Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bow Down

Ulp. So much for "daily". We'll save the daily posts for the upcoming Xmas extravaganza.

But...we'll finish up with our "all new" stuff over the next couple of posts, and then kick it back to the usual stuff y'all know and love.

Not sure if there's much to say about the new Almighty Defenders sooper-groop that hasn't already been said, but just in case you missed it, The Almighty Defenders is one-off (sadly) project featuring Mountain fave King Khan, BBQ (Mark Sultan), and The Black Lips. If that aint enough to git yr panties in a bundle, then consider the fact that it's a gospel album. Well, not really, kinda, but as close as a group of celebrated hedonists can get. Actually, nevermind, it really is a gospel record.

The album was recorded in a rumored booze-fueled few days, while the 'Lips were in exile at King Khan's house in Germany (while hiding from Indian authorities due to bad behaviour). Whether the details are true, or the stuff of myth'n'legend, doesn't matter much, since the record is a swirling mess of deep soul handclaps, hootenanny stomp, gristle-encrusted guitar sleaze, praise-god-hallelujah-let's fuck hollerin' goodness. It sounds like there's a party going on in god's pants, and the boys are the band at the end of the world.

Is this the best record of the year? You'll have to wait and see, but it's real contender, praise jesus.

The record is out now. So, there you are. Start yr fanzine now. As a bonus, we're gonna throw in a King Khan tune and a Mark Sultan/BBQ tune, just for kicks. We're saving tunes from The King Khan and BBQ Show for later.

The Almighty Defenders: All My Loving (mp3)

The Almighty Defenders: Bow Down and Die (mp3)

King Khan and His Sensational Shrines: Kukamonga Boogaloo (mp3)

BBQ: Shake Real Low (mp3)

Please support yr local, independent satyr of choice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

World To Come

'Nuther day, 'nuther new record.

The Mountain Goats is, essentially, John Darnielle. Of late, he's been playing with a full(ish) band, but he first made his bones and name with a lengthy discography of simple recordings, some done on a boombox. A hyper-literate lyricist, Darnielle nevertheless couches his observations on heartbreak, joy, and life lived in moments with melting melody and a (mostly acoustic) guitar style that feeds and veers with each song, an instrument on par with Darnielle's voice.

The Mountain Goats have a new record out, The Life of the World to Come, and, like many of their albums, it's a themed work. And that theme is...The Bible. Yup, Darnielle takes on the Good Book. But, like all his work, it's a theme that takes on a life of it's own, using verses from the Bible as springboards into his head. Not a religious tract, and certainly not a Jesus album, it's a cycle of lost and found, the beating heart and the downcast eye.

It's a starkly beautiful record of confession, loss, and tiny joy.

The first song, "Romans 10:9", is taken from the new Mountain Goats' record, "The Life of the World to Come". It's our favorite tune on the album. It's impossible to give a full overview of Darnielle's work in a few songs, so for the rest, we selected a couple of our current favorites. Every Mountain Goats fan probably has a list that differs widely.

Sit back and dream.

The Mountain Goats: Romans 10:9 (mp3)

The Mountain Goats: Cubs In 5 (mp3)

The Mountain Goats: Elijah (mp3)

The Mountain Goats: Mess Inside (mp3)

Please support your local, independent goat farmer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not All Right

Continuing our week of "new" stuff.

The new record from Cococoma, "Things Are Not All Right" (on Goner!) arrived at my door last week on pink vinyl. Pink vinyl, god love 'em!

From the mean streets of Chicago, Cococoma is Bill and Lisa Roe with a revolving cast of bassists. What they play is a slobberbone style of our old favorite garage-trash punk. No reinventing the wheel here, but they do it better than anyone else. Sorta like the glory days of New Bomb Turks and the Oblivians, when all other bands sounded like pretenders to the throne, Cococoma takes their sound to dizzying heights of surging organ, caveman stomp drums, and shattered, savage guitar. With Bill Roe's vocals howling and sniping over the proceedings, it's like the second coming of The Stooges. Yeah, really.

Bill and Lisa Roe also run a fledgling record label, Trouble In Mind, which has put out some killer singles over the last few months. Y'all should check it out.

It's rock'n'roll, kids, and I like it!

From vinyl, suckas!

Cococoma: It Won't Be Long (mp3)

Cococoma: I Swear (mp3)

Cococoma: Keep That Volume Down (mp3)

Please support your local, independent emergency room attendants.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Big Day Coming

We're realizing more and more how hard it is to post something that hasn't been covered ad nauseum somewhere else. So many other websites, so many other specialized websites. We're not a "full album" site, and we're not a "breaking news" site. We're just a guy with a computer who sees too many shows and has too many albums. There's no point in trying to compete, and we've been doing this a very long time in "blogger years", whatever that is. Our first focus round these parts was Country, with a little Blues and Garage/Trash/Rawk'n'Roll thrown into the mix. Our bread and butter, then. We've seen a ton of sites spring up over the years that cover these things, to varying degrees of longevity and effectiveness. And yet, here we are, still. We've been excited by a variety of new releases over the years, and this year is no exception. We still feel that there's a wealth of great "old" music that's worth exploring. And the Deep Blues Fest that we keep rambling on and on and on about has rejuvenated our love of the Blues in all it's mutations.

We think there's more to say, and more to post. We'd like to believe we at least offer a hint of context in a world of quick-grab gratification and PR "one-sheet" cut and pasting. So, we soldier on, we'll be here. No crisis of purpose, just an evaluation of what we represent.

I think over the next couple of weeks, we're gonna focus on them what brought us to the dance, returning our focus mainly to the Country and Western and Deep Blues music. We'll still throw in the ramdom trash-fest, Six pack vinyl love, and whatnot, of course. And, naturally, y'all can't miss our annual Xmas extravaganza. But first, and first and first...

All that said, this week we're gonna go daily with a batch of new releases that we think are super-neato. Let's get on with it then.

Yo La Tengo have a new record out, "Popular Songs" on Matador.

In our humble estimation Yo La Tengo are a national treasure. The duo of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley (with James McNew becoming an essential member back in the 90's) have been very quietly making masterpiece after masterpiece for almost 25 years. A perennial "indie" band that has arguably done more to legitimize the "movement" (whatever that is) than any other band labeled as such, Yo La Tengo craft symphonies of sound and silence, from the delicacy of strummed ruminations to the ragged sheets of guitar-distorted rev and drone. When folks point to a certain Liverpool band as the beginning and end of great music, we've been know to point to Yo La Tengo as an example of the continuing evolution of the pop'n'rock now, a band forging it's own singular hum in the back of the head, un-beholden to, yet fully appreciative of, the wealth of tumbled tune, tone, and tempo that tapestries a history told through tape'n'wax'n'plastic'n'oral tradition.

Singer/Guitarist Ira Kaplan can be the most nimble of guitarists, on par with Dean Wareham. Or he can take Neil Young on a race down the electric shredded highway. Sometimes in the same song. His voice, from a shout to a whisper, works best in conjunction with drummer Georgia Hubley's, the two of them intertwining the smallness of time, the carefully observed and fretfully fraught moments in between life lived. Hubley, when she takes the mic solo, could be mistakenly referred to as a modern-day Mo Tucker, if it weren't for the fact that her gorgeous and plaintive voice soars over the proceedings. Hers is the integral voice, both written and sung, to Yo La Tengo's sound, the ground and the angel. Oh, and she kicks your ass as a drummer. And then there's their adopted son, bassist James McNew (I may have made that up), a solo musician in his own right, who acts as foil and everyman, the link between Ira and Georgia, both musically and in presence. He's the throb in the heartbeat of the band. And he tells the best jokes. Really, I've seen them a dozen times, and he actually does have the best jokes. That's important.

Yo La Tengo's records veer stylistically from song to song, displaying their encyclopedic knowledge of the world of sound, but each individual tune serves the greater purpose of each album, pulling and tugging the strings of expectation, taking you on a journey through morning to morning, all points between, the stuff of life.

The following is not a Yo La Tengo "greatest hits", otherwise we would have started the proceedings with "From A Motel Six" (which you need). It's a selection of some of their more sublime moments, songs captured in the dappled land of twilight and Autumnal reverie. The band can kick some seriously fuzzy distorted ravers, but for our purposes today, we want to highlight the quieter moments, the interplay between Ira and Georgia (and James) at their most intimate. We'll start with a track off their new record, "Popular Songs" and stretch back to "Painful" (in no particular order). We're leaving out representatives from some of their earlier albums, which are equally great, but, well, that's just how it goes.

Yo La Tengo: I'm On My Way (mp3)

Yo La Tengo: Autumn Sweater (mp3)

Yo La Tengo: Big Day Coming (mp3)

Yo La Tengo: Our Way To Fall (mp3)

Yo La Tengo: The Hour Grows Late (mp3)

Yo La Tengo: I Feel Like Going Home (mp3)

Please support your local Mets fans (too obscure?).

Friday, October 09, 2009

Bring Yo Ass

It's Friday, so that means Deep Blues Friday, and, folks, you aint nohow gonna wanna miss this one. Trust us. Interview and tunes below.

But first, an announcement that actually pertains to our Deep Blues Friday posts. We are currently working on a limited edition Big Rock Candy Mountain t-shirt. Design will be up shortly, in plenty of time for the Holidays, and will be available at a very special discount for folks who have supported (by buying a record or checking out a show) any of the bands we've covered or will cover on our Deep Blues Thursday/Friday posts. More info to come, of course, so save your receipts, kids!

How exciting is that?

Now then, a little something about Left Lane Cruiser. They fuckin' rawk, and that aint no shoutin' at the wind.

A two-man groop, Left Lane Cruiser kicks up a howling fuzz of dirt road holler, a hard-scrabble blues-punk blast created by messrs. Freddy J IV (Guitar, Vocals) and Brenn "Sausage Paw" Beck (Drums, Trash, Hollerin'), straight outta Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Somethin' aint right with these boys, and that's good. Mmmm mmmm good.

Somewhere there's a world where Left Lane Cruiser is blasting out of every '72 Chevy Nova and broke-ass VW van, the road a bleared smudge in the rear view mirror. Drums that burn down bridges full of oil and fire, a guitar fucked into submission with god shining his face across six strings of hillstomptrash skull-fuckery. Above it all a voice all cracker-ass kick and wail..."feed me, baby, and I'm yours".

It's filthy Delta swamp debris,washed ashore and hitchhiking it's way to the heart of last night's ramble.

But enough of what I have to say. Brenn from Left Lane Cruiser was kind enough to respond to an interview request, and here's what he has to say:

A Deep Blues Friday Interview With Left Lane Cruiser (In which we discuss pork'n'beans, and slabs of wax)

1. First things first, and most generically, tell us who you are, why you are, and what you do. Where are you from, and why are you from there?

We are Left Lane Cruiser from Fort Wayne, In. I was born and raised here, and Joe is from Michigan. He moved all over the place, and finally settled here with his wife about 10 years ago. I knew his wife from high school, we kept in touch. She told me her boyfriend played a mean guitar, and that we needed to get together. So we did. First time the two of us met was really our first band practice. We wrote a song that day, and just kept getting together. Eventually we became good enough friends to ride thousands of miles in a van together, and then here we are now.

2. Two-man bands have been around since cavemen first picked up sticks and rocks, but they seem to be more prevalent these days. Are there more or less challenges to playing in a 2-piece?

Both really. With 2 guys the traveling is easier, the money split is better, and there is a lot less drama. But at the same time, with only 2 people, your level of creativity has to be high. It takes a lot sometimes to fill the space. With people tuning their guitars down, and drummers expanding to other instruments, I think people are realizing how much fun a two-piece can really be.

3. Your music is a glorious mix of Hill Blues, Hillbilly, and Trash/Punk, least ways to these ears. How did you come to this style? Is any one form of music more influential to y'all, or is it the whole spectrum that hums in yr ears and through you?

When we first started playin, we were pretty straight ahead Hill Country Blues (Fat Possum style). But Joe and I have always been rockers. I have a tendency to beat the ever living shit out of the drums, and Joe loves the distortion. So as we started to really find our sound, I think we just got more comfortable with our natural playing, and adapted our styles to the songs we were writing. Joe grew up on a lot of Classic Rock, particularly ACDC and ZZ Top. I have always liked classic rock, but deep down been drawn to something a little heavier…Clutch being a huge influence. We also both discovered Fat Possum around the same time, and knew that that was the sound we had been trying to find for a long time. We have never been afraid to wear our influences on our sleeves. We consider it paying tribute to the people that have made us what we are today.

4. Have you ever "hollered goat"?

We aint no holler back boys.

5. What is the "significance" of pork 'n' beans, and why is it so goddamn good?

Joe is a vegetarian, and his mother in law doesn’t cater well to this. Every time she cooks dinner, Joe is stuck eatin' Pork and Beans. Plus it is a good cheap road food. If ya listen close to the lyrics, you will discover that about 90% of our songs are about food. We love to eat….just look at my belly.

6. We spoke briefly, when I last saw you, about the importance of vinyl records. Do you feel that Left Lane Cruiser sounds better on a big ol' platter of wax, or does it matter as long as folks are listening? What is the optimal way to hear Left Lane Cruiser?

Shit, everything sounds better on vinyl. I would love it if everybody listening to us was spinning it on vinyl, but that just aint the case. As long as their listenin, we don’t care if its cd, vinyl, digital, 8 track , or tape.

7. Cruise control or pedal to the metal?

Cruise control….gotta save gas. We're broke brother.

8. You rocked the Deep Blues Festival this past summer. How did you come to be involved, and do you have any favorite moments from the Festival?

Ah, Chris fuckin Johnson! We owe that man a lot. Chris found us on myspace a long time ago, and we started an online friendship. One weekend, he made the drive from Wisconsin to Indiana (about 10 hours) and caught one of our shows. He recorded it, and sent it to Alive records for us. Well long story short he got Alive to pick us up. Ever since then, if Chris comes callin, we answer. He has brought us up to Minneapolis a number of times, including DBF. Everytime has been amazing for us. DBF is like a big family reunion for us every year.
Most memorable moments would be meeting our now good friends The Black Diamond Heavies for the first time. Seeing those guys play the first time really gave us a lot to strive for. Also, this year I broke my hand about 5 songs into the set. It hurt like hell, so that was pretty memorable.

9. Which deity blesses Left Lane Cruiser (god, satan, Bacchus, Eros, etc.)?

I think the deity that is The Black Diamond Heavies is the one that overlooks our sins.

10. You've got a new record out, "All You Can Eat". Tell us about it. Is it edible?

I wouldn’t recommend eatin it, but I sure as hell would recommend pickin it up. We put a lot into this album, and we really proud of the finished product. We have started to evolve into a slightly new direction, one that puts us out there a little more. We opened up and let a little bit of our anger and frustrations out on this one. Also, we had legendary producer Jim Diamond in our corner for this one, and he really found the sound that we were looking for.

11. What's next for Left Lane Cruiser?

Definitely a lot of touring. We have always enjoyed hittin the road, so you can expect a lot of that this year. Otherwise, I don't know, I guess whatever comes our way.

Thanks Brenn, and if that's not enough, check out these tunes, pulled from their three records, All You Can Eat, Bring Yo Ass To The Table, and Gettin' Down On It. Every goddamned song by the band will send your hips a-swivellin' and yr fists a-pumpin' fuck yeah! Take a drive with this shit bouncing our yr wound-down window and yr the talk of the neighborhood.

The new album, All You Can Eat, is out now on Alive Records.

Left Lane Cruiser: Ol' Fashioned (mp3)

Left Lane Cruiser: Crackalacka (mp3)

Left Lane Cruiser: Pork'n'Beans (mp3)

Left Lane Cruiser: Truck Song (mp3)

Please support yr local independent cb caller and left lane speed demon.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Lonely Night

Howdy neighbor!

Switchin' things up round here. Instead of Deep Blues Thursdays, we're gonna change it Deep Blues Fridays. Yup, a significant and world-rattling change. Just figgered Friday was a better day to give everyone the whole weekend to get to know the artist. So, there you are.

As ever, we wouldn't be doing this without the influence of Chris from the Deep Blues Festival, Rick from The Real Deep Blues, and the cats from Nine Bullets. All praise to them for keeping the flame alive.

Today's Deep Blues feature is a feller the aforementioned Chris from the Deep Blues Fest turned us on to. Serious Sam Barrett comes from the other side of the pond from our own little corner of the globe, but he's got the soul of Mississippi blues-man. Bringing a punk attitude/DIY aesthetic to a table set by tradition and "hard times come again no more", Barrett melds a folk/Blues/punk/English/Celtic melange of influences into a singular vision, wide-eyed and hardened.

Barrett's guitar work is transcendent and his voice evokes a time of whiskey and lager in equal measure, a timeless jig
n'jag along the confluence of the Mississippi and the Thames. His lyrics are older than the mud we toil and more relevant than tomorrow's news.

Barrett's part of a collective label, YaDig? , which is putting out some seriously great stuff. Y'all should check it out.

But enough of my blathering. Serious Sam Barrett was kind enough to do a short email interview with us. Everything you need to know is below.

A Serious Sam Barrett Interview (in which we take a skateboard from Leeds to Natchez)

1. First off, tell us who you are, where you're from, and what you do.

I’m Sam Barrett, I’m from Yorkshire in the North of England. I write songs and sing traditional songs too.

2. Your songs present an interesting amalgamation of traditional English/Celtic folk mixed with a Mississippi Blues influence. Tell us how you came to this approach, and how do these seemingly disparate styles work together in such a successful way.

I was brought up in a house where traditional music as well as blues and Rock n Roll were being played constantly. All the influences in my songs come from music my parents introduced me to. Traditional Irish, Scottish, American and English music all have a big influence on what I do. Rock n’ Roll is a big part of me and Blues was the first music I truly fell in love with. I don’t know how successful I am at bringing all these things together but I’m trying my best.

3. There is also a strain of punk/DIY aesthetic to your work. This seems to carry from your work with the co-op label you're part of, YaDig? Records. Tell us about this record label/collective and your role within it.

I’ve been into punk music since the age of about 14 when I first started getting into skateboarding and stuff. I’m not preachy about the whole DIY thing but basically if me and the other people who are involved didn’t do the label then I can’t see who else would document the Yorkshire folk scene in a way that I’d be happy with. It’s just about putting music out there and doing it in a way that we all feel represents what the music is truly about. We are trying to keep everything in-house as far as possible. My friend has screen printed all the covers for my record in the basement of our house, we have our own in-house designers, sound engineers and someone who is doing great artwork for us too. It’s basically a bunch of friends coming together to document great music. At the moment we are concentrating our output on the Yorkshire folk/roots blues scene but we don’t want to limit ourselves too much either.

4. We're struck by your guitar method, which, to our ears, has a "travelling'" quality to it. Tell our readers about your guitars, and your approach to musical composition.

I really only play one guitar nowadays and that’s the Stella 12 string I bought in Jackson Tennessee 3 years ago. That guitar changed my life and made me play much better. I find writing songs really hard but all my songs are based on an idea that comes to me quickly, usually one line or riff that comes into my head will form the basis of a whole song. If I spent too long trying to put a song together it usually starts to sound bad.

5. Does your lyrical sensibility come from personal experience? Or is it "observed" and/or pulled from a long tradition of dialectical tropes?

All the lyrics I write are about my life and my experiences but the way I put it all into a song is definitely influenced by all the records I have spend my life being obsessed with. I write about things that I really care about. Otherwise there isn’t really much point. I’ve written a lot of songs about heartbreak, one about the place I grew up in and one about people that come to gigs just to show off their clothes. More recently I’ve gone back to heartbreak.

6. The British Isles have a reputation for an appreciation of the Blues/Country/Folk traditions that extends beyond the United State's tendency to compartmentalize these "styles/genres" into outlying rural phenomenons. Do you think this is true? And if so, why? And if not, why not?

I think there are a lot of people in the UK and Ireland who are totally fascinated with American music. I am definitely one of them. If you are a bit of a dreamer American records are perfect for you. There’s just something exiting and real and full of life about American music that is really mind-blowing if you are brought up over here.

7. How "Serious" are you? What are you serious about?

I have been a skateboarder since about 1995 and that was a nickname I got from other skaters. When I was younger I used to turn up to the skate parks and look really serious. The name just stuck. I am very very serious about my music and about other important things like racism and poverty but I also talk a lot of crap and joke around a lot of the time.

8. Where are your favorite places to play? Tell us about your ideal live performance experience.

There is a great pub in Leeds called the Grove. It has a great folk club that been running for probably 30 years or so. That’s a great place to play. I like playing anywhere where people are there for the music and to enjoy hearing songs and singing along.

9. Drink of choice?

I love bitters from Yorkshire especially the ones from the Yorkshire Dales but I’m very partial to a good Bourbon. I’ve also sunk a lot of cans of Coors in my time.

10. What's next? Tour? More recording? Etc. How can we hear more about Serious Sam Barrett?

The next things for YaDig? is a sampler that will feature the best roots/folk artist from Leeds and West Yorkshire. Also we will be putting out a record by Tom Attah who is a mindblowing UK blues artist. He’s making a massive impact right now and worth looking out for. We have a UK YaDig? Tour in the pipeline and I’m working on coming out to play South By Southwest next year. The best thing is for people to go to also check out the YaDig? Records blog for events and new releases. Thanks.

The Female Drummer

You can hear more of Barrett's songs here. We'd like to particularly recommend the song "Lullaby of Leeds"

If you can, send some dough Barrett's way for his excellent new CD, "Close To Home". You won't regret it. Hell, we'll give you your money back if you're disappointed. We don't think you will be. But how's that for an offer?