Category Archives: 80’s

7-Inch Reviews: Jonathan Richman – “O Sun” & “Keith”

Sometimes a review is tough to start.  I find myself sitting here trying to think of how I am going to select the right words to create an introduction to the musician or band that I would like to share with the world.

I find this blog entry particularly a little more difficult to start out with not only because I am a huge fan of the musician of the EPs I am about to talk about, but I am equally a huge fan of the label that has put them out.

Blue Arrow Records is not only a brick and mortar staple in Cleveland thanks to their amazing selection of vinyl, music memorabilia, and other vintage goodies, but they are now a record label.

Makes complete sense to me.

I have been a fan of Blue Arrow since they first set up shop in 2009 and think the world of owners Pete and Debbie.  Not only do they run one of my favorite stores in my neck of the woods, but they are also quality humans.  I am lucky to know them and was floored when they told me they were going to start their own record label and first on the roster was none other than Jonathan Richman.

Jonathan Richman

I adore all things Richman.  Chances are if you are reading this, you might too.  If you do not, I highly encourage you to check out anything Modern Lovers or just jump into Richman’s solo material.  His style is unforgettable and almost always is in the most upbeat approach.  Richman always has seemed to put me in a good mood.

This month, Blue Arrow Records is releasing two 7-inch singles by Jonathan Richman including four songs: “O Sun”, Wait Wait”, “Keith” and “They Showed Me the Door to Bohemia”.  These are the first releases by Richman in five years.

I need to pause for a second and let you all know that I have been holding off on reviewing these 7-inches until I could literally just down and spin them endlessly next to me.  With luck on my side this past Friday, I was able to set up a listening station of sorts by my desktop with the full intention of listening to these releases and reviewing them.

Moving along…

The 7-inches are both beautifully pressed with “Keith”/”They Showed me the Road to Bohemia” in white (33rpm) and “O Sun”/”Wait Wait” in turquoise with light hints of red (45rpm).

“Keith” paid tribute to the one and only Keith Richards.  I loved the line Richman said regarding Keith’s style was “not exactly the blues cause it’s sorta European too.”  “The Showed me the Road to Bohemia” was a spoken word jam by Richman that was relaxed yet joyless.  Richmond can’t always be a ray of sunshine folks.  He is human after all.

“O Sun” carried a more vintage beachfront island sound that I really was not expecting but completely loved.  It was nothing too technical and quite repetitive, but mysterious like something you would hear in an old school James Bond movie soundtrack.  “Wait Wait” really reminded me of the young Richman post-Modern Lovers I had adored for so many years.  Plenty of clapping and good times were thrown in this jam with thanks to Juanramon Jimenez, a poet who Richman claimed “helped me express a feeling.”

I know I tend to tell everyone what I like and honestly, that is the whole premise of this little blog I have been holding onto for a while. If  can find just one person out there who has not heard of Richman yet and they turn into a fan, then my job is done.  I do this because I want to and there is no other reason.

Both 7-inches only have me excited even more for the full length that Blue Arrow Records aims to release this fall.  Until then, you can stop in the shop and pick up both copies or click on the album covers below to place your order today at Blue Arrow Records ($10 each + shipping):

O Sun 7-Inch Single  Keith 7-Inch Single


I find my posting of this appropriate with the statement that Pete released about Blue Arrow Records and their involvement with Record Store Day.  If you have not read it yet, please do.  It is a highly well-written discussion about his somber decision to not partake in perhaps the most popular retail event for independently owned record stores.

My thoughts about RSD are not as strong as they once were and I blame the greedy (the labels and the flippers).  Where I love to see people standing in line to buy limited pressed releases, I feel it has gone too far and has turned into just another way for big business to make their money as well as shady flippers who throw them up on eBay and make a killing (sometimes even before RSD).

There are too many releases to even count this year and honestly, there were only maybe two that I might have raised an eyebrow about.  What I am trying to get at was that I wasn’t excited about this year’s RSD offerings.  Hopefully not everyone agrees with me and still will be lining up at their favorite local shop next week.

There may not be new pressings coming out that I give a crap about, but there are stores like Blue Arrow Records with tons of old and previously loved releases that I will happily flip through with hopes of finding a gem.

Don’t dismiss RSD.  Remember it is about records, not just the new re-re-re-repressings on an 138 gram glitter-gold pressing with hologram download cards.  Go out and support your local record store and find something that you can call your own.

Album Review: Xerxes – Collision Blonde

Xerxes - Collision BlondeI was waiting for an album to drop this year that would completely steal my undivided attention.  Xerxes has just done that to me.

If any of you know me, chances are you know my love for bands like the Refused, Murder City Devils, Gallows, Thursday and At The Drive-In.  The vocal styles of all those acts is one of the main reasons I have such an appreciation for them.

Xerxes’s new album Collision Blonde seemingly took queues from all those acts and more throwing them together into one killer release.

I love it.  I adore it.  Thank you Xerxes and thank you No Sleep Records for throwing their album on your label.

This young post-punk act from Louisville, KY mixes in so many different musical styles in their jams, I almost hate to classify them into one genre.  With elements of punk,  post-hardcore, goth rock and more, this avant-garde act blew me away the moment I heard their sophomore release Collision Blonde.  

This album overflows with plenty of mental anguish guaranteeing to satisfy any emotional train wreck out there.  Pain, love, and drugs seemingly fueled this release and I’m pretty sure anyone who hasn’t always been in a positive path through life will totally get into Collision Blonde.

Once “I Was Wrong” started I knew this was going to be one of those albums I listened to all the way through with no interruptions.  Calvin Philley just destroys his voice throughout with plenty of distortion that would make Trent Reznor proud.

“Criminal Animal” appealed to me with a garage rock start quickly morphing to something a little more hardcore.  I got a huge kick out of Philley switching to almost a furious spoken word only to start singing again.  “Knife”, toned things down for a moment and clearly was about some object being stuck into one’s back.

“A Toast” had this Cure-like melody and bass line hiding behind intermittent hard riffs and screaming vocals making for a great listen.  The transitions from the singing to the spoken word throughout this track made it even better to listen to.

“Collision Blonde” was beyond a daunting track with Philley just spilling his guts out on top of a melody that easily could be mistaken with The Jesus And Mary Chain or even Bauhaus.  Although dark and lonely, this track really was amazing in so many ways once you got past the emotion and pain.

“Nosedive” ended the album with Philley screaming “just make it stop” over and over.  It was almost like this entire album was a brutal nightmare and it needed to come to an end.

I am not sure if this album was a revelation of pain or a public cry for help.  Regardless, it is powerful lyrically and musically making  Collision Blonde easily one of my favorite releases of 2014 so far.

Perhaps I took in this album a little differently from others.  Having grown up listening to darker styles of music in the 80s and 90s like The Cure and Jesus and Mary Chain, I always wished it were heavier back then.  I loved the music but craved more vocals.  Xerxes seriously captured some of my favorite band styles and added their own harsh twist on it satisfying that younger request.  The result is just insane and I adore it.

Collision Blonde drops on Oct. 21st.  You can pre-order it now over at No Sleep Records.

Check It Out: A Tribute To Repo Man

A Tribute To Repo ManExcuse the dust folks, I am trying to find a new layout for the blog that I like.  So far, I think keeping it simple is going to be the way I go.  I have a few other ideas up my sleeves, so we shall see what happens.

Anyways…

Last September, the cool peoples over at American Laundromat Records released a very deserving tribute album for the Repo Man soundtrack.  I have had this album since it was dropped and will admit that I do not listen to it enough.  Hell, I remember when I got the original soundtrack on cassette at Record Revolution on Coventry when I was a kid.  Needless to say, I am very well versed in this soundtrack.

For anyone who remembers the classic 1984 Alan Cox 80s punk cult sic-fi movie, many can agree that the soundtrack that backed up that movie was just amazing.   Having created a tribute album for this iconic soundtrack was just a brilliant idea by American Laundromat Records.

I know I have spoken on this release in the past, but it deserves a repeat mention.  I love the Those Darlins cover of  Iggy Pop’s “Repo Man” (shocking, I know).  I probably should also mention that Polar Bear Club does a spot on job with Black Flag’s “TV Party” too.  I was very impressed to see Black Francis and Mike Watt each get to take a stab at some classic cuts later on during the release.

I can’t say I dug all of the covers, but overall the tribute is just as entertaining as the original soundtrack.  Perhaps I just can’t shake the idea of having someone cover the Circle Jerks.

Overall, this tribute to a classic soundtrack I feel has been slept on by many.  If you remember how great the original release was, I really think you should give the tribute a try.  Classic tracks by modern bands never sounded so good, and now I really have a hankering to watch the movie.  I hope to hell that no one ever tries to re-create that gem.

American Laundromat Records is also carrying the Criterion Collection of Repo Man on Blu-Ray.  I really really really really want this in my collection (hint, hint).

Track List:

  1. Repo Man – Those Darlins
  2. TV Party – Polar Bear Club
  3. Institutionalized – Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
  4. Coup D’Etat – New York Rivals
  5. El Clavo Y La Cruz – Black Francis & Spanish for Hitchhiking
  6. Pablo Picasso – The Tellers
  7. Let’s Have A War – Mike Watt & The Secondmen
  8. When The Shit Hits The Fan – The Suicide Dolls
  9. Hombre Secreto – Matthew Sweet
  10. Bad Man – Moses Coltrane
  11. Reel Ten – Weekend

Repo Man

Repo Man Soundtrack Tribute In The Works!

I’ll admit, I am not one for tribute albums and never really have been.  There are a couple of exceptions out there (Bad Religion’s tribute from SPIN Magazine is one of them), but overall I just turn my head away usually when I hear the term “tribute album”.

Today was one of those days I changed my mind about a certain tribute.  Earlier today, I heard about a tribute album and rather than ignore it, I got excited.  I got really excited.

American Laundromat Records announced today that they would be releasing a tribute for the soundtrack to the 1980s cult classic Repo Man. Having a tribute featuring modern day bands cover classic late 70s / early 80s punk rock tracks from one of my favorite soundtracks to date has the potential to be seriously awesome.

Maybe it is because I adore the movie so much that I like this idea, or perhaps the fact that Those Darlins are covering the title track for Repo Man originally performed by Iggy Pop.  Come to think, it could even be because Polar Bear Club is covering Black Flag’s “TV Party”.

Regardless, this is one of those “exceptions” I spoke of earlier in regards to tribute albums, and I have already put in my pre-order for the CD that drops September 18th.

Why did I pre-order so early? Check this out (taken from ALR’s website):

All pre-order customers receive a 6-panel CD eco-wallet featuring original artwork by revered rock poster designer Lonny Unitus (Melvins, Decemberists, Willie Nelson), bonus promo pin, album preview prior to release date and, while supplies last, an official Little Trees’ royal pine tree-shaped air freshener which were featured in the film — “you find one in every car… you’ll see” (Miller to Otto).

Did I mention the CD pre-order bundle is only $10? Click HERE to pre-order one for yourself.  See the track list below.

While you are at it, click HERE to check out a post I did in 2009 about why I like Repo Man so much.

Track List:
“Repo Man” – Those Darlins
“TV Party” – Polar Bear Club
“Institutionalized” – Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
“Coup d’Etat” – New York Rivals
“El Clavo y la Cruz” – Black Francis
“Pablo Picasso” – The Tellers
“Let’s Have A War” – Mike Watt
“When The Shit Hits The Fan” – TBA
“Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man)” – Matthew Sweet
“Bad Man” – TBA
“Reel Ten” – Weekend

Dearest Danzig…Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 Still Ruled.

I am sure many of you caught my last post about good ol’ Danzig’s awesome show I caught at Fun Fun Fun Fest this past weekend.  Love it or hate it, Danzig’s set on Friday night had the potential to ruin my weekend.

I knew the plug was going to get pulled the moment he announced to the crowd that they were told they could only play 5 more minutes.  That’s why I grabbed my camera and took that terrible video.  I wanted to capture the moment shit hit the fan, and I did.  I just discovered the Spin.com has used the video in one of their posts.

Prior to that announcement, I was finally starting to get into the set, granted the band just played “Vampira”.  I will not lie, they could have sounded way better.  I am sure there was a multitude of factors that resulted in what I heard.  It was windy as hell out and the equipment was heavily used all day , but there is no doubt in my mind that the band’s techs were not satisfied with their sound check.  Not only did the asshats do an impromptu sound check while the Murder City Devils were still playing (dicks), but they also had that extra 45 minutes before Danzig went on stage.

One of the whole reasons I went to Fun Fun Fun Fest this year was to check out the Danzig Legacy.  I was so hoping to hear “Hybrid Moments” and maybe even “Hollywood Babylon”, but we all know that was not the case.  Instead I heard heard Danzig, including 2 mediocre songs, some not so good sounding Samhain, and you know what happened after…

Plug pulled + Temper tantrum on stage = Me leaving and getting awesome vegan pad thai in downtown Austin.

Danzig make $100k that night and never finished his set.  The fans were all disappointed, and I was too.  Face it, we were all standing in front of the Black Stage to hear Misfits songs and nothing else.  With the time limit, one would think that Danzig could scrap one part of his set and focus on what people really wanted.  I felt worse for Doyle who probably just caked all that make-up on his face before coming out on stage.

Don’t worry, I did not want to tear off my Misfits tattoos and stomp on it after what I saw.  Hell, I am still a fan and always will be.  I was just pissed that Danzig was acting like a diva but also knew that I had 2 more days of Fun Fun to look forward to.  Perhaps the Misfits, the REAL Misfits, were never meant to be resurrected.  I do not care what Danzig has done for the music world, all I know is what I saw was unprofessional and beyond rockstar.  He was given fair warning of the time limit, did not want to even play, and then pulled his shit.  You know what?  I’m done talking about it.  Maybe if the Danzig calamity happened Sunday night I would have a different “Attitude” about the weekend but it was only night one.

I was already in a great mood after seeing Murder City Devils and Russian Circles take the stage Friday night.  Saturday I got to see Hot Snakes and The Damned (both were mind-blowing).  Sunday I saw Eyehategod, Kid Dynamite, Cannibal Corpse, HUM ( amazing) and eff’n Slayer. I also throughout the weekend saw Major Lazer, Diplo, Childish Gambino, Big Freeda, Spoon and Del The Funky Homosapien.

There was one quick performance though that just made me happy to be a part of the entire weekend.  While my friends and I were walking across Auditorium Shores to check out a veggie hot dog eating contest we noticed that there was a band covering Misfits songs on one of the main stages.  We all stopped dead in our tracks and literally ran to see what the hell was going on.  We caught the end of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’s set where Leo and friends were performing their Misfits cover band TV Casualty.  It was awesome, it was funny, and it sounded awesome.  The four songs that Leo and crew played made up for the bullshit Danzig stirred up Friday night.

I’ve been to a whole bunch of festivals in my time.  This years Fun Fun Fun Fest was the best one I have ever been to and I was only at maybe 1-1/2 of it.  I missed all of the early shows due to other things going on in Austin like eaten grub or getting a sweet tattoo (stay tuned for that).  I was ok with missing a couple of the acts as the main ones were in the evening.  I got to see MCD, Hot Snakes, and HUM all in a weekend.  How cool is that?

This is not a review.  This is me declaring how much fun I had last weekend.  Great music with the greatest of friends, old and new.  Throw in the sweet motor-boating I did on a healthy rack right before Slayer and, my friends, I may have had one of the best weekends ever, in fact, I know I did.  Thanks Austin.  Thanks Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I wish it was last weekend all over again.