Saturday, May 14, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-14: Marthas and Arthurs; Wolf Gang; Is Tropical

And here is 14th in our series of pop around the world. We scout so you don't have to.

Tom Ball, Esther Ball, Mary Douglas-Home and Matt Hart are Marthas and Arthurs, and they might sing some of the best indie pop you've ever heard. The Guardian's reviewer referred to their sound as "Belle & Sebastian backing Mamas & Papas".

"Sally Started it All", supposedly about a girl named Sally who started out signing with the group:

Some of their earlies performances were at care centers, chosen because the residents 'couldn't run away'.

"Clamour for a Fudge"

I recommend that you check out the Bandcamp link below, as it offers a free download of their Apes in Aeroplanes EP.


Wolf Gang is a London-based one man band. His debut album, Suego Faults, is scheduled for release on June 27 on the Atlantic label.

"Dancing with the Devil"

Suego Faults sampler:
Suego Faults Sampler by wolfgang


Is Tropical is a London electro-rock group.

"South Pacific"

"Tan Man"


Friday, May 13, 2011

Old Stuff Friday - Ann Peebles "I Can't Stand the Rain"

I've got a great live performance of a terrific one for you today. The intro gives you a chance to hear the backstory behind the song, as told by legendary Memphis producer Willie Mitchell, who recently passed away. Mitchell is the architect of the classic Al Green sound, which you can hear here as well.

Most people are far more familiar with the later version of this song by the great Tina Turner, but I'm partial to this original.

And while we have a beautiful day here in the Pacific NW today at least, it's been an absurdly wet Spring, so I've been humming this tune a lot the last few months.

I was worried that Google's technical issues would keep the Soul Corner from running today, but we're back in action here at WYMA HQ.

Friday Old Stuff: Monks

After Hardy broke the barrier on rude (or loving, depending on your perspective) language earlier this week with his post on the Fucking Cops (and welcome to all our new readers whose search engines provided them with this site rather than something more, um, physical), I thought we should have a religious themed Old Stuff entry. And what could be more appropriate that that respectful, pious, quiet classification of religious folk known as monks?

But perhaps we should listen to the monks chant, I mean, the "Monk Chant", while we discuss them further:

Monks were Gary, Roger, Eddie, Larry and Dave. Originally, they were the Torquays, and the band was formed by former GIs in Germany in the mid 60s. They enjoyed some popularity, but yearned for bigger crowds, better venues and record contracts. Their management team decided that they needed a striking image to go with their aggressive sound and their new christening as Monks. The result was distinctive garb for performances and street wear, and haircuts that reflected the tonsure of actual monks.

"Love Came Tumblin Down" is one of my favorites. There actually is a pop song buried in this track. I promise.

As you can hear, their sound was fuzzy, primitive and loud, with big rhythms and plenty of social commentary. The band tells of being treated respectfully in Hamburg because of their appearance, until the residents saw them chasing women and drinking whiskey. Hamburg was, perhaps, the perfect place for them and they built a following. As one monk said, the good kids followed the Beatles, the bad kids followed us.

Here is a 1965 live performance of "Complication" from German TV:

There are good arguments that the Monks are the seminal garage/punk band. As an act, they were a creature of the 60s and their time as a popular act ended with the decade. The players were burned out and the social and musical landscapes had shifted.

"I Can't Get Over You"

Fortunately, the wonderful Seattle label, Light in the Attic Records, has issued two Monks compilations. One is the essential Monk compilation, Black Monk Time. The other is The Early Years: 1964-1965. Both collections contain history and photos and are very well compiled. According to the label, they are available in CD or vinyl.

Monk's page at Light in the Attic Records
Light in the Attic Records website

The Monks website contains some historical revelations from the band, and is a fun read.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Warren Haynes: Man in Motion

Somehow in the midst of his relentless touring and session playing schedule, Warren Haynes found time to assemble an almost unbelievable band and record what sounds like a modern blues rock classic.

Here's a video in which you can hear Warren discussing how this album came together. It sounds terrific, and based on my experience with Warren (Allman Brothers, Govt Mule), it's assured that the guitar and vocals will be great. The cast he has assembled boasts unassailable credentials in rock, soul and blues... Ian McLagan (Faces, Rolling Stones), George Porter, Jr. on bass and Ivan Neville on keyboards (The Meters), Raymond Weber of Dirty Dozen Brass Band on drums, blues singer Ruthie Foster (who previously guested on Govt Mule's The Deep End) and tenor saxist Ron Holloway.

You can download a track at his website:

And finally, here's a live performance of the title track from a concert in December when Warren unveiled it:

Warren Haynes Website

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thursday Odds and Ends from Saadiq, Yuck and Times New Viking

First is my "Cool Video Thursday" entry, from the talented Raphael Saadiq. Mr. Saadiq has a new album, entitled Steady Rollin', and this is the title track:


Next, we have a new song from one of the best young noise/psych pop outfits, Yuck. The song is "Milkshake", and is one of the two tracks on their new single.

Milkshake by Yuck

Yuck Blogspot

And from the very good new album, Dancer Enquired, by Ohio's Times New Viking, we have the cool video for "Ever Falling In Love". I think this album deserves a review, soon.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Put down your beer! It's the Fucking Cops!

I thought about putting an asterisk in the title to this post. You know, to make it less offensive. Because if we are to go by internet usage, there is a large group of people in this world who are repelled by seeing the written phrase "The Fucking Cops", and yet with a simple modification, viz: "The F*cking Cops", their panties remain magically unsoiled. If I were really clever I'd have done the heading something like: "The Fuck*ng Cops", and sought feedback on its offensiveness. I don't know, maybe that's not so clever.

When I was young, profanity was all I needed. "Bodies" by the Sex Pistols is a great song in and of itself, but given its lyrics, it could have been sung by the Eagles and I'd have worn out the grooves on my copy of it. Now I've got kids, and although there's pretty much zero censorship of music amongst the family unit, when it comes to sexual or scatological band names, I get a little squirrelly. And when you mix the two? Well, you get bands like Ass Ponys, and I must cop to never having bought an Ass Ponys record.

The point here, belatedly arrived at, is that now that I'm supposed to be mature and everything, a band that has a cuss name had better be damned good, and there's this Cleveland punk rock band called the Fucking Cops that's a whole lot better than damned good. Last week they released their second EP, "Fuck You Up With Some Truth", and in the middle of a bunch of other good music being released by good bands, I cannot stop listening to it.

Here's the video from the second of the six songs, "Sweating or Freezing". Awesome song, Blatz beer, High on Fire poster, and backward tape loops that are no doubt satanic earn it the WYMA seal of approval.

There aren't any other videos or live recordings from this EP, but trust me on this, every tune is terrific. Crunching guitars underneath non-ostentatious, solo-Mould-esque leads, a very high functioning rhythm section, good vocals and great group shouting (maybe tone down a bit of the angst in the lyrics, but what the hell am I doing listening for the lyrics anyway?).

My favorite tune, and, really, maybe my favorite song I've heard this year, is "For Whom the Taco Bell Tows". This is authentic minor key punk rock, redolent of some of the best efforts of Japandroids (but with a nice guitar solo as a bonus). Go to the bandcamp site and check out that song. Then buy this and their very strong EP from last year, "You Have the Right to Shut the Fuck Up." Here's a video for a great song from that record, "Paycheck", which offers a nice panorama of their hometown, including a stagedive into Lake Erie. Cleveland is a very cool place, and these guys should make it fucking proud.

The Fucking Cops on bandcamp

New Sounds of Scotland--Part 13: The Little Kicks; POST

The Little Kicks is one of the projects of Aberdeen musician Steven Milne. The band has four members, with Milne (on vocals, guitar and keys) joined by Scott Kelman (drums, vocals), Lewis Porter (bass), and Toby Brunning (lead guitar). Their first album, Boxing Clever was released in 2009 and was well received in Scotland. The band's sound is a brand of upbeat pop/rock, and if you like it, there are quite a few songs to stream at the Soundcloud link below. The band will be releasing their second album later this year.

"Call of Youth" (free download at Bandcamp link below) will be on the 2011 release:

"I Know It's Over" is a nice jangly pop tune:

I Know It's Over by THE LITTLE KICKS

The band are energetic performers and good songwriters. While success is difficult to predict for any young band, an indication of The Little Kick's quality is the list of bands that have chosen them as a supporting act, including The Vaccines, Foals, Maximo Park, Editors, The Kooks, Brakes, Maccabees, Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Broken Records, The Rakes, and Lightspeed Champion. I also get the sense that there is a bit of the necessary ambition about these guys.

"We Came Alive", from 2009:

Video from "Optimist", in 2006:

Bandcamp with free download

POST plays energetic, spiky and a bit punky rock, and the two videos I've included are entertaining to watch. Musically, they remind me more than a little bit of Glasgow icons Josef K. Would you like to know more about them? Well, so would I, but I haven't been able to learn much. They have a debut single which was just released, and is comprised of the songs provided below. They are part of the interesting Scottish music collective We Can Still Picnic, which I have linked for you. Happy listening and, if you like them, happy hunting!

"Knocking Down the Same Door"


We Can Still Picnic

Monday, May 9, 2011

Emerging Seattle Bands: Ravenna Woods (updated)

Ravenna Woods plays a distinctive brand of folksy indie rock (not folk rock). The band describes their style as "indie/acoustic/experimental" and that seems to be a good tag. Instrumentation included guitars, violin, mandolin, xylophone, and "paranoid words". The members are Chris Cunningham, Brantley Duke and Matt Badger.

Here is the video for "Graves", one of the tracks on their May 6 release, Valley of the Headless Men:

Below is a partial stream of the new album:

The back story is a interesting. Cunningham started working on songs while a contract teacher in the Marshall Islands in 2007-2008. When he returned to Seattle, he met Duke, a musician and recording engineer, and they started playing music together. They added Badger in 2009.

The intricate vocals, varied acoustic instrumentation and dark-tinged vocals make Ravenna Woods a compelling listen.

Ravenna Woods' first album was Demons and Lakes, released in 2010. "In the World" was one of the tracks on that LP:

"Ghosts", also from Demons and Lakes, about the devastating effects of nuclear testing in the South Pacific on nature and people: