Saturday, November 15, 2014
Looking For Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders is a documentary about the dangerous life and times of the New York Dolls and Heartbreakers guitarist. Written and directed by Danny Garcia, this film delves into the human condition as it relates to Johnny Thunders. To further add depth to this analysis there are interviews with a cast of characters who had a part in Thunders life such as Walter Lure, Billy Rath, New York Dolls manager Marty Thau, Sylvain Sylvain, to Lenny Kaye, Bob Gruen and Nina Antonia, among others. Born John Anthony Genzale Jr. in 1952, the film has a quote from Thunders where he describes his upbringing in its early moments which states, “I grew up with just my mother and sister and you know, you had to fight for every inch that you, every notch on your gun I guess you could say.” New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain also provides insight after we are informed of Thunders upbringing mentioning that there was always a void that Johnny carried with him. Johnny Thunders fought for every inch of his character and his career, with guns blazing so to speak, despite the excesses throughout his life.
In the early parts of this documentary, we learn of Johnny Thunders musical beginnings with his early bands The Reign, Johnny and The Jaywalkers and Actress, until he got connected with the members that were to become the New York Dolls. We see a young fresh faced, Johnny Thunders rise to popularity with the New York Dolls, but are also presented with the things that boiled beneath the surface of the band, as layers are peeled back we see the details behind the Dolls stage gimmick to how they were as people and how they operated as a band. We learn of the opinions of the band’s first album to their overlooked second album, Too Much Too Soon. The combination of the image presented of the band on their first album cover to the difficulties of the record label marketing the band and their introduction to drugs, all added to their eventual split. We also see how the songs on Too Much Too Soon particularly “Chatterbox” would lead to the sounds explored in Johnny Thunders next group, The Heartbreakers, who took their excesses to new extremes.
Bassist Adam Pearson of the English rock band Sisters Of Mercy provides a quote near the end of the film for more insight into Thunders character traits, “At the same time Johnny wanted significance, there was also this self-destructive pattern that would kick in when things were going too well.” Whether it be the early influence and popularity of the New York Dolls on what was to become punk rock, the conflicted mix on The Heartbreakers full-length album L.A.M.F. which caused drummer Jerry Nolan to quit the band, to his diverse solo career, this quote could be tied back to the beginnings of the film in conjunction with the later part of it. When we learn of the obstacles that Thunders dealt with prior to his death, we are presented with the facts and are not forced into one opinion. This method allows the viewer to contemplate and make up their own mind about Thunders controversial and tragic death.
Danny Garcia digs deep looking behind the haze of drugs that dominates the popular public opinion of who Johnny Thunders actually was. He looks behind the drugs to reveal the musician beneath, a prolific songwriter and at times a mystery. All sides are presented, the good, the bad in parts that make up the human condition in an unbiased way. Looking For Johnny helps to define the allure, but also adds to the influence of the career and life of Johnny Thunders.
Saturday Night Play List:
1. The Flaming Lips - Good Morning, Good Morning
2. The 13th Floor Elevators - Don’t Fall Down
3. Ariel Pink - White Freckles
4. Wampire - Bad Attitude
5. Drums Along The Gardiner - Fish
6. Huevos Rancheros - Raunchy
7. Cellos - Pilgrimage
8. The Francs - Situation
9. The Demics - Blueboy
10. Ex-Hex - How You Got That Girl
11. Neil Young - Payola Blues
12. Neil Young - Wonderin’
13. Bob Dylan & the Band - This Wheel's On Fire
14. The Band - Katie's Gone
15. Marianne Faithful - True Lies
16. Frankie & Jimmy - Let It Rock
17. Indian Wars - Wastin’ Time
18. Pow Wows - I Can See But You Don’t Know
19. The Prime Movers - I’m A Man
20. Hookworms - The Impasse
21. Johnny Thunders - Just Another Girl (Live August 6, 1982, Cambridge)
22. Johnny Thunders - In Cold Blood
23. Johnny Thunders - Sad Vacation
24. New York Dolls - Stranded In The Jungle
25. Wire - Lowdown
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 15. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, November 08, 2014
Turkish Leather, the newest full-length release by Ritual Howls is an eight-track trip through the dark post-punk and new wave sounds of yesterday reintegrated into a modern context. Consisting of Paul Bancell on vocals and guitars, Chris Samuels on synthesizers, samples and drum machine, and Ben Saginaw on bass, this three piece draws their influences from bands such as Nick Cave, Joy Division, The Horrors, The Gun Club, The Cure as well as some industrial music. Detroit’s Ritual Howls take these sounds and create their own danceable macabre groove.
“Zemmoa” starts off this album with its creepy horror movie cinematic sounds before the drum machine kicks in and we are introduced to Paul Bancell’s low register voice, while “The Taste Of You” grumbles with industrial sounding drum effects, fuzz bass and creepy dark sounding surf guitar. “Helm” builds on the sounds of “The Taste Of You” with its low-key vocals, catchy watery sounding guitars, fuzzy bass and synthetic drum sounds. “No Witnesses” sounds as if it could have come from the 1984 Nightmare On Elm Street soundtrack. With its creepy crawly bass, drums and synthesizers “No Witnesses” leads us through a sound that does not feature standard vocals, apart from what sounds like a paranoid protagonist from a horror film long ago, until halfway through the song when it changes. “Turkish Leather”, the album’s final and title track ends the album with the same spooky sounds that lurched their way forward from the album’s opening track, but this song features more depth than the earlier seven tracks. The cover of this album features a person wearing what looks like a golden curtain, appearing as a ghost-like figure. Underneath the golden curtain, Ritual Howls bend and crease their sound as it drifts into different and eerie post punk directions.
Saturday Night Play List:
1. The Music Machine - Talk Talk
2. Paul Revere & The Radiers - Stepping Out
3. The Detroit Cobras - Ya Ya Ya (Looking For My Baby)
4. Scott Morgan - Stick To Your Guns
5. Guitar Army - Going To Detroit
6. Razorhouse - Girl Like A Hand Grenade
7. Vietcong - Static Wall
8. No Age - Circling With Dizzy
9. Chad VanGaalen - I Want You Back
10. The Dead Milkmen - I’ve Got To Get My Numbers Up
11. Dean Drouillard - Lost City
12. Legato Vipers - Penetang Hips
13. Outrageous Cherry - The Digital Age
14. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Calgary Hill
15. Sloan - You Don’t Need Excuses To Be Good
16. Nickel Eye - You And Everyone Else
17. The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
18. Foxygen - Cosmic Vibrations
19. The International Submarine Band - Sum Up Broke
20. Jakob Dylan - Ain’t No Fair (In A Rock ’N’ Roll Love Affair)
21. John Doe - Just For The Hell Of It
22. Tara Watts - Pack My Bags
23. Carl Perkins - Matchbox
24. Jimmi Quinn - Sweet Home Chicago
25. Dead Ghosts - What To Do
26. Flesh Rag - Bad Attitude
27. Death - North St.
28. Ritual Howls - Final Service
29. Ritual Howls - Helm
30. The Stranglers - Nice N’ Sleazy
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 8. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, November 01, 2014
CJAM has come a long way since they first began as a carrier current station in 1974. Initially the station was only heard on the University of Windsor campus and close-surrounding areas with its 20 watts of power located at 660 AM. In 1977, CJAM was established, previously it had been known as CSRW (Canada Student Radio Windsor). With the name in place CJAM broadcasted on the AM radio band until November of 1983, where it was established as an FM station located at 9.15 FM in the Windsor/Detroit area. CJAM’s first power increase occurred in 1996, where it grew in strength from 50 watts to 500 watts allowing the station to be heard on a greater scale in Windsor and Detroit surrounding areas. In 2009, CJAM FM switched radio frequencies to 99.1 FM, establishing themselves as a campus/community station with “protected status” from the CRTC.
In terms of programming, CJAM provides a wide variety of programming that is just not heard on mainstream radio. In addition to the music programs, which cover everything from jazz to punk and beyond, there are also spoken word programs and ethno-cultural programs that provide views from all perspectives in different languages. Without a station like CJAM, many different community groups, artists and musicians would not be heard and would get lost in the mainstream shuffle of media coverage. Although the Internet has greatly improved awareness of underground artists, bands and differing points of view, whether political or otherwise, there is still a disconnect that is similar to the maligning mainstream media. Despite all of this, CJAM continues to thrive and grow with the content it covers. The station’s mandate still stands, which is to provide the community with information and music programming ignored by the mainstream media in the Windsor/Detroit area. CJAM provides you with real music by real people who are volunteer based programmers who love and want to share the music and content with the listeners and community.
CJAM is now at 2,084 watts and broadcasts in a greater radius because of the support it has received from the Windsor/Detroit communities. This year’s pledge drive is no different, CJAM is asking for your continued support. To assist CJAM reach their $30,000 dollar goal and to help CJAM to continue to grow, you can donate and show your support today. CJAM offers a wide variety of incentives as a thank you for your donation, which can be viewed on their website. This can be done by calling 519-971-3630 (in Windsor) or 1-855-DIG-CJAM (1-855-344-2526 in Detroit and out of town) or by donating securely via PayPal on cjam’s website at www.cjam.ca.
1. Nick Lowe - Shake And Pop
2. Iceage - Simony
3. Teenanger - The Sequel
4. Thirsty Souls - Don’t Know What I Don’t Know (Yeah!)
5. James O-L & The Villains - One Horse Town (CJAM Session)
6. Monomyth - Pac Ambition
7. Chad Vangaalen - Evil
8. Chris Crossroads - Monster In The Cradle (Live CJAM Session)
9. Chris Crossroads - 20 Eyes (Live CJAM Session)
10. Chris Crossroads - Jian GhoPesci (Live CJAM Session)
11. The Black Angels - Call To Arms
12. The Stooges - 1969 (John Cale Mix)
13. Neil Jarvis - Last Song
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 1. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs most recent full-length outing features a six-piece band and a larger production sound. Echoing elements of power pop mixed with garage rock, Coffey’s vocal style has been likened to Joe Strummer and at times the music resonates with the influence of the Ramones, Elvis Costello & The Attractions and The Replacements, among others. The album opens with the title track “Gates Of Hell”, while the imagery of some of the album’s song titles portray darker connotations, the slicker production style combined with catchy hooks proves to be a vicious combination. The opening moments of this song and the album begin with a bell ringing before a speeding car brings us into an attack of cleaner guitars, bass, drums and looming organ which boils underneath the song like an engine. The opening words of the song snarl with attitude reminiscent of Exploding Hearts vocalist Adam Cox mixed with a young Johnny Rotten. Lyrically the song uses its biblical imagery to portray a relationship gone wrong, this powerful opener introduces us to several of the sounds that we will find on Gates Of Hell. The song wavers with upbeat and slower tempos as it builds to a powerful close with rambunctious group vocals that echo the words “I’m alright somebody sing it with me.”
“Hold Me Close” features country styled guitar lines alongside power pop rhythms. Drawing comparisons to The Clash, The Jam and perhaps a bit of The Black Lips, the Iron Lungs mix this with their sleazy charm and lyrics “If you can dance/Hold me close/Hold me closer” projecting a simple, yet effective message. “Get Pumped Up” blends the 60s organ driven sounds of garage rock with the spirit of 70s punk, the faster tempos here are reminiscent of a fast paced Elvis Costello & The Attractions live recording. Sam Coffey sings this catchy track in an almost drunken drawl, while “Season Of The Witch” with driving drums and echo drenched vocals conjures up images and themes of the raved up sounds once brought forth by The Sonics “The Witch” and Lollipop Shoppe’s 1968’s garage punk nugget “You Must Be A Witch”. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs take these aforementioned sounds and adds echo, dizzying organ and guitar solos for raunchy effectiveness.
Four of the album’s tracks were recorded with Ben Cook of the band Fucked Up. Sam Coffey covered the rest of the production, recording in the band’s practice space and a variety of other locations adding to the album’s character, as he has done with previous Iron Lungs recordings. Gates Of Hell covers a lot of topics lyrically and musically adds to the Iron Lungs palate. Sam Coffey originally from Waterloo, Ontario, recently relocated to Toronto and expanded his band to a six piece group. More people in the band means there could be more complication in the overall sound of the group. The band does not fall into this trap here. The band’s sound may have expanded with more members and higher production values, but on Gates Of Hell, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs deliver an album that deals with many hellish complex subjects, whether metaphorically or bluntly throughout the album’s lyrical content. Musically they still keep the rowdy, pub-crawl spirit that drew us to them in the first place.
Check out the interview I did with Sam Coffey here:
Saturday Night Play List:
1. Link Wray - Hold It
2. The Vagrants - Oh Those Eyes
3. Personal & The Pizzas - Pepperoni Eyes
4. Carbonas - Trapped In Hell
5. Brazilian Money - Then You’ll Know
6. Cream - N.S.U.
7. Ausmuteants - Tunnel Vision
8. King Tuff - Black Moon Spell
9. The Shangri-Las - Give Him A Great Big Kiss
10. Television - Venus De Milo (Live)
11. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Gates Of Hell
Sam Coffey Interview
12. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Season Of The Witch
13. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Heavy On Queen Street
14. Demolition Doll Rods - Psycho Kitty
15. Paul Jacobs - Waiting For The Grave
16. Mekons - Abernant 1984/5
17. Stompin’ Tom Connors - Love’s Not The Only Thing
18. Bob Dylan & The Band - 900 Miles From My Home
19. Woody Guthrie - Pretty Boy Floyd
20. Tweedy - Low Key
21. Nap Eyes - No Man Needs To Care
22. The Ride Theory - I'm On Board
23. Japanese Treats - Color Glo
24. Bell Peppers - Batman
25. The Spitz - Ask Your Mother
26. The Cramps - Aloha From Hell
27. The MC5 - Motor City Is Burning
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 25. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
“The Crusher” is a song that first appeared on the Standing In The Spotlight album by Dee Dee King. This was the first solo outing for Dee Dee Ramone in 1989, but it was a rap album created shortly after his departure from the Ramones. The album is infamous for its 80s styled rhymes about “Mashed Potato Time”, “Commotion In The Ocean” among other things. “The Crusher” is a song that deals with a wrestler attempting to become a champion or “king of the ring” as Dee Dee sings. The song features guitar not unlike the sounds heard on the Ramones Too Tough To Die album first released in 1984, with words rapped instead of sung. The chorus has even drawn comparisons to the song “Wart Hog”. This song is one of the standout tracks on Standing In The Spotlight, which is known for being a commercial flop. Dee Dee King released a single prior to this called "Funky Man", but shortly after this album’s release Dee Dee gravitated away from rap and formed a punk rock band called The Spikey Tops. “The Crusher” was re-recorded by Ramones for their 1995 album !Adios Amigos!
Saturday Night Play List:
1. Them - Go On Home Baby
2. Unrelated Segments - Story Of My Life
3. The Trashmen - Bird Dance Beat
4. Ronnie Spector - She Talks To Rainbows
5. The Dictators - Baby Let’s Twist
6. Generation X - Day By Day
7. Ex-Hex - Everywhere
8. Thurston Moore - The Best Day
9. Art Bergmann - Ballad Of A Crooked Man
10. Frankie & Jimmy - Down The Dirt Road Blues
11. The Wailers - Mashi
12. The Pistolrays - Night Drive
13. Legato Vipers - Talkback Mikhial
14. James O-L & The Villains - Kill The Devil
15. The Replacements - Customer
16. The Replacements - Hanging Downtown
17. Beach Boys - You’re So Good To Me
18. Creatures - Ugly Thing
19. Paul Revere & The Raiders - Just Like Me
20. Sunsets - The Hot Generation (Soundtrack Version)
21. King Cobb Steelie - Slump
22. The Young Canadians - Sharpshooter (Live 1979)
23. The Nelsons - Black Knight
24. The Dik Van Dykes - Garage Sale
25. White Fence - Raven On White Cadillac
26. The Misfits - Vampira
27. Dee Dee King - The Crusher
28. The Dirty Nil - Wrestle Yu To Husker Du
29. Coachwhips - Like Food, It Feeds
30. Allah-Las - Every Girl
31. Ty Segall - It’s Over
32. Young Rival - Black Popcorn
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 18. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, October 04, 2014
Toronto’s Teenanger released their fourth album EP LP on September 9th, 2014, featuring Chris Swimmings (vocals), Melissa Ball (bass), Jon Schouten (guitar) and Steve Sidol on drums. EP LP comes shortly after 2013’s Singles Don’t $ell which featured the band exploring the deeper elements of the new wave and post punk genres of the late 70s/early 80s. The album’s title once again is a play on music release formats, this one being EP LP, a release in the middle of a full-length album and an EP perhaps. Its title could also be seen as the band’s sound on this release, which is a cross between 2012’s Frights & 2013’s Singles Don’t $ell. Musically the album is aggressive and at times more relaxed, but it still has an undeniable sleazy grime to it.
“Fly On The Wall” starts off this release from Teenanger. The song displays the band’s wiry post punk influenced garage sound, while lyrically it conveys something else. With words such as “You’re just a fly on the wall/You eavesdrop” and other themes that pop up in the verses of this track, it seems to be a comment on our social media dominated society. “Sky Saxon” attacks with its synthesizer-like riffs and lyrics that seem to be homage to The Seeds front man Sky Saxon lyrically, as it addresses his popularity as opposed to Michael Jackson. “Twisted” bends with its deep bass groove that locks in with the drums as the guitar fills in the gaps, while vocalist Chris Swimmings sings in a lower register. The song is also notable for its saxophone solo, which clocks in around the one minute and 30 second mark. The solo sounds eerily reminiscent of the saxophone in post punk band Magazine’s early song “My Mind Ain’t So Open”.
The final track on EP LP is the slow and sludgy “Hot Rods At The Loser Convention”. As the primal bass and drums pound away and the guitars slice and stab in the background, Swimmings sings of cliques, jocks and so called “cool” kids in a sneering satirical tone. Some are calling this track a loser anthem. The sound on this album is one that is difficult to describe specifically, it is the sound of a band in their element. On EP LP the new wave/post punk influence from previous albums is still apparent, but there seems to be more voluminous guitar riffs that are like shards of shrapnel. Basslines sound thick and at times fuzz addled, as analog sounding drums, snotty vocals by Chris Swimmings and backing vocals provided by Melissa Ball add to the overall battlefield of dynamics found here. With EP LP Teenanger does not misfire. Throughout this nine-track launch the band hones their sound and are right on target.
Listen to the interview that I did with Teenanger vocalist Chris Swimmings here:
Note: The album review in this post was previously posted here.
Saturday Night Play List:
1. The Seeds - Try To Understand
2. The Arrogants - Drunky Blues
3. Motel Beds - These Are The Days Gone By
4. The Gruesomes - Hypnotized
5. Crazy Rhythm Daddies - Deep Ellum Blues
6. The Nature Boys - Can’t Think
7. The Rural Alberta Advantage - This City
8. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Communication
9. Iceage - The Lord's Favorite
10. White Lung - Just For You
11. Metz - Rats
12. Teenanger - Fly On The Wall
13. Teenanger - Sky Saxon
Teenanger Chris Swimmings Interview
14. Teenanger - Power Trip
15. King Tuff - Sick Mind
16. DOA -New Age
17. Verdix - Lookin’ Around You
18. Female Hands - Annarea
19. Cellos - Mass Production Scheme
20. King Khan & The Shrines - Darkness
21. The Sonics - Don’t You Just Know It
22. Ex-Hex - Hot And Cold
23. Tweedy - World Away
24. The Oblivians - Call The Police
25. The Adverts - Quick Step
26. The Ruts -Bablylon’s Burning
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 4. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
The Allah-Las second full-length album, Worship The Sun, delves into a 60s California atmosphere. Blending their previous elements of the British Invasion sound, 60s psychedelics and American garage, the band also adds in hazy rhythms of folk and more surf sounds this time. Worship The Sun features a very laidback and leisurely sound that isn’t always as up-tempo as 2012’s Allah-Las release. This is what sets Worship The Sun apart from their first full-length release and is also what perhaps confuses some critics. The laidback sounds found here are highly influenced by a relatable, but sunbaked 60’s California sound, perhaps more so than when it was first explored in 2012.
“De Vida Voz” starts off Worship The Sun with heavy drones of garage feedback before launching into catchy surf and garage rhythms. Its title roughly translates into “the voice of life” as reverb drenched vocals repeat the lines “Voices carry through the canyon”. This album features many lyrics that some might call soul-searching and this song starts it off displaying elements that we will find in the remaining eleven tracks. “Had It All” brings to mind 60s psychedelic garage nuggets with catchy harmonies and Latin drum rhythms. This song blends Allah-Las early sound and new sound perfectly. “Artifact” seems to pull influence from The Chocolate Watch Band, while “Ferus Gallery” shows us the first of two instrumental tracks found on Worship The Sun (the other being the surf and slide guitar country of “Yemeni Jade”).
Worship The Sun draws on influence from many bands that sound familiar, yet different at the same time. Throughout the album the sounds of The Animals, The Zombies, The Byrds and Love seem to filter in and out, while newer influences are also brought in. This is evident on the album’s final track “Better Than Mine”, which sounds like the early country rock sounds of Buffalo Springfield. The CD and digital editions of Worship The Sun also comes with two bonus tracks. There is another instrumental track, this time a cover of The Frantics song “No Werewolf” and another original track “Every Girl”, which attacks with a 60s garage clang. As a whole Worship The Sun plays into its title featuring a focused sound indebted to sunny 60s California, but with this sound Allah-Las display a new laidback sound and approach that takes a few listens to sink in. Once it does it stays with you like a vintage ride in a Volkswagen Beetle along the West Coast.
Saturday Night Play List:
1. Mark Sultan - Shadow With The Golden Eyes
2. The Amazing Snakeheads - The Nighttime
3. Echo & the Bunnymen - The Yo-Yo Man
4. What Seas What Shores - Bonaparte
5. Deerhunter - Cryptogram
6. Christian Bland & The Revelators - The Last Summer
7. Johnny West - Murder Dressed As Mercy
8. Neil Young - On The Beach
9. Leonard Cohen - Diamonds In The Mine
10. Mexican Knives - Turner
11. Big Black - The Model
12. The Unusuals - Measure For Measure
13. Frank Black - Whatever Happened To Pong?
14. La Luz - Brainwash
15. Allah-Las - 501-415
16. Allah-Las - Better Than Mine
17. The Dead Kennedys - Kill The Poor
18. Link Wray - Radar
19. The New Dimensions - Junker
20. The Cramps - Blue Moon Baby
21. Devo - Praying Hands
22. The Psychedelic Furs - Fall
23. Iggy Pop - Five Foot One
25. Paul Jacobs - Soul Catcher
26. Thee Oh Sees - Ugly Man
27. Public Image Limited - Lowlife
28. Magazine - My Mind Ain’t So Open
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 27. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.