Friday, July 21, 2017

Dr. John - Locked Down

New Orleans favorite son, Dr. John, has had a fantastic career, making some amazing r'n'r, r'n'b, soul and NOLA-flavored sounds. Of course, he had a huge hit with "Right Place, Wrong Time", but his Hoodoo/Voodoo soundtracks have been a fave in my household for decades.

Here he collaborates with the Black Keys' guitarist Dan Auerbach as producer and guitarist and continues with a variation on his classic tones. Not an imitation of previous records, but certainly with the essence.

Everything here is solid, but I particularly dig the Gris-Gris feel in "Big Shot" (nice horns and female backing vocals), the soul/funk of "Ice Age" (cool keyboard work here), the funky blues of "You Lie" and the soulful gospel of "God's Sure Good".

There are times when the Black Keys' influence comes to the forefront, such as in "Getaway", but it blends well with the Doctor's funky rhythms and totally works (and Dan pulls off a raucous solo here, as well).

This is a solid outing from the Mac Rebbenack - recommended!

Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome - the Seeger Sessions

On the surface, Springsteen seems like the perfect person to interpret songs made famous by Pete Seeger, and I do like this record overall, although sometimes it almost seems like he's trying to hard or something. He has a strong group of musicians accompanying him here and maybe almost too good at times - there's not really any of the ragged edge that Seeger, and the originals, had.

That said, it is still a fun project overall, especially songs like the New Orleans flavored take on "Jesse James" and "O Mary Don't You Weep", the fiddle-driven "John Henry", the Tom Waits-ian version of "Erie Canal", a traditional folk of "My Oklahoma Home" (although he tries a bit to hard to make his Jersey accent sound Southern), the melancholy ballad "Eye on the Prize", the uptempo "Pay Me My Money Down" and even the potentially super-silly "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" worked out in its simplistic arrangement.

When he gets a little too serious, as in "Mrs. McGrath", it gets a little bogged down, despite the attempt at a bit of an Irish jig here'n'there. Same with the gospel number "Jacob's Ladder", the ponderous "Shenandoah" and even the number that started the concept, "We Shall Overcome". Things do get a little same-y after a while too, as he encourages everyone to join in and everybody to take solos - sounds like this would be fun live, but on record is gets repetitive.

Obviously, Americana music has made a big resurgence over the last decade or so, with lots of big stars reinterpreting classic numbers, with varied success. I dug Neil Young's Americana a bit more than this one due to its rawness and Young's choices, but this is still worthwhile, if just for the Zydeco-driven sounds behind Bruce.

The Supersuckers - Devil's Food

I think that, back in the day, I wasn't a huge Supersuckers fan because I found them to be a little too jokey. Maybe I took myself a little too seriously? In any case, I thought that they rocked but were a bit silly. I've come to appreciate the silliness and now dig on their back catalog as well as the various work they have done since. This is a compilation of singles and "rare treats" that shows off the variety of sounds they have created over the years.

Opening with a very hard-rockin' Supersuckers' styled cut, "Gato Negro", they show that they could go head-to-head with Zeke, who was on the other side of this split single. "Shake It Off" is similarly rockin' with a plethora of dynamics and call'n'answer vocals. I always dug Outkast's "Hey Ya" and the Suckers actually do a legit version of it that retains the original grooviness combined with the the SS's heavy guitars. They cover Electric Frankenstein's "Teenage Shutdown" in a fairly subdued manner with acoustic guitars before giving a country version of their white trash "hit", "Doublewide". Back to electrified frantic-ness in "Team Man" and "Can Pipe" before delivering some bizarreness with the Chips' "Rubber Biscuit" (made famous by the Blues Brothers), done pretty true to the original. Another "country" version of another tune from Sacrilicious Sounds, "Born With as Tail" (one of their best) is followed by the heavy metal-ish title track, and then a fairly peculiar country take on the Commodores ballad "Sail On" that doesn't really improve this, frankly, crappy song (although the rave-up solo at the end helps).

Back to rock'n'roll with "Kid's Got It Coming", another return to Country for Jerry Reed's "East Bound and Down" (done quite straight-forward with some ace git-playin'), back to heaviness for "Then I'm Gone" and "Flyin' Into the Mid-Day Sun" and concluding with the kinda show-biz-y "End of an Era".

Cool comp and, like I say, it does give an indication of the different approaches they broached since their inception.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

recommended gigs


Friday July 21 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Sand Dollar
Friday July 21 - The Reeves Brothers at the Goldmine Tavern in Henderson

Saturday July 22 - Negative Nancys, New Waves, Alan Six and the Pope Virgins at Evel Pie

Monday July 24 - the Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday July 27 - Black Pussy, the Freeks, Freelsd's bad trip at Triple B
Thursday July 27 - David Allen Coe with Brandon Madejek and more at the Dive Bar

Wednesday August 2 - the Delta Bombers at the Beauty Bar
Wednesday August 2 - The Moonshiners and the All Togethers at The Space Las Vegas

Saturday Aug 5 - the Unwieldies at the German American Social Club

Monday August 7 - the New Waves with the Kilaueas at the Double Down

Friday August 11 - Goddamn Gallows, Fuzz Solow, the All Togethers at the Dive Bar

Saturday Aug 12 - the Sloths at the Golden Tiki
Saturday Aug 12 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger

Saturday August 19 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 23 - Les Grys Grys and the Van Der Rohe at the Griffin

Friday Sept 1 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Sunday Sept 3 - the Mapes, Gentlemen Prefer Blood, Odd Robot at the Dive Bar

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

Friday Sept 8 - Mitch Ryder at the Golden Nugget

Saturday Sept 23 - Danzig at the Brooklyn Bowl

Wednesday Sept 27 - Giuda at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Thursday Sept 28 - Thee Fourgiven reunion show with the Darts, the Jackets (from Switzerland) and the Laissez Fairs at the Bunkhouse

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Reeves Brothers - Home Sweet Honky-Tonk

I've been diggin' on the trad country of Pahrump's the Reeves Brothers since my pals in the Rhyolite Sound turned me on to them and after seeing them last Saturday night, I finally got a chance to pick up their CD. Brothers Matt and Cole are joined here by bassist Kelly (who has been playing their live shows with them) along with drummer KR Farrell, pedal steel man Steve Gall and pianist Steve West.

Great playing abounds on this disc - I've been blown away by the brothers live, and Gall slips'n'slides the pedal steel, as well, while Kelly and KR provide the country back beat. There's a good amount of variety within the country genre, as well - from the poppier "Plain and Simple Country" to the maudlin (but great) ballad "I'm Here to Drink It All" (love that title!), the honky-tonkin' piano on "Rita Ballou", Matt's catchy ballad "Shae's Song" (copious amounts of fine harmonies and git-playing here), and Cole's heart-felt slow burner, "Can We Try It All Again".

They pick up the pace a bit for the cool mid-tempo title track that kinda reminds me (thematically and somewhat musically) of Merle Haggards' "Swinging Doors", get a little bluesy with another Cole-penned tune, "She Ain't Never Coming Back Again", they tackle Ray Willis' tale of karmic retribution, "Lucy", with dual guitar leads and cool slide, then give us another tale of local talent that never made it in "Local Loser" (we all know at least a few of these - or maybe it's talking about one of us?), and then finish things off with a swingin' two-stepper that sounds like something that Jerry Lee would do (complete with fine piano work) in "Mary Jane".

As with most acts, I dig the energy of seeing the brothers live, but this is a first-rate souvenir of their sounds. Always good to see that real country is still alive'n'well!

The Saints - Stranded (Documentary)

The Saints' "(I'm) Stranded" was one of the first punk rock singles, released around the same time as the Damned's "New Rose" and the Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK" (of course, after NYC bands like the Ramones and Patti Smith debuted their albums), and with similar energy and power. They moved from their native Australia to England and gained popularity and broke boundaries as they added horns to their jackhammer sound and expanded their songwriting. As with most bands, they eventually fizzled out anti-climatically but not before influencing most punk rock to come and leaving an amazing legacy.

This documentary has some formidable footage of the group in its early days and interviews the members today, but it also gives an overview of the Australian punk rock (and post-punk) scene, as well as the British arena that they moved into. Lots of contemporaries appear, as well - Bob Geldof from the Boomtown Rats, Diggle from the Buzzcocks, Jello from the Dead Kennedys (who apparently saw the Saints in England) among others.

Short but engrossing and currently available on You Tube (where we saw it), so check it otu!

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Reeves Brothers, the Rhyolite Sound at the Beauty Bar / The Psyatics at Evel Pie - Saturday July 22, 2017

I've said it before - outdoor gigs in Las Vegas are not the best idea - it's blazingly hot in the summertime (it was over 100 degrees during these shows) and freezing cold in the winter time (I've been to a Beauty Bar show when it was 20 degrees). Regardless, this was a great night at both of these outdoor venues, and the B.Bar was especially packed for the night despite the heat.

I've been wanting to see the Reeves Brothers again since catching them at the Bunkhouse last month, and finally got a chance at this show. Brothers Cole and Matt are joined by Kelly on bass and this evening (as at the Bunkhouse), they had the Rhyolite Sound's Larry Reha sitting in on drums. Larry and Kelly hold down the fort while the brothers cut loose with amazing guitar playing (individually and dual leads/unison playing - some of the best playin' you're gonna see in town) and some terrific genetic harmonies. They mix originals with covers from the likes of Waylon, Jerry Reed, Merle Haggard and more to fill out a set of traditional Country (with a capital "C") music - no "bro-country" pop/pap here! There's a bit of the blues in "11 months and 29 Days", a nice ballad and they end with a rousing "Hot Rod Lincoln". If you're a fan of trad country, these boys are for you! I hope they continue to make more inroads to Vegas instead of just playing in their adopted home of Pahrump!











I made a quick dash across the street to Evel Pie to catch the Psyatics out in the back patio - I really wanted to catch them after missing their set last weekend at the Double Down and I wanted to check out this relatively new venue. As usual, they did not disappoint - despite roasting in the open air (it had gone down to 104 by the time they started). I didn't take as many notes as I should have, but they were tight'n'solid as they ran through numbers from their three CD's, stompin'n'shoutin'n'sweatin' with guitarist Jack roamin' the "room". Dancer Ivana Blaize added more visuals to the proceedings and raised the temperature a few degrees herself! Outta site set of their own unique brand of garage punk'n'roll.











Back to the Beauty Bar to find the Rhyolite Sound a few songs into their set and joined for a number or two by Clydesdale's Paige Overton on harmony vocals. Another special guest was Matt Reeves from the Reeves Brothers on drums! No steel player this evening, but an A-#1 set of their own brand of honky tonk, again combining originals with old school covers, and I would defy you to tell the difference. I wish I took more notes, but you've seen me rantin'n'ravin' about these cats for years now, so you know that you need to see them if you haven't! They played to one of the biggest crowds I've seen at the BB this eve and I'm sure they won over plenty of new converts. They're going to be playing Life is Beautiful this year, so let's hope that the audience there digs 'em as much as this crowd did!









I do wish that Vegas could manage to not put every show that I want to see on the same night, but at least these two were (very) close together! I didn't even have time to sample the pizza at Evel Pie, so I definitely need to get back there! Oh, and I gotta give a shout-out to DJ Hanson for spinnin' some amazing discs at the Beauty Bar! Fun times on Fremont!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

RIP George Romero


George A. Romero, 'Night of the Living Dead' creator, dies at 77
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His movies were about as rock'n'roll as it gets. He will live long after he's dead. RIP.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Complete Them 1964 - 1967

Of course, everyone knows Van Morrison's 60's band, Them, for their original version of "Gloria", but as this collection clearly shows, there were plenty more classic cuts where that came from! Mixing R'n'B, blues, garage and even a little jazz, this combo served up a potent, rockin' stew and gave the Americans lots of material to use while stompin'n'shoutin' in their garages.

This 3 disc set compiles their first two albums as well as singles, demos, live tracks and previously unreleased material. Unfortunately, I got this from our local library and it did not have the booklet, so I am left without that information, but with all of the amazing tunes!

Starting with a frantic take on the R'n'B classic "Don't Start Cryin' Now", they then slow down for a sultry groover, "One Two Brown Eyes", followed by THEE version of "Baby Please Don't Go" that was used as a template by damn near every garage and rock band to come. Their original "Gloria" is dirtier'n'grungier than the Shadows of Knight take (great as that is - and that was the hit in Chicago-land, where I grew up), "Philosphy" is cool'n'bluesy, and then another of their best, "Here Comes the Night", movin' from slow to fast and damn soulful throughout. "All For Myself" is pure blues, fueled by Van's keyboard, "One More Time" is a bluesy ballad, "How Long Baby" is a bit more soulful, highlighted by Morrison organ arpeggios and nicely tremelo'd guitar, and then we get the outta control, ravin' r'n'b stomper, "Mystic Eyes" - it moves dynamically from cool blues to frenzied mayhem and never loses its power. Still a classic! "If You and I Could Be As Two" is more of a mid-tempo swinger, "Little Girl" is more uptempo blues, with a quintessential guitar/keyboard trade-off breakdown before a fine rave-up ending. They borrow from "Green Onions" for their version of "Just a Little Bit", and thrown in cool sax and keyboard solos and then they almost rescue the folk song "I Gave My Love a Diamond" from its own sappiness. I dig the minor key moodiness and excessive echo of "You Just Can't Win", the Stones-y "Go On Home Baby", the pop-soul of the ballad "Don't Look Back", the white-boy James Brown stylings of "I Like It Like That", the dark blues/soul of "I'm Gonna Dress in Black", the lift from "Hit the Road Jack" for their jazzy take on "Bright Lights, Big City", the "borrowing" of Bo Diddley's "Crackin' Up" in "My Little Baby", the jumpin' romp through "Route 66" and the disc's finale with the ballad "(It Won't Hurt) Half As Much".

Disc 2 is equally jam-packed with great garage/r'n'b numbers done in their distinctive style - cool keys, raw, raspy vocals and tight backings. There are lots of highlights here, but especially great is their jazzy/blues version of "I Put a Spell on You", their incredibly rockin' "I Can Only Give You Everything" (again, covered by almost every garage band from the MC5 to the Strypes and everyone in between), their take on Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman", a nicely funky "Out of Sight", a fantastic "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (once more, how many bands used this as their template for their covers?), a swingin' "Hello Josephine", their extraordinary take on "Richard Cory", with groovy 6-string bass solos, and excellent jazzy blues with "Stormy Monday" and "Times Gettin' Tougher Than Tough", among numerous others.

On the third disc we get demos and live cuts, including several versions of "Gloria" (of course - and some of them have pretty different deliveries), as well as "Stormy Monday", "Turn On Your Love Light" (rockin' rave up in this one), "Baby Please Don't Go", "Here Comes the Night" (several takes), "Little Girl" (amazing dynamics), and a very dissimilar take on "Richard Cory", along with lots more!

Pretty amazing set that will remind you of just how great this band was, as if you would need that!


recommended gigs

Friday July 14 - Bluegrass Jam at Mountain Crest Park

Saturday July 15 - Cash'd Out and the Rhyolite Sound and the Reeves Brothers at the Beauty Bar
Saturday July 15 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki
Saturday July 15 - the Psyatics, Old Rivals, Better Broken at Evel Pie

Monday July 17 - the Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday July 21 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Sand Dollar

Saturday July 22 - Negative Nancys, New Waves, Alan Six and the Pope Virgins at Evel Pie

Monday July 24 - the Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday July 27 - Black Pussy, the Freeks, Freelsd's bad trip at Triple B
Thursday July 27 - David Allen Coe with Brandon Madejek and more at the Dive Bar

Wednesday August 2 - the Delta Bombers at the Beauty Bar
Wednesday August 2 - The Moonshiners and the All Togethers at The Space Las Vegas

Monday August 7 - the New Waves with the Kilaueas at the Double Down

Friday August 11 - Goddamn Gallows, Fuzz Solow, the All Togethers at the Dive Bar

Saturday Aug 12 - the Sloths at the Golden Tiki

Saturday August 19 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 23 - Les Grys Grys and the Van Der Rohe at the Griffin

Friday Sept 1 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Sunday Sept 3 - the Mapes, Gentlemen Prefer Blood, Odd Robot at the Dive Bar

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

Friday Sept 8 - Mitch Ryder at the Golden Nugget

Wednesday Sept 27 - Giuda at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Thursday Sept 28 - Thee Fourgiven reunion show with the Darts, the Jackets (from Switzerland) and the Laissez Fairs at the Bunkhouse

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Sunday, July 09, 2017

The Pluralses, Stagnetti's Cock, Swamp Pussy at the Double Down, Friday July 7, 2017



The Double Down Saloon had a 6 band marathon this night, which ran well into the early hours of the following day - much longer than this old man could stay for! The evening was filled with songs about body parts and bodily functions - more cock, pussy and tits tunes that you could shake your dick at - and all kinds of variations of punk rock.

The Pluralses opened and I had wished that they had started a little earlier, as it was a band-heavy bill and the place was packed - more so than almost any other time I've been there - right from the start. Regardless, they plowed through a set of simple'n'fast punk rock, singing tales of true stories about dicks, tits'n'blow jobs. Apparently, there has been some "controversy" about their song "She Was Asking For It" because people weren't really paying attention to the lyrics, but all was well this eve! Drummer Lavin has really improved since the last time I saw them and there were goofy but tight.



I never really know what Stagnetti's Cock is trying to do, musically. Certainly, some take on punk rock, but with blues rock tendencies (which I like), classic rock sounds and a bit a metal here'n'there, and thrown in a chaotic blender and shot out in an anarchic way. The core group can really play, but just to mess with everyone, they add extra people - an extra guitar, and extra bass, a harmonica player who didn't have the right key for his harp - and it all devolves into a barely recognizable "Roadhouse Blues". Weirdly fun, though I would like to get their recording so I can hear what the songs are actually supposed to sound like!






It was pretty damn late already by the time that Swamp Pussy got going (and smokey as heck, as you can see in these pix), and I was wiped out from my day at work, so couldn't stay for their whole set of noisy metal punk, but they continued with the theme of songs about body parts and bodily functions (as their name would suggest). There were funny and goofy but could play, so I would like to check them out again at some point.



I was sorry that I couldn't stick around to see the Psyatics, who I really came out for, but I think that my age is catching up with me!

Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys - Viv Alvertine

Since first discovering the Slits via (most likely) England's Sounds magazine, I have been fascinated by the group though I have found that I prefer their attitude and style more than the music itself. But when I found out that Viv, their guitarist, wrote a book, I was more than interested in learning her point of view as part of the early British punk rock scene.

Just a few years older than me, she lived through the excitement of the 60's music scene, dug the 70's glam happenings and naturally gravitated towards the punk scene as it emerged. Hanging out with many of the early members, particularly Sid Vicious, she became a familiar face, was befriended by Malcolm and Vivienne of SEX, was somewhat romantically linked to Johnny Thunders when he spent some time in England (and he turned her on to heroin) and was Mick Jones' (the Clash) girlfriend for a time. She joined the already existing Slits, replacing their original guitarist and finding a place for herself that she hadn't known before. She has plenty of tales of the band's escapades - touring, recording and romantic - and then, like most groups, the band dissolved rather anti-climatically.

In "Side Two", Viv gets into her post-musical life, which takes her back to college and into film and video work and she marries. She spends years desperately trying to get pregnant (during which she gives up her career) and this consumes her life and her description sounds like an extremely unhealthy obsession. But, it finally happens. It almost kills her, but it happens. (Sorry, an obsession I cannot relate to.) And then, jeezuz freakin' krist - she gets cancer! This is another long and drawn out recovery and she slowly - excruciatingly slowly - brings herself back to health. That's when she decides she's no longer in love with the husband who has stood by her through all of these painful trials and tribulations!To be fair, it sounds like he had moved on emotionally as well. She - again slowly - tries to reclaim herself through art and music and makes more mistakes, but comes out alive and reasonably whole.

I really enjoy Albertine's writing style - filled with excitement and imagery, with chapters that are short - sometimes just a page or page and a half - which seems quite punk rock, doesn't it? As usual, her time in the music scene is the most interesting for me, but even her post-musical life was filled with enough drama to keep you engrossed. I really enjoyed this one!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

recommended gigs


Friday July 7 - the Part Time Criminals at the Brooklyn Bowl
Friday July 7 - Stagnetti's Cock, the Pluralses, Psyatics, Swamp Pussy, All Souls and Fat Dukes of Fuck at the Double Down

Saturday July 8 - Blondie and Garbage at the Palms
Saturday July 8 - the All Togethers at World of Beer Henderson

Sunday July 9 - Brian Lee Dunning and the Legendary Boilermakers at Evel Pie

Monday July 10 - the Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday July 11 - Duke Robillard at the Sand Dollar

Wednesday July 12 - the Jigsaw Seen at the Beauty Bar
Wednesday July 12 - Johnny Zig and the Highlighters at the Double Down

Friday July 14 - Bluegrass Jam at Mountain Crest Park

Saturday July 15 - Cash'd Out and the Rhyolite Sound and the Reeves Brothers at the Beauty Bar
Saturday July 15 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki
Saturday July 15 - the Psyatics, Old Rivals, Better Broken at Evel Pie

Monday July 17 - the Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Friday July 21 - Shanda and the Howlers at the Sand Dollar

Saturday July 22 - Negative Nancys, New Waves, Alan Six and the Pope Virgins at Evel Pie

Monday July 24 - the Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday July 27 - Black Pussy, the Freeks, Freelsd's bad trip at Triple B
Thursday July 27 - David Allen Coe with Brandon Madejek and more at the Dive Bar

Wednesday August 2 - the Delta Bombers at the Beauty Bar

Friday August 11 - Goddamn Gallows, Fuzz Solow, the All Togethers at the Dive Bar

Saturday Aug 12 - the Sloths at the Golden Tiki

Saturday August 19 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Aug 23 - Les Grys Grys and the Van Der Rohe at the Griffin

Sunday Sept 3 - the Mapes, Gentlemen Prefer Blood, Odd Robot at the Dive Bar

Thursday Sept 7 - Sept 10 - Big Blues Bender at the Plaza

Friday Sept 8 - Mitch Ryder at the Golden Nugget

Thursday Sept 28 - Thee Fourgiven reunion show with the Darts, the Jackets (from Switzerland) and the Laissez Fairs at the Bunkhouse

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Monks - Hamburg Recordings 1967

The Monks album Black Monk Time and their performances on Beat Club were stuff of legend for decades before enough eccentric tastes caught up with them (with the help of people like Mike Stax and his Ugly Things magazine) and the record was reissued as a CD and then another CD of their Early Years was released. This five song CD-EP includes one song from the session that produced their final single and four songs that were recorded at the Top Ten Club club, where they were playing, after hours. By all accounts, these are the final recordings the group ever did.

"I'm Watching You" was done during the last "actual" recording session and its rotating riff and rhythms and chord progressions and changes are still pretty Monks-like. The rest of the numbers, though, they freely admit were not natural for them and they were a way to appease the more pop-oriented audience members. "Julia" is still a bit odd, but pretty darn pop, "PO Box 3291" has the insistent Monks rhythm and I dig the call'n'answer vocals, with the backing vocals counting out the numbers. There's some mysterious trumpet that I don't see credited (am I missing it?) on "I Need U Shatzi" along with some catchy "heys!". The trumpet reappears for the instrumental "Yellow Grass" that continues with the drivin' beat they are known for as well as the keyboards melodies, but the banjo is either missing or mixed down through these recordings.

All in all, not completely unlike the Monks, but definitely different and less eclectic than the songs they are famous for. Still, any fan should own this!

Neil Young - Earth

This 2016 release is a live concept album with the band Promise of the Real that has been augmented with animal and insect noises and some studio overdubs - particularly with commercial jingle singers adding an unsettling effect by seemingly promoting the companies (Exxon and Monsanto) that Young is railing against. The common thread here is that the themes are all based on the planet that we live on and the harm that man has done tos aid planet.

The songs come from various previous albums, especially Ragged Glory and The Monsanto Years. Their are some mellower, acoustic moments combined with raw, electric numbers like "My Country Home", with Young's guitar cutting through like only it can. "The Monsanto Years" has the before-mentioned insect sounds and vocals added and then "Western Hero" is done with mostly acoustic guitars and piano. "Vampire Blues" is musically based on a basic blues pattern, with Young's crazed guitars and, again, a theme of taking from the earth - oil, instead of blood. More heavy guitar in "Hippie Dream", a nice acoustic take of "After the Gold Rush" as well as "Human Highway".

For Disc 2 we get the dramatic rant against corporations and the economic destruction done to our country in the big rock of "Big Box" from The Monsanto Years, which has musical references to classic rock songs, making it work musically as well as thematically. In "People Want To Hear About Love", he rants against those who don't want to know about the harm being done to the planet. More acoustic guitar and harmonica in "Wolf Moon", then for the grand finale, there is a 28 minute electric jam on "Love and Only Love".

Young rarely disappoints and this is another good one - not his best, but a solid work and I dig that he is still willing to experiment - maybe even more willing to experiment - as he gets older.


The Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki, Monday July 3, 2017

I don't get out much on Monday nights, but seeing as the next day was a holiday, I decided to make the trek to Chinatown to check out the Swank Bastards. Every version of this band - and there are many - is great in its own way, but this incarnation with Turbo on drums and Murphy on bass is pretty damn powerful and musical simultaneously. Turbo flails away while Murphy throws in some ridiculous riffs'n'tricks (check him out on guitar in the Bitters to see some crazed shredding!) behind Jesse's staccato surf licks. Jesse takes over as much of any club as his extended guitar cord will let him, leaving the rhythm section on their lonesome for most of the set. Always entertaining musically and visually (and with some bad, crude jokes here'n'there), the Bastards are a guaranteed good time. I was surprised at how many people filled up the Golden Tiki on a Monday night, too!




(Jesse and the mermaid)