Saturday, May 18, 2013

Chelsea Light Moving - video for "Lip" from Chelsea Light Moving, short UK tour

Chelsea Light Moving is Thurston Moore's latest project - we reviewed the self-titled album recently (WYMA review here) and loved it.

"Lip" is a good example of the album's combination of rock urgency - guitar tension, punk drumming - and a beat poetry vocal approach (with a protest theme, both to the song and the video):

Also, some UK tour dates:

June 14th – London, Village Underground
June 16th – Dublin, Whelans
June 17th – Bristol, The Fleece
June 18th – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
June 19th – London, Meltdown Festival (Purcell Room - NO CLM, Thurston improv)

Chelsea Light Moving at Matador Records

"Palmreader" and "Dark Corners", from upcoming Sonny & The Sunsets album

Sonny & The Sunsets have released "Palmreader" and "Dark Corners", which are from Antenna to the Afterworld, their LP set for release on Polyvinyl Records in June.  I love the sound of the guitars on these tracks.  I'm looking forward to this album.


Friday, May 17, 2013

REVIEW: The Heligoats - Back to the Ache

The Heligoats is Chris Otepka's band, but until now has been pretty much a solo project with Otepka doing most of the work and a variety of guests filling supporting roles. On his latest record Back to the Ache, he's settled in with a band. The result is a strong album with a lot of variety in sound and tempo - an album that, in a good way, is all over the place.

Otepka describes the lyrical theme (which also informs the tone of the album, I think): “The word ache appears throughout the album, it was a theme that emerged only after the record was done.  The recording process actually happened in spurts over 5 (Feb - July 2012) months and in-between I was touring around the country, North and South America.  This record was fun to write at home, on the road and in the studio.  I was never anywhere for more than a few days at a time. So, the ache became the familiar place."

Otepka spent time in Clem Snide with Eef Barzelay - and they are sort of kindred spirits. Just for fun, here's a clip of the two of them covering Bryan Adams:

Eef Barzelay & Chris Otepka cover Bryan Adams

If you enjoyed Clem Snide's literate, carefully-phrased folk rock, you will enjoy The Heligoats for sure. But this album also veers into rock territory, displaying in several places a real punk energy. After all, Otepka says the reason he's settled the Heligoats into a quartet is because of his re-connecting with drummer Nate Lanthrum, with whom he played in Midwest pop/punk band Troubled Hubble, which dissolved in 2005.  Otepka says “when we got together for the first time in over seven years, we picked up right where we left off.”  Also on board was Steve Mitchell (guitars/keys), Dave James (bass), Nick Lombardo (keys) and even some added percussion from Erik Rassmussen (who recorded and mixed part of the album).

Here's a strong rock track, "Sulfur, Baby":

And here's "Tofutti"... this track and the opener, "Good Morning" remind me the most of Clem Snide:

The album was released in March on Greyday Records - and I am happy to add to the chorus of praise that's emerged since the release. You can learn more, and buy it at Greyday's website:

Greyday Records Website

The Heligoats Website (worth checking out if only for the show posters)

New Video from The Tablets - "Flowers"

We recently featured music from Liz Godoy's Tablets (WYMA post here)... and are happy to have another chance to share their trance-inducing mix of dance-rock and shoegaze in this live video for "Flowers":

There are a lot of postpunk female-fronted bands playing a take on garage or beach rock. There aren't many playing stuff this dark and jagged - it's well worth checking out. The album will be out June 4.

REVIEW: Luxury Mane - Natural Beauty

Billy Summer is one of my favorite musicians - a Tampa/St. Pete-based singer/songwriter, he came to my attention as the leader of The Semis and I've basically never stopped raving about their music (WYMA reviews here and here). It's almost as though it was made for me - a place where Keith Richards, Johnny Thunders, Teenage Fanclub and The Records (don't know 'em? look 'em up) all had equal input into some raucous, lo-fi rock n roll dream come true.

Bad news and good news. It appears the Semis are no more, but the good news is, Summer is back with a new band, Luxury Mane, and a new album, Natural Beauty. It may or may not be the same lineup that performed as The Stone Eagles, which was also a Summer band and had some of the same songs.

"University Dropout Blues" is the opening track, a raunchy lo-fi guitar workout with the vocals down in the mix:

"Youth Envy" is, for want of a better term, an "old school New Wave" track, but again, it features a generous helping of jangly, Stones-inspired guitars, some killer riffs and hushed harmony vocals:

At 5:02, it would seem to be the centerpiece of the album... but to me, the best track is the penultimate one: "Cougar", with its catchy, sort of twangy guitar riffs, some timely piano and a lo-fi fadeout at the end. 

It's just fun music. Whenever I posted reviews of Semis, I would hear from people in the area who just rave about their live performances. If they're a great bar band, that would not surprise me, and "great bar band" is one of the best compliments you can give to someone who plays rock music for a living. For example, on Springsteen's last tour, that's how he proudly described The E Street Band - as "a Jersey Shore bar band here for your enjoyment". Lucky for us, Summer's being encouraged by the fine people of St. Petersburg, FL to keep making music and is putting some of it on record. It's good news, and you're encouraged to check it out... and to tell your rock music buddies. They'll thank you.

REVIEW: Porcupine - The Sensation of Being Somebody

You may not consider La Crosse, Wisconsin to be a likely source for hard hitting and high quality rock and roll, but an important part of enjoying life is to never stop learning.  And on this one we may have been a bit ahead of you, because we have been following Porcupine for a couple of years.  Their charms include a bracing combination of '90s alt rock riffs and rhythms  -- think Dinosaur Jr, The Queens of the Stone Age and those fighting Foos -- and enough crunchy power pop to satisfy the brain's need for hooks.  The fact that the trio has a wry, Midwestern sense of humor just makes it all that much more appealing.  The latest edition of Porcupine rock is The Sensation of Being Somebody, available now from Hang Up Records.

Casey Virock (vocals and guitar), Dave Reinders (bass and backing vocals) and Brian Kerr (drums and backing vocals) are Porcupine.  The trio is a well oiled machine (well, in Wisconsin the lubricant may not be oil) and efficiently make a considerable amount of well focused and adeptly crafted noise.  And they are veterans, so they can write and record music with a clear understanding that pleasing themselves is job number one, because chasing anything else is likely to end up in disappointment.  Indeed, I suspect that the band's comfort with what they are doing and what to expect from it is one of the things that makes The Sensation of Being Somebody a delight.

The set of songs on the album is uniformly strong, but in my view, "Witness to a Chase Scene" is the showcase track in the collection --

You may also be interested to know that the album opener is available as a free download --

The band also made a little documentary about making the album --

You can stream and buy the album at the Bandcamp link below.  If you prefer, you can use iTunes and Amazon as well.

Twitter ( @porcupineband )

Friday Nuggets: "Let's Talk About Girls" The Chocolate Watchband

One of the most beloved cult favorites of the garage rock era was the Chocolate Watchband from San Jose CA.

"Let's Talk About Girls" from 1967:

The  Chocolate Watchband didn't sell a lot of records but their crazed live performances were legendary and the band had a big influence on next generations of garage rockers. One of those is the great Irish band The Undertones who did this version of "Let's Talk About Girls" in 1979:

The Chocolate Watchband's web page features a detailed history written by lead singer David Aguilar that is a a great read:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Say a Prayer for Philip Chevron

Word has made it to us that the great Phil Chevron, of the Pogues and the Radiators, has been diagnosed again with cancer in his head and neck. He battled esophageal cancer for several years beginning in 2007, beating it back enough to participate in the last tours of the Pogues. Now, though, he is being told the cancer is inoperable. Louder Than War reports Chevron as saying "This time the cancer is lethal." He's only 55, for goodness' sakes.

The Radiators from Space were formed in Dublin in 1976, and have been called the first Irish punk band. They released two critically acclaimed albums in the late '70s before disbanding in '81. They later reformed, for a time joined by former Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordan. Last year, they even released a covers record. Here's a great old Radiators song:

Phil Chevron is one of the few native Irishmen of the Pogues. He's only given writing credit on three of the band's songs, but one of them is among the most memorable and moving of the band's catalog. Here's a short clip of Phil playing "Thousands Are Sailing" followed by a very fine live version from 1988.

 Keep Phil in your thoughts and wish him well.

Irma Thomas - The Soul Queen of New Orleans - Reissues In Between Tears

Alive Naturalsound Records has released the soul classic In Between Tears by Irma Thomas - the Soul Queen of New Orleans. Thomas' third album was produced by Jerry Williams Jr (Swamp Dogg) and features Duane Allman on a couple cuts.  Irma Thomas never received the first name recognition of other 60's soul divas like Aretha, Patti, Martha, Diana and Tina.  Much of this was due to the economic marginalization she experienced in her youth.  Irma had her first child at 14 and by the time she was 19 she had been married twice and had three more children.  Despite these roadblocks, Thomas managed to become noticed in the Crescent City music scene.  Her first two albums were produced by NOLA legend Allen Toussaint.  Her first album featured the original version of "Time is on My Side."  The Rolling Stones recorded it soon after without a tip of the hat to Irma's vocal phrasings or Toussaint's instantly recognizable arrangement.

Irma continued to work with Toussaint and other producers.  Her biggest hit was the '64 soul classic "I Wish Someone Would Care" which reached #17 on the Billboard R&B Charts.

Motown and Stax were the only labels with the infrastructure required for national distribution of music which had been, until recently, described and marketed as "race records."  Relegated to small labels with poor distribution and minimal promotion budgets, Irma Thomas was never more than a regional presence during the 60's. In the wake of Hurricane Camille in 1969, Irma left New Orleans to find a musical future in LA. This did not happen. Four years later she was back and looking to record.  

Jerry Williams, whose production helped Betty Wright achieve national recognition. was selected to record Irma's third album - "In Between Tears."  The album is the music of a strong woman reflecting the nascent women's movement of the the early 70's.

1. In Between Tears
2. She'll Never Be Your Wife
3. These Four Walls
4. Whats So Wrong With You Loving Me
5.  You're The Dog (I Do The Barking Myself)
6.  Medley: Coming From Behind (Monologue)
7.  Wish Someone Would Care
8. Turn My World Around
9. We Won't Be In Your Way Anymore (CD & digital bonus track)
10.  I'd Do It All Over You (CD & digital bonus track)

Eight of the ten tracks were written by Jerry Williams Jr, aka Swamp Dogg Track 8 - "Turn My World Around" was penned by Irma Thomas. The fifth track - "You're The Dog (I Do The Barking Myself)" features Duane Allman on guitar. The album is a soul classic which will complete the collection of Irma Thomas' early recordings. Enjoy these two cuts. Let them be your entry ino the world of the Soul Queen of New Orleans.

I'd Do It All Over You

Irma Thomas makes multiple appearances every year at Jazzfest.  I have been blessed to see her many times.  She has not lost a beat.  Buy this music now.  It is a great substitute for enjoying the lagniappe of New Orleans in person.  Go to Alive Naturalsound Records and order your copy.  While you are there check out Swamp Dogg's "Gag a Maggot."  It's a musical twofer which should not be ignored.

"I Heard", new song from Young Fathers

We reviewed Tape One from Young Fathers earlier this year (link).  The Edinburgh group is back in our spotlight because they are preparing to release Tape Two soon.  To keep our interest at a high level, they have released the track "I Heard".  Consider my interest level very high, lads.


REVIEW: Eleventh Dream Day - New Moodio

If you (like me) are a longtime Eleventh Dream Day fan, you're aware of their winning combination of VU-inspired vocals and often pitch-perfect Crazy Horse guitar freakouts. To me, their sound was one of the highlights of the Louisville and Chicago indie rock scenes. What you may not know is that their 1993 album El Moodio is not actually the album the band originally intended it to be, nor is it the album they recorded and mastered on their own with Brad Wood at Idful Studios in Chicago. In fact, the one released was a re-recording of most of the original album, with at least three songs left out of the final sequence. So, the band has been inspired to go back and release the original with the three songs back in their proper place... and have christened this beast New Moodio.

From the label - because they kindly put this beast together, let's let them tell the story:

So what do we have on this LP? Three songs ("Thinking Out Loud," "Where is My Saint," "Everywhere Down Here") have never appeared anywhere previously, one ("Dakota"), found its way onto the compilation "Milk For Pussy," "Sunflower" was re-recorded as an "El Moodio" cd single extra, and the rest were re-recorded in 1992 with Jim Rondinelli in New York for the "El Moodio" cd - never released on vinyl in the U.S.

"New Moodio" is Eleventh Dream Day's "lost record," a parallel world version of "El Moodio." It is also the snapshot of a band at its peak. Recorded and mixed in just a few days, there is an urgency and excitement that courses through these songs played by a band empowered by freedom and possibility.

Here's the galloping "Thinking Out Loud" - pure joy as the guitars slowly build to a crescendo, starting about 2:00 in:

Just fantastic - for me the highlight is "Rubberband" - but it's all fantastic, including Janet Bean's lead vocal on  "Making Like A Rug". Read to learn more, or just order it (a must if you like guitars) at Comedy Minus One. It's out just this week (May 14).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

REVIEW: The Felt Tips - Symbolic Violence

Like the drawing implement referenced in their name, Glasgow's The Felt Tips create vividly colored social commentary, highlighted by lead vocalist Andrew Paterson's evident Scots accent and Miguel Navarro's delightful guitar.  Their songs address melancholy, conflict and other manner of mature-rated subjects.  But at the hands of The Felt Tips it all sounds great and, at least musically, it is perfect for a sunny spring day -- proving that social commentary doesn't have to sound grim.  The well-listened indie pop fan will hear elements of Belle & Sebastian, The Housemartins, Camera Obscura and The Smiths.  But what I think sets The Felt Tips apart is their ability to balance their elements in creating a package of nearly universal appeal.  The melodies, fine musicianship, and sincere performances all make Symbolic Violence one of the indie pop finds of the year.

 An example of The Felt Tips' juxtaposition of wry observation and pop melody can be found in "Iron Lady", the opening track.  It tells a story set on a New Year's Eve, with the chorus consisting of Kate Moss' famous quip that 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels'.

The band was formed in 2005 in Glasgow when vocalist and guitarist Andrew Paterson was joined by Miguel Navarro, a guitarist from Spain.  Neil Masson on bass and Kevin Carroll on drums completed the quartet.  Their first album was released in 2010.

Life is complicated.  "In The Heat of the Summer" Paterson first sings that he's never felt so alive, but eventually concludes that he has never felt so alone.  And in "Lyrics by Lennon" the narrator takes aim at icons John and Paul --

The album, and the musical portion of our post, ends with this song centered on sibling rivalry --

Symbolic Violence was released on Firestation Records on May 6.  It is available on vinyl, CD and via digital download.

Firestation Records

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

REVIEW: Cool Ghouls - Cool Ghouls

We have standards here at When You Motor Away.  If we are going to mess around with ghouls, at least we insist that they be Cool Ghouls.  Unlike regular ghouls who hang around scary hallways and moan, Cool Ghouls create the most exuberant and joyful garage pop on the market today.  Whether singing in unison and call-and-response to shaggy surf and roots inflected jams ("Ballin'"), proving their psychedelic chops ("Witch's Game"), penning a modern classic '60s hit ("Queen Sophie"), or creating the best Monks songs the Monks never did ("In the Morning" and "Supernatural Forces"), the emphasis in their self-titled debut LP is on energy, hooks and, most of all, fun.  And they know that getting in and out of the song in about three minutes is the way to do a pop song.  Would you like proof that these ghouls are cool?  Try "Natural Life" --

Cool Ghouls - Natural Life from Robert Thomas on Vimeo.

Cool Ghouls are Pat Thomas, Ryan Wong, Pat McDonald and Alex Fleshman, and they make their home in San Francisco.  While they have released material previously, Cool Ghouls is their debut album.  Their influences are on the surface, and you'll readily detect the twangy roots style of the Sir Douglas Quintet, the folk/punk of The Monks and the garage psychedelia of The Troggs.  But the sense I get is that Cool Ghouls aren't intent on recreating anyone else's history, they are writing their own.

OK, pay attention to some procurement details.  The vinyl and digital of Cool Ghouls is available from Empty Cellar Records.  The Cassette is available from Burger Records.  Here is a link for the digital download as well as the vinyl order.

Here are the remaining tour dates:
May 15 - San Francisco, CA - The Depot
Jun 2 - Portland, OR - The Know
Jun 3 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey
Jun 5 - Santa Rosa, CA - House Show
Jun 6 - Santa Cruz, CA - Jury Room
Jun 7 - Fullerton, CA - Burger Records
Jun 8 - Los Angeles, CA - The Smell
Jul 13 - San Francisco, CA - Phono Del Sol Fest
Aug 3 - San Francisco, CA - San Frandelic Psych Fest

Empty Cellar Records
Burger Records

Unchain your inner Dogg - Outsider Art in a Mainstream Package

Get it today!  Earlier this year, Alive NaturalSound reissued Swamp Dogg's first two albums - Total Destruction to Your Mind and Rat On. This present from the swamp funk gods was reviewed by WYMA here.   Swamp Dogg is the product of early 60's songwriter, producer, Nixon enemies list member and musical iconoclast  Jerry Williams, Jr.  Swamp Dogg's eclectic taste is evident in the cover art for the first two albums.

For those of us who remember Swamp Dogg, these two reissues were not enough.  Something was missing. It's like Curly and Larry without Moe, Bosh and Wade without James or Billy and Frank without Dusty.  Alive Natural Sounds has reissued the third album in this holy trinity of Swamp Dogg's early 70's releases.  Gag a Maggott completes this musical triptych of swamp funk, country soul, and cross cultural irreverence.

Swamp's impeccable production values and musical arrangements recorded at Miami's TK Studios with the horns of the Swamp Dogg Band, Ivan "Breeze" Olander's drums and Willie "Little Beaver" Hale's guitar.  (Little Beaver is a musician's musician who inspired finger-picking god Leo Kottke to write an eponymous homage to Little Beaver's finger picking skills.)  The result is difficult to describe.  Swamp is the ultimate musical and lyrical shapeshifter.  He and his bandmates are whatever the listener wants them to be.   Check out the requisite Swamp Dogg love song - "I Couldn't Pay for What I got Last Night.".  As I listen it is alternately Memphis soul, Nashville Country or Texas R&B.  The horn arrangements can change in a measure from the Memphis Horns to Ides of March "Vehicle."  Swamp is a master while having fun with our ears.  He is constantly echoing The Contours famous lines....."Watch me now, oh......Do you love me?" How can love not love Doggbrother Number One?

The remastered album includes two bonus tracks recored live in 1972 at KSAN radio:  "Mama's Baby, Daddy's Maybe" and "Honky Tonk Woman".

1.  Wife Sitter
2. Choking To Death (From The Ties That Bind)
3.  I Couldn't Pay For What I Got Last Night
4.  Mighty Mighty Dollar Bill
5.  Midnight Hour
6.  Please Let Me Kiss You Goodbye
7.  T T
8.  Why Must We Fall (When We Fall In Love)
9.  Plastered To The Wall (Higher Than The Ceiling)
10.  Mama's Baby, Daddy's Maybe (Live) (CD & digital bonus track)
11.  Honky Tonk Woman (Live) (CD & digital bonus track)

This is not some raggedy-ass reissue music deserving to remain buried in the dust archives of soul impostors.  Swamp Dogg is the real thing.  The usual rating systems only scratch the surface of the man, the legend, the Doggfather.  5 stars or 10 out of 10 are deserved for his entire body of work.  Nobody has described Dogg better than himself:

“If your dog sleeps on the sofa, shits on the rug, pisses on the drapes, chews up your slippers, humps your mother-in-law’s leg, jumps on your new clothes, and licks your face, he’s never gotten out of character. You understand what he did, you curse while making allowances for him, but your love for him never diminishes. Commencing in 1970, I sung about sex, niggers, love, rednecks, war, peace, dead flies, home wreckers, Sly Stone, my daughters, politics, revolution, and blood transfusions (just to name a few), and never got out of character.”

So be the the first on your block to do it Swamp Doggystyle.  Make your parents or kids squirm.   Order it now as a digital download, cd, or the grandeur of a color vinyl pressing.


NEW SONG: The Love Language - "Calm Down" from upcoming album Ruby Red

The Love Language is North Carolina singer/songwriter Stuart McLamb with a rotating cast that includes up to 20 members. He has his third album (and first in three years), Ruby Red, due out July 23 on Merge Records.

For now, this song "Calm Down" is all you have to go by - but it's a good one - upbeat drumming to start out, nice reverb on the vocals:

Listen, read and pre-order at Merge Records. If you are one of the first 250 pre-orders, there's a limited edition cassette of demos available.

Love Language Facebook

Monday, May 13, 2013

NEW SONG: Myron & E - "If I Gave You My Love" from upcoming album Broadway

Myron & E (Bay Area soul players Myron Glasper and Eric "E da Boss" Cooke) have teamed up with the Soul Investigators to make an album, Broadway, that's due out in July on Stones Throw. The groove is tremendous, and they sing together well - this is fun stuff. 

Check out "If I Gave You My Love", and download it here:

Cooke (DJ, Producer) worked with the Investigators on the beginnings of this album when they were on tour in Europe together, then he came back to write and sing with Glasper, and they make a heck of a team.

I was recently reading the story of Hall & Oates' beginnings in Wax Poetics, and in reading about Myron & E, I was struck by some similarities... Like Hall & Oates, these guys came from the same area, apparently met by chance, and connected later on to make some really smooth music that seamlessly moves from old soul to new soul. They're pretty new, but they're also good and clearly committed. More to come from Stones Throw in advance of the album's release in July... stay tuned.

Myron & E at Stones Throw

Myron & E Facebook

REVIEW: Deep Red Sky - Plans

With intimate, introspective lyrical themes and dramatic arrangements that build to a grand scale, Edinburgh's Deep Red Sky may bring to mind Arcade Fire and fellow Scots Frightened Rabbit and Twilight Sad.  However, the quality of their music earns them the right to be considered on their own terms.  The band recently released two singles, and in 2011 released the cleverly titled EP The Job. The Flat. The Girlfriend.  All that leads up to Plans, their ten-track debut LP.  Proceedings lead off with "Zombies (Things Don't Stay The Same)".  The band indicates their confidence in the track not only by choosing it to begin the album, but by offering it as a free download.  Wise choice, I think.  It is energetic, melodic and emotionally affecting.  And fortunately for the listener, the following nine tracks continue to impress.  One danger incipient in an album of dramatic pop songs is lack of differentiation.  But that isn't a problem here as the songs on Plans are sufficiently diverse and memorable melodically.  The contributions of the five members merge seamlessly, and the multiple vocalists, including female backing vocals, add a measure of depth that is too rare in rock music.  And speaking of memorable, "Look On Your Face" is begging to be on some film's soundtrack.  Plans is a very good opening statement of a band that deserves following.

Deep Red Sky are Jamie Craighead (lead vocals, guitar), Jesse Stoddard (keys, vocals), Jos Collins (guitar, glockenspiel, vocals), Scott Cousins (bass) and John Alexander (drums).  Scott and Jamie were schoolmates, and met John at Napier University.

Plans is released today, May 13, on Soundreach Records.