I mostly enjoyed the living hell out of it and I am pretty confident any E6 fan out there will too.

“Karate Lips” opened with an enthusiastic chant of “Electric Six” that quickly changed to “karate lips”.   The song, clearly about some tough-ass women, was heavy on the funk with an electric indie rock style that closely resembled stuff you might hear from the The Faint.

“It’s Horseshit!” was almost too much for my brain to compute yet I loved it.  It was like listening to a late 80s boy baElectric Sixnd infused with Daft Punk.  Definitely a track that people can get weird to.  The music and just overall feel of this song really resembled that vibe I first felt on Fire.

Valentine swooned beyond senselessly in “Alone With Your Body”.  I listened to this track a couple of times over because I liked it so much.  This was like the working man’s love jam.  Valentine sang as a simple man with plenty of Detroit soul backing him up.  I adored the back up singing as well as candid lyrics like “I’ll be there in a jiffy with a stiffy”.

“Satanic Wheels” grew on me after listening to it a couple of times.  I loved the synth throughout.  I felt like I was listening to typical E6 but with keyboard playing taking queues from 80s arena rock bands.  It was psychedelic yet indie if that makes sense.  I guess what I am trying to say is that this song ruled and was one of my favorites on the album.

“Gun Rights” was bizarre and unexpected.  I thought I was listening to Ween mashed with Mike Patton.  “Don’t take away my rights, my gun rights” repeated over and over with a fun Mexican folk melody.  The quick spoken-word of Valentine in the middle just kept things even more interesting.

“I Need A Restaurant” just did not do it for me.  The song seemed to just downgrade from all the craziness I previously was engulfed in.  Sadly, I skipped this track halfway into and barely made it through “Worst Movie Ever”.

“I’m the Devil” sounded more like something Tenacious D would have done one of their albums.  It was not terrible by any means but seemed more of a skit than a song.  I almost wish Dave Grohl would have jumped in on this track dressed as the devil.  I did like the Young Guns-like guitar playing style.  The best part of this track was at the very end when apparently Jesus Christ had a speaking roll.  Who knew he was such a burnout?

“The Afterlife” ended with a synth-pop tune that thankfully did not let the album end on a bad note for this listener.  I wish it were a little more sped up but for what it is worth, it was not a terrible listen by any means.

Human Zoo overall was a blast.  E6 continues to entertain but I will admit the latter portion of the album kind of fell short.   Regardless, most of the release got me all sorts of excited just like their debut did over 10 years ago.  This band in my opinion still entertains on a higher level.

Album Reviews: Upcoming Dirt Cult Records Releases

If there is one thing about New Mexico that I miss, it is the breakfast burritos from the Santa Fe Grill located in those Pic-Quic gas stations.

Actually I am lying.  I miss living down the street from the Dirt Cult Records headquarters.  Chris was a rad dude and I am glad I got to know him even if just for a brief moment.  His band, Low Culture, remains one of my favorites to this day.

Recently, I learned that Dirt Cult relocated to Portland, Oregon and I thought I would check in with Chris to see how things were going with the big move.  He advised everything was going smooth and shared a few new releases his label is putting out in the upcoming months.

I thought I would do a quick review on all of them them.  Enjoy!

Autonomy/No Sir I Won’t – Split
Autonomy/No Sir I Won't
I blame Chris for getting me into Autonomy before I even became pals with him.  This split is pretty bad ass crust-ish punk act that to me sound way better than Crass.  I loved the samples throughout.  Autonomy’s “Ashes To Ashes” was a pretty kick ass song that just started almost psycho-garagy and turned fizzled out with a Cure-sounding bass riff.  No Sir I Won’t were cool to check out and full of aggressive punk rock that reached into the 80s style I grew up loving.  Definitely will be checking them out some more.  

Apocalypse Meow! – Baseball and Alcohol 7″
Featuring Off With Their Heads’s Justin Francis as well as members of Sundowners, I knew I was going to adore this 7″ before I even listened to it.  With songs relevant to the 7″‘s title, Apocalypse Meow take two of America’s favorite past times and mix them into pure pop-punk goodness.  The track “MVP” ruled with the lyrics “all I want to be is a goddamn MVP” repeating throughout.   The title track though is what did it for me.  Loved it.

Blank Pages – Blank Pages LP
Blank Pages
Straight outta Berlin, Blank Pages proves to have one hell of a release with some serious garage rock layered with a old school punk rock feel.  These guys really remind me of the Marked Men in a good good way.  Great song writing added with vocals that could easily fit in with the 70s/80s punk scene.  “We’re All Broken” was just amazing with almost a surf-punk sound in the middle.  I was beyond impressed with the clean sound throughout the release and just full on togetherness of the band.  It just works so well.  “All In Due Time” was another great track.  I am really glad Chris threw Blank Pages my way, I am totally loving what they do.  If you call yourself a fan bands like the Ramones and the Dickies, I have the feeling you will like what Blank Pages have to offer  Ich bin ein Fan von Leerseiten.

For more info on Dirt Cult releases or to check out some other amazing release on the Dirt Cult label, head on over to


Daytrotter’s Barnstormer 5 Is Coming To Akron, OH!!!

Something cool is going to happen on Aug. 31st in Akron, OH…

The ever cool Daytrotter (also known as the Horseshack recording studio) is bringing Barnstormer 5 to Akron.  Daytrotter had the clever idea years ago to bring together up and coming country, folk, rock, and indie acts together and had them play in barns, hence the tour name.

The Akron stop will take place at the Conrad Botzum Farmstead Barn in the beautiful Cuyahoga County  National Valley. This place rules and I can honestly say that as one of my best buds and his lovely wife tied the knot there almost a year ago.  The barn is amazing as is the scenery that surrounds it.  This is a show not to be missed.

The Akron stop will feature White Rabbits, Doug Paisley, Wildlife, Priceton, and Hacienda.

Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased through the Daytrotter website.  Tickets will be $25 the day of show. 

Doors are at 5:30p and the show starts at 6:30p.  Conrad Botzum Farmstead Barn is on 3486 Riverview Rd., Akron, OH 44333.

For more info, head over to Daytrotter.  While you are there, check out all the amazing bands they work with and download some sessions!!!

Here’s a couple of videos from past performances:

The Constellations – Southern Gothic – CD Review

I cannot believe it is June 22nd already.  Summer is officially here and what better way to bring in the warm fun season than to jam out to some amazing music – but what exactly is out there to listen to?  Luckily Atlanta act The Constellations have decided to drop their debut release titled Southern Gothic just in time to provide a great soundtrack for your summertime fun.

After two years in the making with assistance from producer Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective), the eight piece act has released an album that mixes all the fun of bands like Outkast, MGMT, and the Gorillaz with almost a 90’s grunge / soul combination all while adding their own flair.

Honestly there really is no way to define a genre for this band as their songs range from rock to hip hop to pop – that is not necessarily a bad thing.  Lacking consistency never sounded so good.  Add in love for Tom Waits and guest appearances by Cee-Lo Green and Asher Roth, it is quite apparent this band is not a gimmick you are listening to.

“Setback” opened the release with a funky electronic jam heavy on the bass with lead vocalist Elijah Woods almost rapping over music that easily could be thought on something the Chemical Brothers might have created or even Fatboy Slim.  This was the song that was brought to my attention to earlier in the year and needless to say it sparked my attention tremendously.

Not giving the idea that Southern Gothic might be only an electronic album came “Perfect Day” a relaxed and very cool sounding track reminiscent of good ol’ Gnarls Barkley.   It’s only fair to mention Gnarls Barkley seeing as “Love Is A Murder” featured ½ of the act otherwise known as Cee-Lo Green who provided a monologue throughout the track.  This was one of those songs that easily will stick to the minds of many and be broadcast all over the radio.

“December” was another track that just screamed to be played on the radio and sounded like a unreleased Broken Bells track.  I could not help but think of how perfect the song would be for a going out on the town mix.  “Take A Ride” proved to be another inebriated party track with the message to just raise hell starting at the barstool.

“We’re Here To Save The Day” sounded like a strange alliance between Beck and Eminem.  Listening to Asher Roth supply a flow of heavy heard rhymes throughout it was apparent song clearly was out of place with the rest of the tracks yet was amusing to listen to.  I also could not help but wonder why Asher Roth was almost blatantly shown the spotlight on the song while earlier Cee-Lo barely crept through his spoken word of sorts.

“Step Right Up” was by far my favorite track on the album as it was a clear tribute to Mr. Tom Waits.  The song was a completely off the beaten path revolving around one of my favorite artists of the 70’s.  Keeping with the iconic storytelling individual this song also keeps the funk moving around for almost ten minutes.  I can not see everyone getting a kick out of this song but something tells me this is one of those songs best seen live.

“Remurder Is A Lovemix” was a soulful piece with the commonly heard advice “if you really wanna live, you gotta be ready to die”.  I enjoyed this song with Elijah Woods changing up his singing style as well as the random distorted guitar solo that jumped in the middle of the track.

Southern Gothic is a gallant release by a group of musicians who seemingly refused to keep their material contained.  Usually the result of something of this nature could be disastrous but The Constellations manage to pull it off in a great way.  Already turning heads at SXSW and Bonnaroo the band continues to tour and will be making a stop at Lollapalooza.  Do yourself a favor and make sure that Southern Gothic is part of your playlist one way or another this summer.  This band will be going places, I know it.

DOWNLOAD THIS! – The Constellations – “Setback”

The Constellations – “Setback”


The Disco Biscuits – Planet Anthem – CD Review

Philadelphia electronic jam band The Disco Biscuits (TDB) have always stood out to me as an original act since the day I was introduced to them.  I have to admit I was not really into jam bands at the time they were brought to my attention, but thanks to a couple of jam band loving friends I was just intrigued with what I heard.  They were indeed a jam band but their addition of electronics into the songs they played (also known as “trance-fusion” captured my attention fully and I was not the only one.

Over the years the band attracted a huge fan base and not only played all over he world from clubs to festivals but has also hosted their own festival known as Camp Bisco.

After my initial taste of TDB I remember immediately going out to pick up a couple of of their albums and even caught them live, twice at the Odeon (RIP) and once at Bonnaroo in 2006.  For reasons unknown though I stopped listening to future releases by the band, that is, until now.  Recently TDB released Planet Anthem an album that once again will be turning heads of many.  This time around the band collaborated for the first time with other producers, songwriters, and musicians to push out a jam album full of indie rock, hip-hop, and electronical awesomeness.  I can honestly say this as well – The Disco Biscuits have never sounded better.

Opening up the CD is “Loose Change” a song that was not speaking of extra quarters in your pockets.  This song prepared me for the rest of the album with electronic heavy guitar playing and almost old school Daft Punk beats.  “On Time” without a doubt will be making it’s way to the dance floors in 2010.  This futuristic disco-ish song had me nodding my head in approval throughout.  Comparable to something Dirty Vegas might have done this song had all of the elements to make the dance floor move and is best listened to at high volumes.

I felt as if I was listening to Radiohead when “Widgets” started playing especially when the shifting samples started.  All I could think of was how similar it was to something that might be found on Kid A or Amnesiac yet the song held it’s own.  I really enjoying the repetitious gentle singing that was implanted in my head throughout.

“You and I” was one of my favorite cuts on the album over the rest.  Comparable to something The Faint might push out but with TDB flair, the song just overpowered the rest.  Hearing this track confirmed that TDB tried something completely different and I must say, I approved.

The experimental jam of sorts “Konkrete” had a Middle Eastern feel techno feel to it.  I just could not help but think of the Butthole Surfers during this track.  Perhaps it was the monotone singing layered over the thumping bass and electronic noise. “Fish Out Of Water” shifted back to the older TDB I recalled with barely any electronics.  WIth a catchy chorus and slick guitar playing the song was a fun jam to sit back and listen to.

The unsuspecting “Sweatbox” was like a Gorillaz meets Gnarls Barkley song on speed.  This track was insanity at it’s finest with a mix of hip hop and rock and even some soul added in.  I could not get enough of this track nor could I hardly believe TDB had something to do with it as it was completely out of their norm.

Following was “The City”, a more classic TDB singing style song mixed with indie rock.  Think Kings Of Leon mixed with Phish…yes it is entirely possible.  “Big Wrecking Ball” continued the indie rock feel sans the jam and made for a enjoyable song.

Being one of the first albums I have heard in 2010 I must say I was beyond impressed with what The Disco Biscuits dropped.  They made a change in their sound on this album that took almost three years to complete and I personally think it is for the better.  By doing so they have created a CD that will be attracting a lot of attention from new fans and old thanks to the array of genres mixed up in Planet Anthem.