Addressing the ever-shrinking credibility of rock journalism since 2007. With a sasquatch.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Deep Cuts: Indie

Dianne Coffee My Friend FishCalifornia's Shaun Fleming, the alter-ego for Dianne Coffee, has spent some important moments of his life in entertainment. At 15, he starred in the opening sequence of Jeepers Creepers II (2003) where he is quickly mauled by the title monster. In 2004, he worked as a voice actor on two animated films from Disney including The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004).

Moving to NYC in 2005, Shaun became a founding member of the 60's psychedelia and avant-garde band Foxygen with friends Sam France, Jonathan Rado and Justin Nijssen. The band gradually became a hit in clubs and college radio culminating with their album "We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic" released in January of 2013. However, the group's raucous, highly active performances contributed to singer Sam France breaking his leg at a gig at First Avenue in Minneapolis on July 29th 2013.

This freed up Dianne Coffee who was on the back burner for Fleming since December of 2012. Fleming's "My Friend Fish" was released by Western Viynl in October in 2013. It's a stand-out album, featured at SXSW, that blends elements from soul, Motown, classic R&B with 1960's acts like Donovan and The Beatles.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Deep Cuts: Instrumental

Thrillington by Percy ThrillingtonNothing is better to enjoy that a cleverly perpetrated hoax - once it's revealed. Famous horror writer Stephen King once wrote a series of books under a pen name that later became best-sellers. The Beatles themselves, prior to their 1970 break-up, fostered the idea that Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1966 and replaced by a look-a-like. Radio DJ Russell Gibb announced his own Paul Is Dead Theory on Detroit radio adding to the mystique - taking us all for a ride so to speak.

In 1970, the legal wrangling for the Beatles material was in Britain's High Court. Paul McCartney and his wife Linda began working on three new albums. The first was a solo album simply entitled McCartney (1970), the second was with his first band after The Beatles - Ram (1971) which - let's face it - was poorly received. The last album? This last album is a gem. It was an orchestral themed, instrumental record that was put together with Richard Hewson who had also arranged "Let It Be".

The result: Percy "Thrills" Thrillington (1977). It wasn't until 1989 at Los Angeles press conference that Paul revealed that he was Mr. Thrillington. The album tripled in value and became a collector's item when Paul and Linda confirmed it in the Spring 1995 issue of Club Sandwich. This record is so oddly compelling that it merits more than a footnote in music history. Right off the bat, the lead track "Too Many People", echoes Sgt. Pepper but with a dreamier context. "3 Legs" is the soundtrack for a the bad side of town - on Mars. This album only gets better with a rather formal version of "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" anchoring the record.

Original 1977 pressings are exceedingly hard to find but album was re-issued in 2004 and 2012.

Percy Thrillington - Uncle Albert


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Deep Cuts: Rock

Shannon And The Clams - Sleep TalkOakland, California based retro rock Shannon and The Clams are a three piece band that combines elements from garage, punk, classic R&B and Motown into their own brand of rock 'n roll. This group, made up of Shannon Shaw, Cody Blanchard
and Ian Amberson on drums, stand out due to the raw clarity of the band's influences and edgy subject matter.

For example, the first track from 2011 Sleep Talk, Baby Don't Do It, features a character running through the darkness with a machete that "glints by the light of the moon" that is sung with shades of The Ronettes with a sharp set of measured guitar chords ringing out with the tight precision of a rhythm section - or maybe a lovelorn serial killer.

In an interview with the blog Still In Rock from 2014, the group says they met in 2009 while attending the California College of the Arts.

"We had a class together and thought one another was lame until we saw each others videos in class. We realized we were the only cool freaks in the class and have basically been best friends ever since."

The group has three studio albums to date including: I Wanna Go Home (2009), Sleep Talk (2011) and Dreams in the Rat House (2013).

Shannon And The Clams - You Will Always Bring Me Flowers

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Deep Cuts: Alt-Folk

QuiltQuilt is a Boston, Massachusetts based alt-folk group featuring John Andrews on drums, Anna Rochinski on guitar and organ, Shane Butler on guitar and Keven Lareau on bass with all members contributing to the vocals.

Their 2011 self-titled album is a "complete" album with songs that are composed in a series of layers. Some come like gentle waves and other like tidal waves that are slowly built up refrain after refrain. Key tracks include Cowboys In The Void, Penobska Oakwalk and Milo.

In Kentucky in early March of 2014, while touring for their new album Held In Splendor, the band flipped their tour van after blowing a tire and totaled it. They walked away from the accident but could only do one more show in Austin, TX. Right now, they are on a sponsored European tour but they only have until the 25th of April to get a working van or bus ready for the spring leg of another US tour. They may have to cancel all US dates and there are many.

4-25 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle (w/ Woods)
4-26 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel (w/ Woods)
4-27 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter (w/ Woods)
4-28 Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight (w/ Woods)
4-29 Athens, GA @ Masquerade (Purgatory Stage) (w/ Woods)
5-1 Houston, TX @ Mango’s (w/ Woods)
5-2 Austin, TX @ Austin Psych Fest
5-3 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada (w/ Woods)
5-4 Lawrence, KS @ Seed Co. Studios (w/ Woods, Blood on the Wall, Your Friend, Oils)
5-6 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway (w/ Woods)
5-7 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean (w/ Woods)
5-9 Toronto, ON, Canada @ The Great Hall (w/ Woods)
5-10 Montreal, QC, Canada @ Cabaret Playhouse (w/ Woods)
5-11 South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground (w/ Woods)
5-13 Portland, ME @ SPACE Gallery (w/ Woods)
5-14 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair (w/ Woods)
5-15 Kingston, NY @ BSP Lounge (w/ Woods)

The band is asking for donations, both large and small, for help towards getting another vehicle for this tour. I think they deserve it. Please go to the official Quilt page for more information.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Deep Cuts: Experimental

Wood Find Them Empty SingleWoods is an interesting three piece band based in Brooklyn, New York since 2005. Their instrumentals are complex and rollicking and Woods even go so far as to have a "tape player" G. Lucas Crane who acts as a DJ, soundman and back up vocalist on stage.

The group's leader, guitarist and vocalist Jeremy Earl uses one style of vocals, an eerie falsetto, that is so close to the female register that a listener could swear to it being female. While this is great, in the tradition of Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, to have a unusual vocal style - Earle's same falsettto is over used on each song on each album. To make matters worse the emotional effect of hearing the same worried falsetto voice creates a sense of impending failure that becomes hard to hear repeatedly.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Deep Cuts: Godzilla Rock

Daikaiju - Monsters Of SurfNo not Pink Floyd's The Wall or Yes's Tales from Topographic Oceans but concept rock with 500 foot tall monsters being battled by an elusive group of brave superheroes called Daikaiju (pronounced DIE-kai-joo).

Kaiju and specifically Daikaiju means giant monster and "godlike" giant monster respectively. The terms originate from the Japanese film genre where Godzilla and Power Rangers emerged from. Very appropriately too because the members of the band have discarded their actual identities and are known as Secret-man (guitar), Rock-man (guitar), Hands-man (drums) and Rumble-man (bass).

Self-described as a band that "creates divine psychic wind for your special defense!" the group is known for their national tours and transcendent live performances. Their sound comes from the best of surf and garage is like seeing to a Man Or Astroman? show with Dick Dale playing lead. Very little of the bands origins or current base of operations is known at this time.