Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blood From A Stone

More Norton Records goodness!!!

Our love of Daddy Long Legs is well documented, they had our Best Record of the Year back in the day, and well deserved.  And the fury and sound don't quit on their second full-length, Blood From A Stone.

Norton's a weird label, truth be told, for Daddy Long Legs' brand of shakin' shack hollerin' blooze, but that's ok, cuz Norton knows it's shit more than just about any other label out there, and Daddy Long Legs, a Noo Yowk band, pretty much captures the scuzz of city livin' and transports that meme into a rollickin' road trip through blasted mustard-toned wheat and cotton rear-view window breeze.  These cats have been touring the South, and we're fascinated to see what mighty sounds results.

But to the rekkid at hand, Blood From a Stone, fuck me to the great Mississippi...

Kicking off with "Long John's Jump", and a blast of harmonica destruction, courtesy of the 15 foot tall vocalist and harp genuis, Brian Hurd (Thee Daddy Long Legs himself), the rekkid blows the roof off the roadhouse from the get-go, laying waste to the countryside with a hollerin' scuzzblooze workout, in'n'out in 2 and half minutes (the way the good lord intended for songs to last), guitarist Murat Akturk  forging a blasted boogie and drummer Josh Styles going nasty tribal on skins oiled with dirty human body parts, Hurd eventually coming in with a vocal equal parts Howlin' Wolf and Beelzebub.

That trend continues on the next track, "Big Road Blues" (a filthy-sounding tune, all drenched in yowling vocals and harp, burning wheels on midnight highway), "Take It Home" (a hand-clappin' tent revival raving foot stomper), the sleaze leather rave-up "Motorcycle Madness", and the snortin', ramshackle "Flesh Eating Cocaine Blues".  Fuck me, it's loud, fast and out of control, consarnit!

"New York City", another barn destroyer, give a shout out to a hometown haunted by evil, distortion-ridin' goblins, and features "whooooooos" worthy of Esquerita. 

It aint all nasty trash, though...."Chains-A-Rattlin'" is a drone stompin'  meditation on mortality and loss of freedom, "10,000 Miles" has a noir desert cowtonk vibe and "Catch You Down the Trail" closes the rekkid with a brief yet effecting lament, juxtaposed with the final line "...we'll see you all in hell".

And that about says it.  The band, a 3-piece, blows yr speakers with sonic jukejoint joy, wailing and stomping, harmonica blasting gravel roads into dirt tracks leading to an overhang of weeping willows, moonlight shining on a slow moving river, the barges battlin' with drift and silt.  That skiff oared by Huckleberry on a meth binge, throbbing speakers disturbin' gators and skeeters, the loud sound, the groove, the dirty down low.

Man, these cats know how to kick yr ass.

Grab this rekkid now... before we have to say we told you so...

Daddy Long Legs: Long John's Jump (mp3)

Support yr local independent artists!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Ears Wide Shut

Special treat for ya'll this week.  This is Norton Records Week!!! Norton Records is one of thee great labels out there,  It's all about the rawk'n'roll, baby!!!  Leather jacket sounds (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), geetar groove, bashin' trashin',  and soul, baby soul, the loud sound abounds, lay on the floor sweatin' drops of sex and desperation, hollerin' teenage kicks and kickin' in (Kicks!) windows while the platter spins and the needle gets dirty on shout and shimmy rawk, mofo, rawk!!!!!  And you can cry 96 tears, but they might not be enough.

Norton Records kills yr hipster stereo with classic vinyl re-issues of lost classics, new rekkids of fellow travelers, 7''s (or 45's, depending on your mileage) of blasted sonic joy, and an aesthetic that is sadly missing from almost any other rekkid label.  Hollerin'!!!!


Norton has released 3 new Rawk classics, and we're here to testify, brothers and sisters!  So...let's lay down the fat bottom with the OG's....Billy Miller's and Miriam Linna's mighty A-Bones!!!

Founders of Norton Records (via other venues which you can research yrselves), Billy and Miriam are, yes, are,  the A-Bones...with Bruce Bennett of course,  and they've been rawkin' our lives for nigh on 30 years now, without any dip in terms of snotty fuck you rawk'n'roll.  And they've got a new rekkid out, Ears Wide Shut (with an able assist from the genius Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo)).

Legend suggests this rekkid was recorded in one day (produced by Yo La Tengo's James McNew) at a rehearsal space (Superb Owl), and live in one take...which is exactly what the world needs.  The first track alone, a cover of Heinz's "Questions I Can't Answer" , kicks off with the words "ready" and a squalling spooge-soaked geetar freakout before turning on the jets and blasting out a screaming rawk slab of sonic goodness, with a frenzy of snot vocals and tribal pounding, it leaves yr speakers destroyed and panting post-orgasmic trashcan copulation.

And that's just the beginning.  Running through a range of covers (some of which, we have to shame-facedly admit, we had to research) and a couple of originals, the rekkid clocks in under 40 minutes (remember when that was the proper time for an LP to last?) and that's a recommendation.  Complete and utter destruction, loudnfastnouttacontrol, distorted back and forth vocals between Ms. Linna, Mr. Miller, and Mr. Kaplan (see, particularly "Luci Bains", an out and out destroyer),  beat, beat, beat in primal sex explosion, oh yeah, everything gonna be allright, skronking sax (courtesy of Stan Zenkoff), organ, electric piano abuse, nasty and dangerous.  Dangerous is important.

It's hard to single out a single song (other than the ones mentioned above)'s such a piece of brief rawk...but "Little School Boy" with a lead by Miriam Linna (wailing to the break of dawn) and "Catahoula Stomp" (with insane organ) are contenders.  As are "Just a Little Bit of You", with it's menace and "Tulane", travelling dark highways. (next week, we'll have new favorites!).

The A-Bones are your favorite band, even if you didn't know it!  Man, we're sweaty just thinking about the rekkid, daddy-o!

If you want a sample, head to Norton Records!    Best Record of the Year so far...

Thanks for stoppin' by!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Another round of our Greatest Song Ever Written (at least for today)!

A greasy (our favorite word) slab of organ funk with blaring horns and a sermonizin' intro (though the subject of the sermon might not be exactly religious in nature) courtesy of the The Memphis Soul Band and released in 1969 on the aptly named rekkid Soul Cowboy (now that's a rekkid title!).

This is a tune to get yr ass down low and yr spirit soaring!  Deep groove, daddy-o!  Wiggle and shimmy to the break of dawn!

The Memphis Soul Band: Testify (I Wanna) (mp3)

More good stuff comin' (for realz, yo!)....Support yr local independent rekkid stores.  The rawk'n'Soul abideth!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Interplanetary Music

Today marks the 100th birthday of the greatest musician ever to come from Saturn.

Sun Ra came to earth 100 years ago, on May 22nd, 1914.  He left us, to return to more celestial climes on May 30, 1993. His work was done here, and Saturn was calling him home.

In his time here, Sun Ra adopted Jazz as his muse, but incorporated every style of music that we earthlings could comprehend (Doo Wop, Rawk, Soul, R'n'B,  even, gasp, a little Country trope here and there) and infused his night-sky gazing philosophy into a vision that was broad and singular.

Space was the place.

An amalgamation of sounds that only an Alien could coalesce...a Man from Saturn, gracing us so briefly with the echoes of music bouncing off planets and pinging the void in-between.  Difficult sometimes, not easy listening (can we comprehend the rhythms of another world?), and then veering into groove (like rings) freakout drone sound.  Not to forget the straight-ahead, earthbound compositions, that are the easy entry into Sun Ra's world.

Sun Ra's discography is broad, and encapsulates hundreds of rekkids and styles.  Every step taken is a revelation of sound.  There is no way to pin him down.

Saturn loaned him to us briefly, in this small burning candle of Earthly life.  They needed him back, and they took him.  But not without a legacy that is mighty and astonishing.  His influence can be heard, particularly in the Rawk (unbroken) circles...from Flying Saucer Attack to Spacemen 3.  From 13th Floor Elevators to Galaxie 500.  From John Coltrane to Pharaoh Sanders.

We travel the Spaceways Together, indeed.

Happy 100th birthday, Sun Ra, whatever Galaxy you roam!

(there's no way we could encapsulate the full spectrum of Sun Ra's's just a few our favorites, at least for today. Under no circumstances should this be construed as anything close to defininitive)

Sun Ra: We Travel the Spaceways (mp3)

Sun Ra Arkestra: Nuclear War (mp3)

Sun Ra: I'm Gonna Unmask the Batman (mp3)

Sun Ra Arkestra: Springtime in Chicago (mp3)

Please support your local, independent musicians from Saturn.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Baseball Boogie

Opening Day!!!!  My beloved Pirates may (or may not, gotta cover our, ahem, bases) not suck for a second straight year!

Baseball is a weird many hopes and dreams caught up over a 162-game's the beauty of the game.  We root for that which identifies us on almost every night of the Spring/Summer/Fall.  It's a long, protracted demand on our attention span.  Yet we identify, whether it be the lovable losers or the ascendant team with money and talent to burn (but always fails expectation).  Somewhere there is a magical formula, and nobody has quite figgered it our yet.

The green grass, the clean, for now, uniforms, the tiny white ball that can perform magic in the air when released.  A bat and a person, standing with purpose, defying the laws of gravity.  The mystical catch, sliding and glove up.  The sailing home run, beyond the reach of fans.  The small ball glory of a grounder into a double or triple play.  The bloop that sends a runner home. The slide and hustle of a stolen base. The fans, hats turned upside down and backward, believing, as if the very collective can will the course of fate.

And, of course, we all hate the Yankees, except, of course, for the great players they've fielded...them we jealousy respect.

Baseball.  The stuff of fields of dreams.  No time clock, no metronome.  Just the moment...batter vs. pitcher...the age-old conflict.

The tip of the hat, then.

A Six Pack, then (because baseball and beer are eternally entwined).  Some of our favorites.  Enjoy.

And Roberto Clemente will always be the greatest Baseball player who ever lived!

The Baseball Project: Chin Music (mp3)

Treniers: Say Hey! (The Willie Mays Song) (mp3)

Del Reeves: Philadelphia Fillies (mp3)

Marah: Rain Delay (mp3)

Billy Bragg and Wilco: Joe DiMaggio Done It Again (mp3)

Mabel Scott: Baseball Boogie (mp3)

Support your local farm team!  Who knows what legend will arise!

Monday, March 17, 2014

High on Whiskey, Low On Class

Lots and lots of "alt" country out there.  Conversely, lots and lots of so-called "traditionalists" out there who take a neo track and suppose that their Country band or artist is more real than the band or artist that they disapprove of, mostly based on scene politics.  We all like to feel special about ourselves, and we assume a qualitative stance. 

It's all bullshit. 

At some point there needs to be a come to jesus between all these factions, and we need to allow that a definition can be broad.  Country Music seems to be much in a muddle these days, trying to define itself...from the defenders of Nashville good-time "hat" music to the adherents of the independent pedal steel and fiddle back porch yodelers.  Country Music is a very unique institution, very American in some respects, yet beholden to European musical tropes of old. drank too much.  Yes, you have a pick up truck and a dog.  Yes, he or she cheated on you.  And, yes, you can boot scoot a boogie.  And none of that is represents a very unique take on life.  So wipe it away, kick yr boots up on the dusty stereo and like what ya like...don't let anyone tell ya different.

So, then, The Doghouse Flowers....who will never be yr hipster approved Cowboy band, and that's a good thing, because what Country not static.

Somewhere there's a bar, and you know what bar it is, because you've been there, and you had a great fuckin' time....and the Doghouse Flowers were playin', and they made the soundtrack of your night. Maybe you got laid, maybe you didn't, but you could have....because the band was so goddamn tight and they spoke to you in yr alcoholic haze and the sawdust floor bounced a little, and the dancin' was a right, and she was wearing that gingham dress you loved so much.

On their new rekkid, "Chasing the Sun", Doghouse Flowers conjure a wide open plain, perfect drivin' music, the road long and the soundtrack to sun-up and sundown.  Lead singer Justin Reuther has the yelp and twang of a master, twisting and hollering,  going deep when needed, and cutting loose on the rave-ups.  Like yr favorite whiskey, it's comfortable and familiar, yet always a bit surprising...this cat could put most of Nashville to shame if they didn't rush to embrace.  Yeah, he's that good.  Mike "Buddy" Budde (Drums, vocals), Brian Scheehle (electric guitar), and Jon "Johnny Z" Ziegler (bass, percussion, vocals) form a core of brilliance, swinging when needed, and holding back when the mood demands...a first-class band at the top of form, soundscaping a pick-up truck's worth of boogie and hay-bale stomp.  And we would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the pedal steel brilliance of guest Leroy Deuster and the greasy groove of keys-man Matt Meixner.

All of this holds together in tunesmith, which you don't care does it rawk yr world?  The rekkid kicks off with one-two punch of "Meet Me in Milwaukee" and "Gone", rollicking sand-blasted booze-infused honky-tonkers, good times and regrets.  "So Wrong" swings ya round with a late 60's truckin' passage, and lives up to the promise with a long view.  "Chasing the Sun" is a pedal steel lament of road weary drivin' situation that will break yr heart and leave you holding the one you love. "Too Old To Learn" and "One More Try" are the weepers, sticky vinyl seats and regret...the very thing that raises yr bourbon glass, and wishing you had been so bold as to rise and take the bow.  Finishing off with "All You Have are Yesterdays"...the perfect ending, a rave-up, regret meets defiance, and twanged out into fuzzed out joy.  The very loss into defiance.  Phew.....

It was almost impossible to pick a particular tune to share with we gambled on one. Doghouse Flowers are an independent band that deserves yr love...give it to 'em.  Bar band Country better than you've been led to believe.  It's early yet, of course, but one of the finest releases of this early year!

Doghouse Flowers: Gone (mp3)

Support all artists....put yr money where yr download is!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Insane Asylum

Took some time off after the Xmas and Best of let's kick it!!!

Today, a little relief, with the Best Song Ever Recorded (at least for now)....

Well, it's Willie Dixon with an incredible assist from Koko Tyler...good heavens...jukejoint sleaze meets r'n'b glory....nasty sex 'n' grooving, noir-ish slow organ and down low night-time lovin'....baking bread risin' in sin and Willie and Koko got some creepy ideas, red light district honking and hollerin'...god and the devil and the white coated psychiatric doctor pushing in yr door...mind playin' tricks on ya!

Willie Dixon and Koko Taylor: Insane Asylum (mp3)

No patients were hurt in this post.  Support the artists!

Friday, January 31, 2014

When This Puzzle's Figured Out, Will You Still Be Around

Good gravy, we've got a ton of new shit to cover.  Let's wrap up last year and get on with it!  The Top 10 Records of 2013, according to yr expert witness, The Big Rock Candy Mountain! 

The previous list of records could be shuffled around a bit, depending on listening pleasure, but the following are pretty special, and we're sticking with 'em.  We think they're gonna be albums y'all will return to again and again...there's a reason they place where they do!  We make no apologies for bias, of course.  Some new bands, some old favorites, some surprises. 

As always, support the artists in any way you can.  If we don't, all we're left with is corporate crap.  And who wants that?

Enough blathering...let's get on with it!

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2013 (Part 5)

10. Daniel Romano: Come Cry With Me

A pure country rekkid, heavy on mid-tempo whiskey swillers, echoed in twang.  Lots of pretenders these days, amidst the conrnpone dreck and pseudopunk country that seems all the rage, but this cat's the real deal, crafting true blue honky tonk in the James Hand mode, bathed in a tub of corn liquor, don't be fooled by imitation.  This rekkid, and previous ones as well, has spent many late nights on our playlist, swinging us sad across the dance floor, or soundtracking the darkest moments alone clinking ice against a tumbler.  Without a doubt the best Country rekkid we heard all year, and a boon from the pretense, no juiced-up junk as masquerade...a moving (yes) and "don't let the stars get in your eyes" tribute and furthering of a tradition that speaks back mythically, but hollers forward.  A stunning collection of tunes that sound as fresh and new as dandelions in the snow.

Daniel Romano: Middle Child (mp3)

9. Guadalupe Plata: Guadalupe Plata

Destruction of every trope you wish to adhere to.  A psychedelic Blues masterpiece, but owing nothing to the generic 60's hippie shit you think that applies to.  This is true pysch obliteration, playing the deepest of Mississippi mud and destroying every roadhouse from here to Mars (and beyond).  Fully realized for headphones and splattered truck, a record of incredible power and soul, leavened with trashcan holler and wail. Bombing the expected with geetar  strangled and fucked, a voice so distant and so real chewing muddy waters in space suits and rocket fuel. An astonishing debut that only promises even better things.  Get. This. Record. Now.

Guadalupe Plata: Esclavo (mp3)

8. John Paul Keith: Memphis Circa 3 AM and John Paul Keith and Amy LaVere: Motel Mirrors

Well, heck, haven't we already pimped John Paul Keith enough times?  Well no, we haven' let's continue.  The Last Great Songwriter, the man who has the hook you can't deny, and the swing that is pure perfection.  His record Memphis Circa 3 AM is a must...a swoozled mixed drink stirrer, the end of night dancer and lothario.  Pure cowpop'n' Memphis desire.  The record demands a longer review.....But here's the kicker....His all-too-brief record with Amy LaVere is an even better slice of brilliance...Here's a portion of what we wrote before...

Some posit that the proper "duet" record is dead, with too many one-song, 10-line "collaborations" and not enough meat.  Motel Mirrors is the perfect prescription for that kind of thinking.

The record is too short, only 7 songs, it's an EP.  That would be our only criticism.  We wanted more.  Much more.  But perhaps that's a good thing.  Always leave your audience hungry.  And hungry we are.  It's a stunner, perfect in it's brevity and astonishing in scope. 
Amy LaVere has a voice that will break your heart, partly because she demands you love her, shy and demure one moment.  And partly because she aint takin' no shit from ya, cool and detached when demanded.  It's a great weapon, sultry and detached, warm and inviting, sometimes all in one line.  And it plays perfectly to John Paul Keith's classic vocal style, a southern twang and Holly hiccup.   We haven't heard such a perfect pairing since George and Tammy, Prine and DeMent, Dolly and Porter.  Their voices entangle into a classic combo of kiss-off and love.

Every track on this EP is perfect, and we can't pick a favorite.
So..there's that...

John Paul Keith and Amy LaVere: Dearest (mp3)

7. Obnox: Corrupt Free Enterprise LP Three Times Dope 7",   Canabible Ohio 2X 7"Smoke Woody Haze EP

An artist of unparalled brilliance.  Putting Bob Pollard to shame in terms of sheer output, Obnox, (aka "Bim")  has played with both The Bassholes and the Puffy Areolas...not counting his solo and collaborative efforts outside of our linking(which we're gonna cover soon..full credits coming....)....What Obnox does is destroy your speakers with a phalange of sound...from Soul to Hip Hop to Trash and nasty Blues.  Over a slew of releases, Lamont Thomas has redefined expectation, and fucked with yr head, spinning transistor crackle into full fledged rawk'n'roll....Cleveland trashy and dirty, a swim in nuclear water, grooved and filthy, expressway to yr skull....we've got more to say on this cat...but for now...revel, record and rejoice in a singular vision, a singular artist who could give a good fuck about your comfort....Grab every damn rekkid you can....You'll be sorry if you missed 'em....

Obnox: Raindrops (mp3)

6. The Hooten Hallers: Chillicothe Fireball

The day...Deep Blues Fest 2013....Dangerous storms arriving...80 mile per hour apocalyptic torrent a'comin', like a prophet, shredded rags and oil cloth spill.....The Hooten' Hallers  unplugged from the sparking sockets and proceeded to bash and trash the living fuck out of the darkened, neon-cell phone lit crowd...alone against the raging tide.  The stuff of legend, sure, if the record didn't match the unholy tide...but the record does....kicking corn liquor into the corner, two insane men bleeding for your sins...a holy hootenanny of shouted and drum'n' geetar madness, taking you down the wrong alley, your wallet open and emptied, the echo of  a moment of transcendence buzzing in the transistor of your mind...a gutbucket shake 'n' holler backporch revival. 

The Hooten Hallers: O, Jolene! (mp3)

5. Bloody Ol' Mule: Grady County Kitchen Table Tapes Vol, 1/ A Gentleman In Your Home Of Ill Repute: The Anthology/ To The Delapidated Dreamers All Ghost Like and Dreaming

Shilo Brown, aka Bloody O'l Mule of the most important artists out there...It's hard to keep up with his releases as he's incredibly prolific, with no drop in quality.  Quite the opposite.

As a published author and owner of a bookstore (where we would love to shop...he's got perfect taste), Brown finds the tiniest nuances in place and character, and scans the darkest realms of humanity and finds the core of being.  This carries into his music, a one-man-band of incredible range and power.   From raging cowpunk stompers about "truck stop whores" and booze-soaked bad behavior, to songs about god and the devil, to back porch laments and slow, easy dissections of lost love and desperate times, Bloody Ol' Mule maps the state of life, pushing you to dance the night away and also take solace in the space between moments, those moments when, sitting in yr chair with whiskey in hand, you watch the world at 2 AM...crickets or cars, fire on the mountain, dusty nature, or the blackness of the soul. 

We hope to have an interview and full post on Bloody Ol' Mule up soon...for now, just take our word for it (have we ever steered you wrong?).  Below are two tunes that, while  hardly even close to representative, will give you a taste.

We're not joking when we suggest his importance...This cat's the real deal. 

Bloody Ol Mule: Holy Ghost Power (mp3)

Bloody Ol Mule: Something About Those Pretty Girls Tonight (mp3)

4. White Trash Blues Revival: Now Honey Now Baby Now Listen

The rumor is that the sessions that produced this rekkid was paid for by these cats from Fort Wayne winning a "Worst Band Competition".  We can only speculate what the audience was for that show.  Probably a bunch of REO Speedwagon douchebags.  Editorial on that aside...

White Trash Blues Revival use homemade instruments....The geetar,  (a "Skiddely-bo") is a skateboard  with strings.  The bass  is a broom with rope, played upright, natch.  And the drums are hubcaps, old metal kegs, cardboard boxes,  tinfoil and any other kind of bucket or item to pound on.  And it is glorious.  A tribute to the actual musical skill of the band...transforming into a greasy and highly rhythmic cacophony of rode hard, dick up, pussy wet sweat and shiver party til the break of dawn, the furthest fields of Mississippi plowed under, and tradition respected and fucked with.  The history of the Blues, and numerous other forms of music, is rich with the creation of "at hand" instrumentation.  And these cats carry that scarred and blackened torch forward, the fields on fire.

Again, we can't stress enough the sheer dirty and devil-raising boogie that ensues.

Their live show is becoming the stuff of legend (occasionally joined by "Sausage Paw" of Left Lane Cruiser  on additional percussion (sit back and imagine that!!!!))

This brief record is only a hint at what's to come.  We can't wait...

White Trash Blues Revival: Dimestore Salvation (mp3)

3. T. Valentine and Daddy Long Legs: The Vampire

Last year we named the Daddy Long Legs rekkid, "Evil Eye on You" the best record of the year.  Nothing has changed our opinion on that.  And now they're back...not only back but "backing", as in settin' up the mighty and legendary T. Valentine on this slab of garage r'n'b...deeply sinister, nasty, devilish and greasy in all the right ways.  The band lay down some seriously funky and ground-down swampy grooves to accentuate Valentine's Dadaist rants on sex and the supernatural....the subject not for the faint of heart or the pale of rawk!  A grit-dirty rampage on yr ass, making it move so low down the floor looks like up!  Hands down, thee party record of the year, if yr soul aint dead and yr spirit still moves to the filthy rhythms and hollerin' sleaze of life.  Get sweaty, get juiced, git down!

T. Valentine and Daddy Long Legs: Shake Your Funky A-S-S! (mp3)

2. Georgiana Starlington: Paper Moon

A stunning for the ages...we'll go ahead and quote what we already said about this piece of perfection...

There's a special place in the world for the "burnt desert" song...a world of sneaky rattlesnakes and echoed canyon noir, songs of traveling and dust, the cactus dry yet alive, the kicking vintage truck transporting all manner of bad behavior and innocence freighted belief.  Where the laws of men  inhabit the expected, and the pistol could jam with sand and the Mariachi band is playing not for profit but for survival.  The outpost is an empty tank away, the beer is on ice, melting, and the lizards are scrambling, hissing and flared.  Step into the sepia-toned light, then, with bleached bones and death rattle and cosmic, red-hued hum..Georgiana Starlington.

Not a person, but a band.  The darkest twilight criss-crossed lightning across the plains, finding the patter of a windstorm on vagabond tin-roof porch, beat beat beat the rhythm of safety and danger, lone yet part of the mythology of the West.  Georgiana Starlington is made up of  husband and wife Jack and Julie Hines (also of the mighty K-Holes), along with Daniel Sheerin on  drums and percussion , Andy Curtin on pedal steel, and Vashti Windish on singing saw. Their record, Paper Moon (out on Hozac),  occupies the space inbetween the raindrops.  The curdled muddy footsteps of bad deeds and the sinister sway of hardboiled regret.  Jack and Julie trade vocals, occasionally as cow-noir duets, his voice a bourbon ramble, hers a gauzy gingham chanteuse, and surround themselves with hazy blanched rhythms and sound.  A rumbled sand-surf guitar line, lonesome desperate pedal steel, the keening of a singing saw, midnight church harmonica.  All hymns of hazy, steepled mesas. 

Georgiana Starlington: Dry As A Bone (mp3)

1. Oblivians: Desperation

It's been 16 years since the last blast of snotty joy from America's last great Rawk'n'Roll band.  Jesus.  Really?  You couldn't tell from this record.

The members of the band, Jack'n'Greg'n'Eric (last names "Oblivian" of course) have kept themselves busy over the last 16 years:  Starting an essential record label (Goner, dontcha know), forming a seminal band (Reigning Sound,naturally) and creating killer solo rekkids that seem to make our list of favorites every goddamn year (Jack, of course, who remains my favorite) probably shouldn't work, getting back together "officially" (they've been playing together on and off over many years)...but, sweet honey in the rock, it does, oh so deliciously.

We could go on about history 'n' all dat, but that's what the Wiki thing is for (and deserves a full post, not a "brief" record review)...but trying to give a modicum of context...but, who cares?  The record, then...

A sonic blast, buzzing transistor trash, killing eardrums with buzzsaw mud and attitude...fuck the man tribal destructo guitar and teenage thrill.  Each member trading hollerin' vocals over neon-bathroom light punk sneer, walking back alleys with swagger, and sometimes folks forget how soulful the Oblivians can be, inserted into garbage can bashing, the last band at the end of the world.

Rawkn'nRoll, baby...don't get any better...the garage doors open, and the smell of booze and sex seeping into the street, leather jacket with collar up, cigarette dangling, cheapest beer in crushed can, your heart will be broken, but fuck that shit....the soundtrack to every night on the street, middle finger proudly up.  And you're broken-hearted and pissed, smash yr head against the punk rock.

We're sure the band would resist any attempt to label, but maybe calling this a rock'n'roll record will be enough...there's a little Country here, a little soul and r'n'b (all filtered through distortion and snot).  But it's exactly what you need to shake and shimmy and pogo the night away.

Fuck the man, fuck indie lameness, fuck corporate bullshit.  The Oblivians are back, baby, and they're not compromising...Garage/Trash/Soul/Cowboy/Snot/Punk/Rawk...however you want to call 'em...

The best record of the year, not even close..and you deserve this...yes you do.  If rawk is to die, then it dies with this record.  Don't blame the Oblivians...they kicked yr muthafuckin' ass!

Oblivians: I'll Be Gone (mp3)

Thanks...we'll be back soon with more love!

Monday, January 13, 2014

If I Break In Two, Will You Put Me Back Together

Wildly careening our way towards the end of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2013, with Day 4 on tap today!  Warning: Things get a little loud this time around, but ya knew that was coming. 

Some old favorites pop up (hey, it aint our fault they keep making brilliant records...once they become million sellers, we'll maybe give 'em a rest...until then...).  Some new cats make the list.  And a very influential band makes a triumphant return. 

The final Top Ten (coming soon!)  should provide y'all with some nifty surprises (Country fans...we haven't forgotten ya!), so hang on to yr wigs!!!

Now, on with the show...

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2013, Part 4!

20. The Jeffrey Lewis and Pete Stampfel Band: Hey, Hey It's...

Noted anti-folkie (whatever the hell means, these days) Jeffrey Lewis teams up with the legendary Peter Stampfel (of the The Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs) for a record of sheer unadulterated hoedown, loose and joyous, but subversive as well.  Plenty of fiddle do-si-do abounds, so shout along and grab yr nearest partner and swing 'em round and round the back porch!

The Jeffrey Lewis and Pete Stampfel Band: Hey Hey (mp3)

19. San Dusky and Brijitte West: The American Dream

A modern sand-noir cowboy record, collecting the "Americana" recordings by Brijitte West, a fully realized vision that highlights West's astonishing voice, now with added twang.  Subtle electronic touches burble deep in the mix, like water from a cactus, but the instrumentation is pure barroom honky tonk via Bloodshot rawkpunk.  Highlighting the depth of West's songwriting (she's a true storyteller) and her Neko-like voice, we were suitably (sawdust) floored by this rekkid.  Essential and howling at the moon!

San Dusky and Brijitte West: Lonely Satellite (mp3)

18. Heavy Times: Fix It Alone

An opus of scuzzy GBV sized tracks from notoriously scrungy psychtrash merchants.  Perfect blasts of fuzz and distorto sleaze, the way the good lord intended. 

Heavy Times: American Love (mp3)

17. Possessed By Paul James: There Will Be Times When I'm Lonely

The ultimate lazy summer night bonfire artist, Konrad Wert (aka Possessed By Paul James), a master fiddler and geetarist, drops yet another brilliant record, full of stomping country blues and joyous sing-alongs, leavened by beautiful long dark road workouts of introspection and love.  An artist of enduring hope, Wert seeks the best and the transcendent in every moment, and in these cynical times, his voice is a boon and a salvation, never sappy, never clichéd, but full of wonder.  Stand proud over the flickering flame, embrace the stars, let yourself be transported by the swirling, swinging joy that is a Possessed By Paul James record.  You'll thank us, you'll thank him, and you'll thank the beautiful life around you. 

Possessed By Paul James: 38 Year Old Cocktail Waitress (mp3)

16. Willis Earl Beal: Nobody Knows

A true Renaissance man, Chicagoan Willis Earl Beal defies every category modernity would paint a wall with.  His unique history can be found here....but let's just talk about the record...a soulful piece of work that suggests some of the deepest 70's r'n'b cuts and some of the most modern of soul, from dj spun glamspangle to quiet storm burners....chain gang handclappers and Mississippi dirt farms....trip hop downbeat and bop jazz noir....distorted grunge and gospel salvation....again, defying category.  What could have mess is a complete whole and unique vision that fascinates, moves the loins, and lifts the spirit.  Beal's voice is the highlight, a rubbery deep burnt thing, earthy and starry at once.

A remarkable record that can only hint at further brilliance to come.  We'll follow where he goes.

Willis Earl Beal (with Cat Power): Coming Through (mp3)

15. Ten Foot Polecats: Undertow

The Polecats continue their assault on the Blues, with a wailing and crackling set of deepdeepdeep guitar and hollering fury, burning down the sugar cane with blistering songs that, like a hurricane, lift you up and transport you not to Kansas but to the very heart of the Delta, the mighty Mississippi churned and flooding, undertow indeed, roiling up the muddy bottom into a churning land-breach of filth and magnificence....Jim Chilson may be the most important guitarist out there, strangling sheer godhead out of shale and filth, carrying down the road in a battered Ford full of snakes and salvation.  Jay Scheffler channels the ghost of Howlin' Wolf and all the forgotten spectres of bluesmen who sparked and howled in lost jukejoints long forgotten, a mighty voice in the apocalyptic maelstrom of end of times, a prophet.  Chad Rousseau pounds the skins of ancient civilization, tribal and bleeding, the darkest rhythm a voodoo rite fucking the very corpse of the lost and sanctified.  Combine and verily...the Blues at the end of the world.  And, without any doubt, the best live band out there.  Worship, ye sinners!

Ten Foot Polecats: Moonshine and Mud (mp3)

14. Rev. Tom Frost: Bloody Works

Reverend Frost has been blowing out the roof of Waits/Cramps/Trash inspired music for awhile now...and on this record his voice becomes truly his own...a mélange of horror and sleaze, executed with chilling brilliance, a soundtrack to yr darkest dreams....Bloody, indeed....satan's envoy banging guitar, piano intonation garbage can joy, beating the gore encrusted buckets raw with the stuff of nightmare and bad dreams.  A gloriously loud and infernal barrelhouse boogie sending ya straight to hell, demons and creepy creatures intact!

Rev. Tom Frost: Gotta Travel On (mp3)

13. My Bloody Valentine: mbv

Loveless changed the way we listened to music, blasting crappy stereos to full volume to piss off the neighbors (in our case, fellow dorm room dwellers) a mutant sound that suggested busted speakers and the world stopped to revel in the beauty of sound.  Lo, these many years later My Bloody Valentine return, with no apologies, and further downtuned murals of sound and fury, tinny beats under guitar deconstruction, whispers of vocals fading in and out, Kevin Shields abusing the guitar like no one before, strange and distorted, questioning the very nature of how we hear. 

At long last, then, a triptych...dropped unexpectedly... from soaring Britpop bastrdized to it's burnt ends to psych blowout starved into submission to rhythmic workout tweaked and fucked with, swirled around you...

The speakers are still busted...nobody even comes close....welcome back ye pranksters of sound, holy and obscene...So many contemporary bands owe allegiance....yet none come close to the monster that raised 'em.....yowza!!!!

(MBV does not wish for mp3 samples...their whole record can be heard on youtube, in lo-fi resolution....get the record proper and prepare to lay back and be overwhelmed...perfect headphone music!)

12. Left Lane Cruiser: Rock Them Back To Hell

One of the finest bands around, and a Big Rock Candy Mountain favorite...y'all knew that already.  Continuing their tradition of crafting sonic splatter over Mississippi groove and splutter, deep holler hollerin' and grimy guitar godhead, a maniac behind the drum kit transporting sex and sin into a rumbling tidal wave.  One often forgets how goddam funky they are amidst the shards of muddy bottom sediment.  You can dance, you can swirl, you can throw yr fist in the air, you can set yr beard can eve smoke a little...A hugely transportive rekkid, perfect for parties and long road, white line drivin'....Man, does any other band offer so much rawk and so little crap?  Kick it, motherfuckers.....

Left Lane Cruiser: Neighborhood (mp3)

11. Bloodshot Bill: The Lonesome Road

One of the last of the great greats...Bloodshot Bill (welcome back to the U.S.A.) bends the honky tonk stick into a warped, fuzzy, traditional pretzel, short sharp blasts of Jimmie Rodgers meets Hank meets all yr Buffalo Bop obscurities, killing it with hiccupped laments (lots and lots of "babys") and hootenanny breakdowns.  A real songwriter, which some forget to mention, Bloodshot Bill invites you to the jamboree, flailing limbs and stomping sawdust two-steps, where the punch is spiked and the gingham rides up risqué.  All the tropes and none of the cliché, this record will swing ya to break of dawn...and beyond...

Bloodshot Bill: Moon Is Hiding (mp3)

No major labels, once again....Only good old fashioned rawk'n'roll rekkids!  Support the artists!  Ya like what ya hear in crappy mp3 format?  Think how good it sounds otherwise!!! 

Monday, January 06, 2014

When Morning Comes Twice a Day, Or Not At All

Day 3 of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 50 Records of 2013!!!!

Dawdling too long, so let's get to it!  Our favorite records of 2013, minus (for the most part) 45's, which really should have their own category, and someday we'll get our shit together to properly cover that. 

As ever, none of the following are on "major labels".  And, of course, are taken from vinyl when possible. 

Let us know what we missed, argue against our choices, or otherwise critique our critique as necessary!!! (oh, and if anyone has a guess as to our #1, let us know.  If anybody guesses correctly, we'll send you a specially made mix CD tailored to yr's that!)

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2013 (Part 3)

30. Miss Chain and the Broken Heels: The Dawn

Big voice, surging cowgirl/pop/cowpunk/ swirl of delicious desert trash, the trailer park is taking reservations and this is the band playing under the stringed lights...Miss Chain, herself giving contest to Neko Case for exultant holler!

Miss Chain and the Broken Heels: The Dawn Is Me (mp3)

29. The Dirtbombs: Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey

Legends of punksoultrash go glam on our asses, kicking bubblegum teenage kicks out the window and into the sunshine, big fun glitter ball party!

The Dirtbombs: Sunshine Girl (mp3)

28. Useless Eaters: Hypertension

Angular noisesleaze, shouty yet soulful vocals over gutbucket surging rhythm, a garage full of dissonance and attitude which should be the alternative soundtrack to yr psychspacevampire epic film, trashy and one of the most consistently great bands of the last several years. 

Useless Eaters: Black Night Ultraviolet (mp3)

27. Neko Case: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

THE that that's out of the way...Ms. Case returns, a bit, to the honky tonk roots mutated of course, and big torch ballads, noirish desert rattlesnake sharp observation, she takes no shit and will leave yr decrepit ass bleeding on the hardwood floors of yr favorite motel and boot scooter bar of ill repute...and...did we mention THE VOICE?????

Neko Case: Night Still Comes (mp3)

26. Mikal Cronin: MCII

Astounding set from garage rawker, pulling back the curtains and revealing a surging semi-acoustic stomp, with heavenly harmony and melody galore....a beautifully mature yet never sentimental piece of dissonant back porch joy.

Mikal Cronin: Shout It Out (mp3)

25. James Keyes: The Middle

Full and proper review forthcoming...but, for now, a killer rekkid of hollerin' back porch blooze, dark road ramblin', and cowstomp trash...a holy mess of prophecy and sin, bound in the very soul of American music...would/should have been higher if we had more time to properly digest...but damn, this kid's a comer, make no mistake...stay tuned...

James Keyes: Darkness Comes Creeping (mp3)

24. Mavis Staples: One True Vine

It's Mavis...that should be enough...the very true greatest Soul singer of our time (with numerous apologies)...with proper production by the wayward Jeff Tweedy (come back to us!)...ultimately a Gospel album, transported by the ethereal and the earthy thing of transcendence and groove, highlighted but the voice, deep and sonorous, of the angels living on earth.

Mavis Staples: Woke Up This Morning With Jesus On My Mind (mp3) (File Removed)

23. The Hussy: Pagan Hiss

Oh shit....cracked open psych noise bleeding drops of Lysergic acid diethylamide...wowzoom geetar spilling splatter drops, fuzzing spray paint over tribal rhythm helium, short sharp shocked bliss jumped up 10-car pileup and oh so good, trunk booty disintegration... 

The Hussy: Hate This Town (mp3)

22. Phosphorescent: Muchacho

Roll easy, past cactus flowering lizard hiss....sands arranging into Mandela trope, the mariachi band stripped to one and marching laconically to the desert sky, burnt orange and embers flare one last time...and we dance in the fading flame, naked and full of the universe, unafraid and hope and sadness beacon our way.

Phosphorescent: Ride On/Right On (mp3)

21. Mick Collins and Danny Kroha: Winter Greens and Blues (ep)

Gories alumni reunite for a tribute to the mighty Kim Fowley...his writings interpreted into a musical revue..A double 7" both properly trashy and yet tenderly rendered...autumnal in spirit, the falling leaves of written sound essayed into collage....sound as attack, the written word as musical antidote...

Mick Collins and Danny Kroha: Summer Storms (mp3)

Please support the the records, see 'em live, or buy a damn t-shirt or koozie....Do you really need the latest Beyoncé record?  Of course need all these records!  Independent records will always provide you with the greatest satisfaction!!!!