Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wild Cub - new video for "Drive"

Wild Cub is a Nashville-based electro-rock band featuring the soulful vocals of Keegan Dewitt and Jeremy Bullock's terrific soundscapes. In August, we reviewed their new album Youth. They've got a new video for the album cut "Drive":

Wild Cub "Drive" (Official Video) from Wild Cub on Vimeo.

This one was directed by Fort Ripper. 

They'll play some dates w/Sondre Lerche later this month, then perform at the Soundland music fest and CMJ Music Marathon.  Tour dates at their website.

Friday, September 21, 2012

REVIEW: Turbo Fruits - Butter

Nashville is still Music City USA. It's just that, with the presence in Middle Tennessee of rock bands like The Turbo Fruits, Jeff the Brotherhood, PUJOL, Wild Cub, The Excuses and the Ettes, that moniker no longer refers specifically to the country stuff they're making over on Music Row. There is a burgeoning rock scene - all over Nashville and Middle Tennessee - and many folks here will tell you their favorite band is The Turbo Fruits.

Their new album Butter is a pretty straight-ahead rock record, but it hops around a bit between what's commonly called "garage rock" and some of the glammier stuff you might expect from, say, The Strokes - or, going back in time, maybe Marc Bolan. What they have in common with those other bands I mentioned is an attitude - and real skill at combining punk, glam and good old guitar rock.

Most of the record features a pretty fast pace and wild guitar work - from opening cut "Where The Stars Don't Shine" with its heavy bottom and fast psychedelic guitar lead,

--to the punk metal of "Ain't The Only One Having Fun":

--the bike-culture celebration "Harley Dollar Bill$":

Turbo Fruits - Harley Dollar Bill$ from Serpents & Snakes on Vimeo.

and surf-rock workout "10 Years" and club fight anthem "Don't Like To Fight".

But lest you think that's all they've got in their bag of tricks, they vary the tempo and produce some quality songs that almost pass as ballads: "Sweet Thang" has a plaintive quality that wouldn't be out of place on a Walkmen record and "Catch & Release" swings fairly gently, albeit with plenty of tasty electric guitar licks. The record is terrific, and a lot of fun to listen to.

Butter was released last week (9/11) on Serpents and Snakes Records... you can buy it from the band at Turbo Fruits website.

The Velvet Underground & Nico by Castle Face and Friends

Among music fans there probably is a variety of opinion about tribute albums.  But if you are a fan of the music that When You Motor Away writes about, one upcoming tribute album to consider is The Velvet Underground & Nico by Castle Face and Friends.  To commemorate the 45th anniversary of The Velvet Underground and Nico, the labels Castle Face and Universal have teamed up to release a multi-artist, vinyl-only cover of VU's '60s classic.  It will be available on November 6.  For the few of you that may need a remedial course, Castle Face is the Bay Area label founded by John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, and is the home to a number of other bands, including Rocksteady74 favorite The Mallard.  Accordingly, the line-up for the album boasts a host of artists with Dwyer's seal of approval.  For your discerning inspection, the tracklist and players are as follows:

01 Kelley Stoltz: "Sunday Morning"
02 Warm Soda: "I’m Waiting For The Man"
03 Ty Segall: "Femme Fatale"
04 Blasted Canyons feat. Jeremy Cox (of Royal Baths): "Venus In Furs"
05 White Fence: "Run Run Run"
06 The Fresh & Onlys: "All Tomorrow’s Parties"
07 Burnt Ones: "Heroin"
08 The Mallard: "There She Goes Again"
09 Here Comes The Here Comes: "I’ll Be Your Mirror"
10 K. Dylan + The Black Angel’s Death Songsmen: "The Black Angel’s Death Song"
11 Thee Oh Sees: "European Son"

If you are interested in this album, you should note that it is available only through Castle Face Records (pre-orders are accepted) and from the performing bands at their gigs.  No distribution through record stores is planned.  Apparently single tracks from the album will be on various sites in the latter half of October, but I don't know whether they will be available for download.

Castle Face Records' page for the album

First Aid Kit - new video for "Wolf", iTunes session, upcoming tour

First Aid Kit continues to enthrall audiences worldwide. Here's the video for the new single "Wolf":

And they're meeting with great success all around the world... a long way from those videos of them performing folk songs in the woods, and yet pretty much the same thing: two ladies with great voices singing in really close harmony.

Performing Simon and Garfunkel's "America":

Here's a link to buy the iTunes Session - they've reworked a few of the songs from Lion's Roar and earlier records, plus a few they had not recorded before.

And tour dates:

SEPT. 24         CHICAGO, IL                    METRO*
SEPT. 25         ANN ARBOR, MI                THE BLIND PIG*
SEPT. 26         TORONTO, ON                  DANFORTH MUSIC HALL*
SEPT. 28         BOSTON, MA                    ROYALE NIGHTCLUB*
SEPT. 29         NEW YORK, NY                 IRVING PLAZA*
OCT. 3            ASHEVILLE, NC                 ORANGE PEEL*
OCT. 4            ATLANTA, GA                   BUCKHEAD THEATRE*
OCT. 5            NASHVILLE, TN                3RD & LINDSLEY*
OCT. 6            ST. LOUIS, MO                 FIREBIRD*
OCT. 8            OMAHA, NE                     WAITING ROOM*
OCT. 9            LAWRENCE, KS                 THE GRANADA THEATRE*
OCT. 12          AUSTIN, TX                      AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FESTIVAL
OCT. 13          DALLAS, TX                      THE KESSLER THEATER*
OCT. 16          LOS ANGELES, CA              THE FONDA THEATRE*
OCT. 19          PORTLAND, OR                  ROSELAND THEATER*
OCT. 20          SEATTLE, WA                    NEPTUNE**

Dan Deacon - America

Gregory Heaney, performing as Dan Deacon, has made his name in underground electronica circles as an irreverent and quirky talent.  And in comparison to that reputation, America represents a bit of a rebirth.  It feels altogether more serious and wider in scope, which is appropriate in consideration of the subject: An exploration of the essence and dichotomies of the United States.  In a sense, it is Dan Deacon's attempt at an electro-pop Appalachian Spring.  Structurally, the music is intricate and layered, combining electronic and acoustic elements.  While not a party album, there still is a palpable sense of playfulness running parallel to the grand themes.

The second track, "True Thrush" --

The wistful "Prettyboy"--

The final four tracks of the album are  "USA I" through "USA IV",  subtitled in order "Is a Monster", "The Great American Desert", "Rail", and "Manifest".  Thematically, these tracks are the heart of the album and, in my opinion, would make this album a keeper even if the other tracks were not as good as they are.  If you have the time, you can listen to the suite below.

America is an cerebral and emotional musical landscape, and it feels like a celebration of the land for which it is named, reveling in its splendor and contradictions.  And it grows on the listener with each play.

Domino Records

The Soul Corner - Major Lance "Monkey Time"

As I write this I am preparing to head to Chicago and on to Northern Indiana to attend the Notre Dame-Michigan football game Saturday.  So it's time to go back to Chicago soul.

Major Lance moved from Mississippi into Chicago's notorious Cabrini Green housing projects. He befriended his hero Jackie Wilson and other local soul artists. One of them, Curtis Mayfield, wrote this song for Lance, recorded for local soul label Okey Records:

The only thing as smooth as Major Lance's vocals are his dance moves.

And this has ties to the Fighting Irish as Lance was a major figure in the Northern soul movement in Ireland and throughout the UK.

Irish fans hope to be dancing like this late Saturday night.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Garage Rock Discovery: Eureka California - Big Cats Can Swim

Eureka California is an Athens band playing delightful garage rock - British invasion-influenced stuff that is really catchy, raw and kind of psychedelic, in the vein of the Nuggets comps or, say, 13th Floor Elevators or early Pink Floyd - or jumping forward to some of the Paisley Underground stuff like Rain Parade. Big Cats Can Swim is a really good record... as in, the more I listen, the more I like.

Here's album cut "Dos Hermanos":

And here's a video of them playing out in Athens:

It's on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records - out this week, you can order it now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

REVIEW: Robert Pollard - Jack Sells The Cow

Robert Pollard's latest release, Jack Sells The Cow, is a demonstration of a property that his fans are very familiar with: that Pollard is capable of putting out a high-quality album almost monthly.

In what might be a bit of a theme, several of the songs swing between beat-heavy, sludgy verses and catchy, almost poppy guitar-laden choruses... "Heaven Is A Gated Community" hammers home the line "I wanna go with you" over and over, until it releases with a plaintive "Will you go with me? Will you let me know?" The second song, "Take In" features jangly guitar and a soaring multi-tracked Pollard vocal, but again, over a pretty heavy rhythm section.

"Who's Running My Ranch" is probably the best example, and perhaps the best song on the record: there's the solid drum/bass line propelling the song along until the release - again, jangly guitar and that glorious British accent intoning lines like "But if you want to/but the ass won't kick" add texture to the heavy rhythm base.

But wait until you hear some of the surfy guitar lines in "Up For All That" (echoes of the Drifters' "Up On The Roof", anyone else?) and the super-jangle of "Pontius Pilate Heart", the best song on the record. Wait, didn't I just call "Who's Running My Ranch" the best... oh hell, they're all favorites. Or, more to the point, they all will be, in time. You will tap your feet to "Big Groceries" - you won't have a choice.

Here's "The Rank Of A Nurse", which features a somewhat tremulous vocal and one of the more restrained guitar lines (for the first half!):

It's an interesting record - all the songs clock in between 2:00 and 3:30 and I'd say this is a little poppier, a little catchier - but at the same time, a little heavier - than Mouseman Cloud, Pollard's previous 2012 solo release... and they make a nice pair.

Get it at Rockathon.

REVIEW: Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky

I'll make this short, because you are wasting time reading this when you ought to just go get this Dinosaur Jr. album. The formula is by now familiar, but no less enjoyable for that familiarity. If you love Dinosaur Jr.'s music, you aren't looking for them to get into dubstep or flamenco (surely not)... just a reassurance that they are still pumping out soaring guitar solos and J Mascis' and Lou Barlow's warm, plaintive vocals.

Well, consider yourself reassured. There are a few nifty touches here and there - the understated guitar/synth interplay on the lead-in to opening track "Don't Pretend That You Don't Know", the punk pace of "Pierce the Morning Rain"... acoustic interlude on "Recognition", but those serve only to sweeten the taste of the main offering: lots and lots of great electric guitar.

Check out the lead track, "Watch The Corners":

Isn't that pretty much a perfect Dinosaur Jr. song? Why would you mess around with that formula?

Go get this thing, out on Jagjaguwar Records today (Sept 18).

Dinosaur Jr. website

Tour dates:

09/24/12 Toronto, ON: Lee's Palace**

09/25/12 Toronto, ON: Lee's Palace**
09/26/12 Toronto, ON: Lee's Palace**
09/27/12 Detroit, MI: St. Andrew's Hall***
09/28/12 Cincinnati, OH: MidPoint Music Festival***
09/29/12 Champaign, IL: Pygmalion Festival***
10/01/12 Nashville, TN: Mercy Lounge*
10/02/12 Atlanta, GA: Variety Playhouse*
10/03/12 New Orleans, LA: Tipitina's*
10/04/12 Austin, TX: Mohawk*
10/05/12 Houston, TX: Fitzgerald's*
10/06/12 Dallas, TX: The Prophet Bar*
10/08/12 Flagstaff, AZ: Orpheum Theater*
10/09/12 Santa Ana, CA: The Observatory*
10/10/12 San Francisco, CA: The Fillmore*
10/11/12 Eugene, OR, WOW Hall*
10/12/12 Seattle, WA: Neptune Theatre*
10/14/12 Salt Lake City, UT: Urban Lounge*
10/15/12 Denver, CO: Bluebird Theater*
10/17/12 Omaha, NE: The Waiting Room*
10/18/12 Minneapolis, MN: Cabooze*
10/19/12 Madison, WI: Majestic Theatre*
10/20/12 Grand Rapids, MI: The Orbit Room*
10/22/12 Bloomington, IN: The Bluebird*
10/23/12 Cleveland, OH: Beachland Ballroom*
10/24/12 Millvale, PA: Mr. Smalls Theatre*
10/25/12 Washington, DC: Black Cat*
10/26/12 Charlottesville, VA: Jefferson Theater*
10/27/12 Philadelphia, PA: Union Transfer*
11/01/12 Taipei, Taiwan Don't Look Back, Vol. 1 @ Neo Studio
11/03/12 Tokyo, Japan Hostess Club
11/24/12 Santiago, Chile Primavera Fauna
11/28/12 Northampton, MA Pearl Street Nightclub w/ Screaming Females
11/29/12 Portland, ME The State Theatre w/ Screaming Females
11/30/12 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club w/ Screaming Females
12/01/12 New York, NY Terminal 5: Dinosaur Jr’s 25th anniversary of You’re Living All Over Me with Very Special Friends sitting in and Special Guests Kurt Vile and the Violators

REVIEW: Allah-Las - Allah-Las

In my opinion, this debut LP from Los Angeles' Allah-Las could have been titled The Fabulous Greatest Hits of the Allah-Las.  Oh, sure, there is the tricky technical point that this is their first LP and only a few of the songs have been released previously, but when you nail it like these boys have, one feels obligated to reach into the superlatives reservoir.  The capsule summary is that this record is a collection of note-perfect California surf/psych and British invasion with a modern, soulful groove.  One could wonder whether it was concocted in a laboratory by mad musical geniuses funded by a major label.  But the facts are more organic and inspiring -- these songs are the product of four guys who met working in the back room of LA's Amoeba Records and whose job exposed them to stacks of old vinyl and CDs.  Their public journey as a band began in 2008, and their first record was the two song Catamaran/Long Journey.  The latter song ends the new LP, while the jaunty "Catamaran" is the opener.

"Catamaran", with footage from a year ago trip to Seattle --

And while both of those early songs hold up as showcase tunes, the space in between is an absolute delight.  You can thrill to the Byrdsian jangle of "Vis-A-Vis", groove to the psychedelia of "Busman's Holiday" and "No Voodoo" or dance to the British Invasion styled "Don't You Forget It" or "Catalina".  The album even includes two instrumentals -- the surf rock of "Sacred Sands" and the Latin romp of "Ela Navega".  One of the true standout tracks is the psychedelic "Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)".

My favorite quote about these guys probably is "the way their music makes me feel is one of the principal reasons I listen to music."  However, since I wrote that on this blog in late June, I'd probably breach some internet ethics rule dwelling on it, so we will speak no more about it.

The Allah-Las are Miles, Pendrum, Spencer, and Matt.  Allah-Las is out today on the Innovative Leisure label, and it has Rocksteady74's highest level endorsement.  This will be of my top ten albums for the year.

Here is a video of a live performance of "Sandy", followed by an interview with the band --

We'll close the musical portion of the review as the album closes, with "Long Journey" --

Allah-Las are touring in support of the album.  Their tour partner is R&B old soul, and the producer of their album, Nick Waterhouse.  WYMA unreservedly recommends both acts.

All dates with Nick Waterhouse except for 10/5 - Brooklyn.
9/26 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
9/28 - St. Louis, MO - Plush
9/29 - Indianapolis, IN - White Rabbit Cabaret
9/30 - Nashville, TN - Hi Watt
10/2 - Washington, DC - RocknRoll Hotel
10/3 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas
10/4 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
10/5 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
10/6 - NYC - Bowery Ballroom
10/8 - Toronto, Canada - Great Hall
10/10 - Chicago - Lincoln Hall
10/11 - Minneapolis - Fine Line
10/14 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s
10/15 - Bellingham, WA - Wild Buffalo
10/16 - Vancouver, Canada - Biltmore
10/17 - Portland, OR - Star Theater
10/20 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo’s

Twitter ( @AllahLas )
Innovative Leisure