Monday, January 23, 2012

Desperate Hopefuls

Enough time off recovering from our December blowout and Best Of lists...let's kick the New Year off proper, with the first in our series of Killer Records that we we'd never heard before until a pal shared it with us, and we can't stop playing it because it kick our ass all over the schoolyard!  (yeah, not sure how long this series will last under its current name).

Today's superstar is Brijitte West and the Desperate Hopefuls! 

Straight outta New York (and England?), a mix of The Sweet, the New York Dolls, Wanda Jackson, Lucinda Williams, The Runaways, Nico, The Donnas, and, oh, let's say Kitty Wells. 

Dirty, dirty candy-smeared gum-poppin' snarl geetar, with honey-dripped wasted alley vocals tossed off like Phil Spector girl-groop on amphetamines, loud and punk rawk in the sunshine blinking out between tall buildings, with the night coming on, and bad thoughts and bad deeds awaiting. Filthy and glammed up, with a touch of honky tonk, even referencing "Fox on the Run" on the tune "Bleeding Heart", it's a record that demands the volume at 11, blasting  from yr speakers and hopping up yr Camaro on the streets of yr town.

This record is a must-have for all Big Rock Candy Mountain visitors...have we ever steered you wrong?  You can hear more tunes here.  And you can buy the record here.  Do yrself a favor...grab the rekkid and rock the sleazy night away!

Brijitte West and the Desperate Hopefuls: Hard To Believe (mp3) 

As always, keep on rawkin' in the free yr local independent before Newt or Mitt take it away from you!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Hickory Wind

Ok!  Here we go!  The Top Ten Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2011!  Hide yr wives and husbands, cuz we're taking this mofo to 11!  Can you stand the excitement???  Already figured out #1??

A great year of music, fuck cynicism.  The rawk is still alive and well, and we're here to testify!

What will be keen on in the coming year?  Who knows?  Stay tuned!

Before we begin, a final "best of"...

Band of the Year:  The Bunting Pussies!  (we got to see this seminal band in a tiny bar in Brooklyn before the start of the Norton Records blowout.  They've promised a website coming up.  We managed to snag their essential 7" "Wiggle Waggle Woggle b/w "Dickey Pearce"" from them direct, and are absolutely enamored!  Got a chance to talk to singer Lord Fairley McSquat after the show and he's promised a full LP before the end of the year.  The sheer greasy, loud, boozed up energy of this band is like nothing we've heard before.  We're incredibly pleased to have been a witness to their resurgence, and will be covering that 7" and their future LP once it comes out.  Keep yr eyes peeled!)

And, finally, The Top 10!

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2011 (part 5 of 5)

10. Juke Joint Pimps: Boogie The Church Down

Hallelujah trash, deep and primal shouting, distorted AM radio filter in robes smeared with semen and sermon the Church of the Blues, baptized holy moonshine water, sanctified by the holy holler, god in the Juke Joint (indeed), shimmy wobblin' the midnight hour, chasin' tail and salvation, and he's taking the devil home at the end of the night.

Juke Joint Pimps: Juke Joint In The Sky (mp3)

9. Reverend John Wilkins: You Can't Hurry God 

From a previous post: "Reverend John Wilkins is the son of legendary blues man Robert Wilkins,  and they say still waters run deep, but the waters are moving like a pentecostal baptismal on fire, and run deep blues, baby.  Wilkins brings a Mississippi hill country trance to the dirty gospel, and Soul, good Soul, where the spirit is lifted and swayed in secular and salvation.  Wilkins' voice, the very sound of repent personified, is the highlight of it all, of course, a lost crackle in heaven's transistor.  At the end of the day it's a road to glory tabernaclin' sweatbox of a gospel record,  sex and salvation swing low, big tent revival meetin' hootenanny.  The path to salvation starts here."

Reverend John Wilkins: I Want You To Help Me (mp3)

8. The Spartan Dreggs: Forensic R'n'B 

Got this record as a "single of the month club" deal, ahead of the regular  regular release.  Some of the vinyl is different from the final product.  That's typical, and very, very, good.  So.  It's Billy Childish.  Every damn year we include a Billy Childish joint in our list.  There's a reason for that...he's one of the most important voices in rock 'n' roll over the past 30 years or more.  Until we turn the man into a million-seller, well, we're gonna keep pimpin'. 

This new incarnation of his is full on rawk, 60's inspired, full of piss and loud as a motherfucker, out of control and singular.  Situationist, but furious and angry, the very essence of punk aesthetic filtered through Huddie Ledbetter and The Sonics.  The best "pure" rawk record of the year. 

 The Spartan Dreggs: Forensic R 'n' B (mp3)

7. The Speaking Tongues: The Speaking Tongues

(Note: proper review coming shortly) Two men.  One big-ass sound, grooved out surge and demon-swilled dirt bombed primal rawk, slide-shit fuck yr mama geetar and satan drummed insanity,  a velocity of hound dogs trailin' garbage scent and filthy blooze destruction!

The Speaking Tongues: Hell Down Below Me (mp3)

6. Left Lane Cruiser: Junkyard Speed Ball 

From our review of the record:  ""Giving Tree"  is the lowest of low down groove, a dirty diamond of rough, aching, swirling James Leg keys back-dropped by muted and fuzzed slide shimmer guitar.  A voice, still growled in pure soul underneath, wounded and in love, lost and rambled, fighting through the sonic din.  It's a stunner of a song, and nothing like we've heard before by these cats.  A revelation.

The rest of the record is high point, followed by high point, nasty (again) and loud, driving and slathered butter'n'pork rawk.  Themes appear...the road (
"Road Again"), as befits their name, and food ("Cracker Barrel", "Pig Farm", "At The Denny's").  That the sheer sonicness of their sound can be fed through an AM radio dial in your '72 Chevy Nova or slapped down on yr turntable when you want yr latest house rent party to get sweaty is a given.  That they've fed the Blues through a blender and come up spittin' nails on the other side is a given.  That what they do to the guitar and drums aesthetic is probably illegal in most states is a given.  That Freddy J IV's vocals are a shattered glass yowl of stomped larynx glory is also, and again, a given.  But what's missed most, and what is most important, is that Left Lane Cruiser is a Soul band.  As informed by Mississippi, they've got a little Memphis in 'em as well.  And, of course, as befits the name, a thousand or more miles of gravel in the headlights and in the rearview mirror."

Left Lane Cruiser: Giving Tree (mp3)

5. James Leg: Solitary Pleasure 

 The mighty lord of the Beelzebub Fender Rhodes and Black Diamond Heavy goes solo, crafting a record of nasty grease and Soul, daddy-o!  The sound of the soul alone, wailing and mud-smeared blown gasket holy rhythm junk-shop destruction.  Sick with clattering sweet and wet spot jackenanny groove, whiskey soaked crusted preacher rhythm and hellfire solitude!

James Leg: Have to Get It On (mp3)

4. John Paul Keith: The Man That Time Forgot 

More review goodness we did awhile back: "We've preached before that Mr. Keith is a songwriter with a timeless brilliance: 2 1/2 minute songs, honky bar-hook-filled and longing, desperate and full of belly up to the bar observation.  It's rock'n'roll, without the pretense, country-fried, soulful, a little boozy, a little trashy, a little bit dance 'til the end of dawn.  Imagine, if you will, that Buddy Holly took the template for "Rave On", and made a long player record with that aesthetic.  Seriously, stop for a moment, and imagine it.  But he didn't.  John Paul Keith did.  And the world is a better place for it.  Oh, and John Paul Keith has better hair than you.

rom the punkish, Summertime Blues jab of  "Anyone Can Do It" to the Here Comes a Regular regret of the title song,  "The Man That Time Forgot" is a bar record, running the gamut from entry to last call .  12 songs.  That's all you need (that's all you ever need).  Especially when they're these 12 songs.  Follow the track listing from braggadocio to reflection, with all the classic moments in between.

Gonna track this record from start to finish.  It's not a "concept" record in any way other than our perception.  But we're gonna work on theme of our own creation, and in the process hope to convince you why this record is a masterpiece.

Kicking off with the raver (all hand-claps, greasy organ, and raving vocal),
"Never Could Say No", , and the immortal line "Flying overseas with the Flipside Kid" (a Jack Oblivian reference, who Keith tours with and backs), Keith sets the stage, a willful roue, blaming others for his appearance at said joint.  Follow that with the rollicking,  barrell-house piano two-stepper "You Devil You"  (he sees the girl), and we've got a situation. 

The next three songs set the stage.  The aforementioned
"Anyone Can Do It" shows a punkish strut, and "Songs For Sale" is the 50's-informed groover, the sensitive guy laying out his cred.  "Afraid to Look", led by greasy keys, is the dance, the manly man strutting his shit.

But with any encounter, self-doubt creeps, and
"The Man That Time Forgot"  weighs in with an early night lighter-raiser, a honky tonk ballad full of ripped guitars and reflection. Follow that with "I Think I Fell In Love Today".  Like Tom Waits' "I Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You" , we're looking at the weird moment between booze-fueled courage and resignation.  But the night is still young...

So John Paul Keith takes a break, and in the garage-country track
"Dry County", full of rave-up geetar and hollered backing vocals, we leave the bar with our best buds,  looking for a little balm to heal the perceived wounds.  But, consarnit, we're stuck in a land without liquid, back to the bar, and an atonement..."Somebody Ought to Write A Song About You".  This song is pure Southern Soul, scratched guitar and more greasy organ.  We're back at the bar, and the girl's still there, and our hero wants to transform  his perceived love into the immortal. But...and but...he's "Bad Luck Baby", another surging riposte on condition, and why men are bad, bad news.

Fumbling into the night, then.  another ramped-up organ-led moment,
"Work At Night".  Who's he working for?  That's up to you, but DAMN, the band gives us a greasy workout!

And, finally, the most completely Country song on the record,
"The Last Last Call". Pure Country weeper. The ultimate barstool lament..."So here's to you and to me". Does he get the girl?  You'll have to find out for yourself. But he's toasting, and we're drinking, and our boots are on the floor, and we're gonna wake up, and probably do it all over again."

John Paul Keith: Never Could Say No (mp3)

3. Barry Brusseau: A Night Goes Through

What we said when we reviewed it the first time:  "What Brusseau produced is nothing short of  genius.  Really.  No hyperbole involved.  A shimmering hymn of midnight moon and morning dew.  The record is very much, as it's title suggests, a midnight to six am listen, inviting you into a warm room, your favorite chair facing the window, a bottle of whiskey on the table, and a broken heart mending with each beat.  Brusseau's voice: a lowered, single malt bartione,  whispering in yr ear from behind, urging you into the stars fell night, taking you through the small hours with each hushed prayer. Each whispered line a reflection of headlights on broken pavement.

"Why'd I even agree to come, agree to come
It was probably cause I'm drunk, cause I'm drunk
I haven't shaved my face in months, not in months
The coffee table's mine, can I put my feet up one more time?"
Musically, the record picks and trips and gorgeously wanders, at times stripped and naked, at times delicately baroque.  Each passage is a Koan, a heart-broken melody, strung and neon-lit, the fireflies and the fading campfire, the salvation in yr crackled AM leading home, or at least to the fizzled motel in the end of the world.

"I am tlll and frayed, I'm shaking in and out
And I see the woods, and the rust
Relax, your voice will come sit back and feel the sun
The colors bright and blue, and the warmth"
What is crafted, what you hear,  and what is communicated... a singular vision, a man in the forgotten hours, and the forgotten years, laid bare, a vision of the smallness and grandness of the in-between time, a moment of slipping and catching, while the world is sleeping.  And, while the world is sleeping Barry Brusseau is breathing a sound of the moment between waking and dream.

"Float so high I hear angels sing, hear them sing
Float so high I hear angels sing.  Got stars all over their wings."

Barry Brusseau: Thrift Store Buzz (mp3)

Barry Brusseau: A Night Goes Through (mp3)

2. Molly Gene One Whoaman Band: Folk Blues and Booze

A singular artist, one for whom we are left speechless...shocking, we know.  But, let's try... The mighty voice, a growl to a wail, powerful and full of sin and sex,  riding down the burned out mountain on the nastiest slide guitar and kick-drum racket, drunk on the sound of the end times, shaking the shotgun shack to the ground, churning up bloody dust on the backroads of old, weird America, spent rifle shells littering rusted out floor of a dilapidated pickup truck, moaning cowblues revival.  Full review coming soon, but for now, take our word for it.  You won't be disappointed. 

 Molly Gene One Whoaman Band: Country Lover (mp3)

1. Tom Waits: Bad As Me 

Most of those that know us suggested that we write this review with a mere "Duh"One word, that reflects perfectly how our, yes, obsession with the enigma that is Tom Waits. They would be correct, in that this is the least surprising pick we've madeWe'd prefer to let Mr. Waits' music speak for itself, but...and, well, but...what has to be recognized is legacy. Nobody wrote a sadder song this year.  Nobody wrote a louder, more abrasive song this year.  A record that defined the past, and, in typical fashion,  looked more forward than any artist was bold enough to attempt.  An old man (as our current definitions would have us believe), who continues to redefine who he is, and who he has been.  No artist has been more willing to search the nature of sound and how it reflects the human condition.  No artist has continued to grow like Mr. Waits, to push the boundaries and retain their singular voice.  Every song on this record is a travelogue, a meeting of having been and will be.  It will break your heart in places, and will stir your soul in others.  It will rattle yr ears, and poke at the hidden places of your sadness.

Tom Waits has always played a "character" in his records.  Very few, least of all us, could pretend to know the true man, lost as we are in his carny barker meets barfly con job.  But what we take from this latest missive is a culmination, a shaking down of mirrors, a shivering and stomping throw down.  When god and satan meet, and the tires are burned off, the rubber melting on the road to who knows when.

 Mr. Waits' management preferred we not post an mp3 sample.  That's fine.  Here's a couple approved videos from his new record.  Just buy the goddam thing, already!

Records are good. Records stores are good.  We're all good!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Callin' Me Home

More tasty goodness from 2011!  Our Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2011 rocks on with #20-11We're gettin' the really primo stuff now...every record in our list is great, and we recommend every damn one of them, but now we're starting to touch on the really heavy hitters!  From now 'til the end..well, what are you waiting for?  Support these artists!  The future of music depends on you! 

Did we miss some great records this year?  Let us know!  An open mind is a chance to hear great tunes!  Tell us what we missed!

Some more "Best Of's" before kickin' it out...

Re-Issue of the Year:  This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 R.P.M. 1957-182  (Holy shit!  (literally)...A box set of essential hollerin' and wailin', The very roots, both spiritually and sonically, of rawk'n'roll...fighting the devil, making love to the saints, a compendium of the spiritual and the secular sound.  Amazing!)

Singular Live Moment of the Year: Molly Gene, Ten Foot Polecats and the Scissormen performing "Old Black Mattie" together at the 2011 Deep Blues Festival in Cleveland Ohio.   (A transcendent throwdown, in which we found the Deep Blues George'n'Tammy in Molly Gene and Jay Scheffler, Jim Chilson and Ted Drozdowski abusing their guitars in a sick, sick way, and Matt Snow and Chad Rousseau bringing tribal pounding insanity to drum kits that seemed as if they might buckle and disintegrate under the siege. Yeah, it was that good...even better. Youtube it, kids!)

Top Ten tomorrow!

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2011 (Part 4 of 5)

20, Mickey: Rock 'n' Roll Dreamer

Scuzzy glamster  shine and sin, rotten loud, baby yr a glittertrash star!

Mickey: Dance (mp3)

19. Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds: 5 Greasy Pieces

5 45's  making up one  album, bananas and primitive sleaze boogaloo, greasy, indeed, like three day old chicken swiped from the garbage!

Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds: Bobo Boogaloo (mp3)

18. Black Oil Brothers: High Road To Ruin

More stompin' backwoods holler, darker this time, like a midnight thunderstorm on the Great Plains,  washing the dust into a muddy bottom.

The Black Oil Brothers: Sodapop's Blooze (mp3)

17. Jack Oblivian: Rat City 

Here's what we said recently: "... a record of dilapidated splendor...a Southern, sneering rawk'n'punk-ass record of timeless qualities...booze, cooze, and loozers, floundered, desperate in its bourbon-soaked tabletop, slippery brass rail as heaven."

 Jack Oblivian: Jealous Heart (mp3)

16.  The People's Temple:  Sons of Stone

 Menaced psych-swirl haze, droned-out murmer, float away on waves of ether!

The People's Temple: Sons of Stone (mp3)

15. Lydia Loveless: Indestructible Machine

Country record of the year, badass  hillbilly girl on wrong side of the tracks, she'll fuck you up, and you'll like it, hardscrabble tonkin' hell with a pistol full of gasoline!

Lydia Loveless: More Like Them (mp3)

14. Julia Klee: The Big Charade

From our review a while back: "A booming and deep well vocalist, Klee has drawn comparisons to Neko Case, Jolie Holland (whom she covered brilliantly at her live show) and Kelly Hogan.  Which is all well and good, and apt, but Julia Klee seems to be drawing from an older tradition, one that includes Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and most especially, Emmylou Harris.  Some of those comparisons come from a lyrical intent. Klee is songwriter of incredible situationist gift, warping her voice into the subject, manipulating her vocals into the sad and the beautiful. Some of those comparisons are in the power of her voice.  It's an astonishing instrument in it's own right...a record of depth and spirit, a hoedown of longing and beauty."

Julia Klee: Drunken Chess (mp3)

13. Husky Burnette: Facedown In the Dirt

(Note:interview and full album review coming soon) Repent, evil sinners, from out of darkest, deepest waters a junkpiled pickup truck, rusty and rattling, caked and bloody, growling red-eyed moonshine!

Husky Burnette: Hog Jaw (mp3)

12. Chicken Diamond: Chicken Diamond

From our review:  "It's a loud record.  Really, really loud.  In a glorious, fuzzy, xpressway to yr spine kind of way, rattled and raw.  Chicken's voice, a bastard child of Tom Waits and James Leg, wails "sinners in the hands of an angry god"-syle salvation, 'til yr ears are hoarse and yr throat is parched gasping water, lord, water from the sacred well.  Brutal throbbed kick drum pounds sex beat degenerate lust.  And some of the filthiest fuckblues guitar, drowned in a swamp and emerging covered in the goo goo muck of creation.  Tribal, pulsing, very, very evil.  The kind of guitar slime that gives you bad thoughts, reeks of white lightning, and scrapes, scratches and claws at yr soul."

Chicken Diamond: Bones (mp3)

11. Rocket From The Tombs: Barfly

We've got a special guest review of this record.  Our pal Eric H. feels very strongly about this record, and has excoriated us about it's "too low" ranking.   Take it away, Eric:

"I’ve rewritten this review 10 times or more and: nothing I’ve written as come close to conveying  how immediate and powerful this album is.  So I will say this.  This is the FUCKING album of the year.  Dave Thomas, Cheetah Chrome, Craig Bell and Richard FUCKING Lloyd – What else do you need to know?  These guys aren’t coasting on past glories or putting out lame experiment in the name of ‘art’.  (Lou Reed I’m talking to you)  This is just a tight, muscular rock band doing what far too many rock bands these days don’t do very well, which is ROCK.  Buy this album.  Buy a copy of you neighbor. Buy a copy for your Mom.  This album should be a the top of this or any list.   Buy this album as if your life depended on it."

It should be noted, in addendum, that this is Rocket From The Tomb's first "proper" record, and that this band led to Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys, and are completely seminal in any discussion of U.S. punk.  And, of course, Peter Laughner was a member as well.  So, you know, you know it's gonna be a great record!

Rocket From The Tombs: Romeo and Juliet (mp3) 

Thanks for visitin'.  Got a quibble with our list?  Let us know!