10 July 2018
FACEBOOK // BANDCAMP
When Crosscut Sores 2017 album Raunch Date came out it was the gnarliest of a long spate of gnarlyass punk blues acts, bands like: Jim Jones Review, Chickensnake, 20 Miles, Black Mekon, and scruffy upstarts like Jooks of Kent - Tim and Scarlet from Crosscut Sores' previous formation - all set the guitar volume to STUN, and bury the needle in sludge blues and pop monster rod riffage, that frankly requires an ear adjustment, like a tilt of the head, or a blast from the headers on Tim and Scarlet's homebuilt hotrod to get it thru yr skull. It's thick, and sounds like it was recorded on a killer Hi-Fi boom box in the practice space, then mixed at a million buck studio. It sounds like what music probably sounds like in a ramshackle hotrod at eighty miles an hour on a gravel straightaway.
Crosscut Sores' 2018 volume Dead Slick in the Autodrome squawks, grinds, tear-asses, halts, explodes, and swings in overblown but controlled Crampsian fury.
Like Raunchdate, their second album is taut, with a stony, headphoned undercurrent of menace, but here they've distilled it...whatever "it" is...and banged it with a ball-peen hammer, slapped it with a soft chamois, and buffed a little bit of shine to it, but it's the same Beefhearty garage demo blast of bent alt-blues and rock & Roll as ever.
The low boogie guitar and Stoogesish boat-horned saxophone keep the barn door blown open, while cheap-mic'd vocals ghost in, out, and shout! The bass drum thumps like boots on the front porch at midnight, like falling dishware the cymbals clatter, the piano crawls the parking lot looking for loose change, as buzz-saw guitar and backward-tape effects sail through the thick, grimy, south England fog, dragging its leg behind it, a finger on one hand jabbing skyward, the other hand a hard-knuckled clenched fist.
17 tracks made of busted leather and greasey selvedge cuffs ground down at the heel but pressed sharp as a blade up front. Get it.
18 June 2018
I was looking thru my list of drafts...stuff I've started but not finished, and came across this band from 2012. I don't know what happened, why I didn't write about them, but it's evidently too late now because them don't seem to exist anymore.
No FB page...just a handful YouTube videos, a few things on soundcloud but they're mostly repeats of the videos, and one song on BandCamp: The semi-pro shot dark black and white one, the semi-pro-shot intimate augmented practice session one, the semi-pro-shot intimate black and white and scratchy gray two dudes playing on an old bus looking like they're from the late 30s one, one in a lovely light sepia playing a lovely cover of I Want To Dance With Somebody that looks all ready for the sadly ill-fated Couch By CouchWest to come back..someday one, and the pro-shot intimate practice session color video one. They've vanished mysteriously, Caspar & The Howling. Enjoy, better late than never.
25 April 2018
// Bandcamp //
Somewhere deep in the audio version of the post - R.L. Burnside blues bible you'll find, after The First Testament of Bob Dylan and Ray Wylie Hubbard's Revelations, and a few Psalms past brilliant fellow Massachusian outfit Tarbox Ramblers sits a chapter on the power-triune known as WHOA! MAN! JESUS!
Jamaica Plain's own Whoa! Man! Jesus! bring that Burnside boogie and make an album that I wish Dylan couldawoulda made (oh don't get "all Dylan can do no wrong" cranky cuz that last one was overrated to hell 'n back and you know it). Whoa!Man!Jesus! in their album title Must I Holler ask an appropriate musical question given their driving although utterly understated delivery. Must they holler? No. They need not. W!M!J! pack as much punch at a third the volume of most bands. I remember once arguing with a young musician who felt it was much harder and showed more skill to be able to play loud. As I recall I countered with "oh, bullshit." Whoa! Man! Jesus! more than prove me right. These guys could rock the hell out of your parents living room without their neighbors being the wiser. Two guitars+one drummer (and not ones to buck the alt-blues standard - no bass player!) W!M!J! recorded Must I Holler live in the studio save for some tambourine texturizing and it has an understated swing to it that will draw you back for repeated listenings.
While it's the strength of the music that draws you in and keeps you it's the lyrics that will seal the deal. Sure there are the wicked R.L.-ian versions of Bukka White's Shake 'em On Down and Leadbelly's Hangman, Hangman but my friend and yours Jesus make a couple appearances, too. Once in rockin' folker Jesus Was Not American which totally appeals to the knee-jerk bed wetting liberal elite in me. And rather than taking cheap, boring shots at Jesus they lob subtle common sense, cliche-free sarcasm at His followers that give Jesus a bad name. I was delighted to see the song was in part influenced by Rev. Jim Wallis, a minister who (surprise!) is interested in social justice issues. Jesus shows up again (elsewhere more subtly) in Yer Jesus Don't Rock which, according to the WHOA! MAN! JESUS! lyrics blog is "Inspired by those who in response to Hurricane Katrina gazed down from airplane windows, sent Bibles, etc".
But I don't want to over labor the Jesus stuff 'cuz hellfire it's the Dylan/Burnside boogie that takes precedent throughout. I just want to make the point that -GASP!- these guys actually give some thought to what they are about, not unlike Dylan, and that makes me really frkn happy. This is just such a fine, smart, hypnotic album that I do not hesitate to rank Whoa! Man! Jesus! Must I Holler as one of the finest albums I have had the pleasure to hear so far this year. Whoa!Man!Jesus! may play it on the low down but you will play it as loud as you can get away with.
Whoa! Man! Jesus! is dead. Long live Whoa! Man! Jesus!
You can and should download their one album for free from Bandcamp.
PS- I must give THANKS to my pal UKs DJ HiLLFUNK for hippin' me to Whoa!Man!Jesus!
(Originally published AUGUST 6, 2008)
23 December 2017
TALK ABOUT RECORDS Releases Live On Tape Split Series Vol. 1 with America's Lonewolf One-Man Band & Sardinia's River of Gennargentu
Talk About Records // Lonewolf OMB //
River of Gennargentu
Just in time for the holidays comes a terrific release from the Sardinian record label Talk About Records have released a split cassette/digital download recordings with America's Lonewolf One-Man Band and Sardinia's River of Gennargentu.
Both recordings are complete live sets, Lonewolf OMB's recorded at De Melkbus Theatre in Dordrecht, Netherlands, June 3rd, 2015, while River Of Gennargentu's set was recorded at Museo Ex Casa Lai in Gavoi, Sardinia, December 28th, 2015.
Both solo performances carry a certain presence...a feeling that you are in the room as it goes down, the Lonewolf OMB recording the rawer of the two and more akin to the punk country blues of The Gun Club or a fast and loud banjo frailing Howlin' Wolf, where River of Gennergentu is straight Mississippi drone and boogie blues fed thru a fine Sardinian filter that combines with the acoustics of the ancient stone room to somehow harrow it to a more primal...haunted, olde blues...the sound of a lost man in the deep, dark, oak woods, just hollering for help. The occasional dog barks only help set that vibe. I cannot recommend these recordings enough, and cannot wait to hear who's up for Volume two in this series.
Set lists for both
performances are as below. Each cassette is available from the Talk About Records page for a special limited and numbered run of 300 tapes (+digital download) for 6E or approx $7usd plus shipping, and is also available as a digital down load for 6E or approx $7usd
Lonewolf OMB set list:
1. Swamp Hermit
2. Up the river
3. Growling At The Moon Again
4. Coal Black Maddie
5. Flat Spell Blues
6. Band Aid Blues
7. Dream Sea
8. Down At The Tracks
9. Little Black Crow
10. Canned Catfish Blues
River of Gennargentu set:
1. I Need To Move
2. Jump Baby Jump (Jessie Mae Hemphill)
3. Poor Black Mattie (RL Burnside)
4. Between Troubled Waters
5. Hard Times Killin’ Floor (Skip James) / Goin’ Down South (RL Burnside) / My Mind Wandering 6. Someday Baby (Hammie Nixon, Sleepy John Estes)
09 November 2017
Facebook // Bandcamp
I'm so digging the new
album by UK's Crosscut Sores! Comprised of Tim and Scarlett, ex-members of the beloved Jooks of Kent, Crosscut Sores bring the same fkd up punkass garage blues as the Jooks, now with more thick greasy sludge and homemade ratrod distortion slugged in the back of the head with blasts of Stoogian sax and slurried leaks of piano. If anything can blast the winter off your sorry hide and roll your bones into summer it's this 15 tracks of diamond sharp imperial dirt. Get it!
15 September 2017
BUY via Bandcamp // Soundcloud // FB // YT //
The sky's ablaze over Brighton. Heat lightening, knocking the city aglow. A Morphine hum fills the cracks in the sidewalk. The fox at Palace Pier is prowling low, now slipping through fence posts and backyards howling...hearing the music...which way is home?
Brighton, England's Mudlow have a new ep out called Crackling. The last in a series of three EPs and following the Letter To Louise and Minnesota EPs.
I've really dug these collections. They're the perfect length, because Mudlow songs tend to be somewhat cinematic, in depth, vibe, and sonics. Just four songs. Three musicians. You have plenty of time to invest in them at that length. To really listen. Which means there's no room for filler. I'd be happy if they kept on doing EPs. In fact I'd dig it if more bands went this route.
Who has time for seventy-five minutes of music? Do four songs, upload 'em everywhere. Put them out on a thick ten-inch record. A souvenir. That's what people want. A tangible memory of the affair. But I digress about this. Again.
Here's the spiel:
Crackling is a set of four new Mudlow scenes or vignettes as song. I say it every time, Mudlow makes soundtracks waiting for a movie. But here's the thing about this band: They're not a casual listen. I think you kinda gotta get proper old school and actually sit down and listen to the band thru speakers, not ear buds (though that's fine, too) I think you gotta spend some time with them. A glass of whiskey wouldn't hurt (unless it does) and just get lost.
On Crackling, you will take a trip to Mudlow Country. Mudlow consistently do their Mudlow thing. Much like Morphine, Echo & The Bunnymen or Richard Hawley or Waits do theirs. I'm not suggesting Mudlow sound like either...and yet... but rather they are their own thing. They are in the alt-rock-blues-country whatever world, but not of it. This isn't some brit-based Americana wanna-be, either. I may claim Mudlow are their own genre, they're their own thing, yet they are deeply familiar...U.S blues-based rockishness, but with a U.K. pulp novel noir vibe...not quite country, blues, jazz, rock, yet all of these. At once. When it's raining. Downtown. Gritty, rural, yet elegant. Especially when you include their whole catalog, the early work with tough and sometimes haunted Morphine-like saxophone and horn sections.
Mudlow is a terrific (in the true sense of the word) and unique band and they have done their best work here. It's a distillation of the Mudlow sound, poured four fingers deep over three ice cubes on 2017's Crackling.
Let's talk about Mudlow's stylish bassist/ engineer/ producer Paul Pascoe. I can't imagine anyone else recording this band. He's recorded them from the start with Welcome To Mudlow Country to the new Crackling. Pascoe's recordings have always been very tasteful, allowing everything to breath, and giving the band the noir filmic sound it's big salacious heart desires. No instrument overpowers the other. Each is just as important as the other. Like a fist. Like prayer hands. Like the tabletop knife game.
Drummer Matt Latcham is both the knife and the fingers in this equation, stabbing, swinging, but keeping a hand on the table. They're a band that has played together so long they finish each other's musical sentences, each note placed where it should be...on the spot.
The low down::--->
1. Crackling - Car wheels on a rotten paved and gravel road turn with a screech of tire on asphalt headed to anywhere but here. Storm clouds forming, windows down...night is coming on.
2. Bad Hand - A classic english blues, but you wouldn't know it. #Swingit!
3. Caz - Harrowing blues.
4. Red Ribbon - Classic old timey story of trouble, po-lice, and colored lights.
Lyrics for each song on Crackling, provided by Tobias Mudlow, are below:
Crackling: You said you were going to leave, you never got that far, somewhone's going to pay for the damage to my car. When you quit your crying , fetch your things from the yard, that's a heavy horizon, it's a gathering of clouds. You could take another step a little closer to the fire. The skylines alive, with javelins of light, like filaments under glass as they crackle and die, There's clean sheets on the bed, I'll sleep down the hall, some money on the night stand, you could leave after the storm. Or you could take another step a little closer to the fire.
Bad Hand: No warm welcome waiting when your women gets home,X2. Just another old mare, slipping through the fence post, just another old mare. She can't stand me no more. You ought to not let her ride another mans mule,X2. She'll leave you sad and lonely, like a hair lip fool, leave you sad and low. She can't stand me no more. My reason for breathing is leaving on this evenings train,X2. She took off with my best friend, now I see my kids on the weekends, she took off with my best friend. She can't stand me no more. I wound up in an alley on a pallet in the pouring rain,X2. Curled up like a bill fold, I laid my bad hand down, curled up like a bill fold. She can't stand me no more.
Caz: Your momma's calling you Caroline, you been out till 3am, you got boys in the back of your daddy's car, your gonna wake the dog in your back yard. Caroline where the hell have you
Been? Long blond hair and an overcoat, drinking wine and getting loaded, they say some swallows never land? Pop the cap throw back your head. Caroline where the hell have you been? Poor old absent minded Si, they shaved his head when he lost his mind, like the day old J.P. Jumped the river, he got high too fast and fell to quickly. Caroline where the hell have you been???
Red Ribbon: I dropped a little red ribbon down by the roadside, I let diesel soak up in the sand, an old fella over by the gas pump, with a loaded forty five, nickel and pearl grip curled up in his hand, stone cold and a straight back in the sunshine, I feel like the whole world turned numb, my belly sticking to my shirt tails, a cold sweat on my brow, I got a little taste of copper on my tongue. God damn you God Damn why you got to do things that way? I got up this morning , so much trouble now I should have just stayed where I lay. Now I can see the red lights on the hill top, I can see the blue lights on the ridge, somebody must have heard the gunshot, they phoned the police, I guess they told them what I did, Can you hear them banging on my front door, now they're running around the back, somebody's blowing on the bullhorn, telling me to get down, on my knees hands on my head. God damn God damn why you got to do things that way, I woke up this morning, so much trouble now, I think I'll just stay where I lay.....
Here's a special NSK Remix of the track Crackling, along with a remixed instrumental version. Finally, the music of Mudlow has been orchestraed, while keeping and deeping their Mudlowness. They are amazing, powerful, beautiful pieces.
12 May 2017
|I see a dozen spirits in this photo.|
BUY // Label // FB //
Chicken Snake stands tall in the collective shadow of bands like The Gun Club, The Cramps, Handsome Family, CCR, Cap'n Beefheart, Stooges, X...and the ghosts of the early-mid Rolling Stones, too, for that matter.
They're bands that excavate and reimagine American blues and country music into their own primeval landscape, their own often base yet book-smart, shadowy, cinematic, symbolized, and often haunting world-view of rocking. Chicken Snake dance with that long, dark southern shadow through a Sticky Fingered New York City swamp at vesper, doing a bluesy, Velvetsy, graveyard boogie.
From Bristol to Detroit, New York to Mississippi, they're a band that conveys a definite sense of place, and you can't help but know where they're coming from, and where they're residing. I hear music that's deeply, naturally southern...gothic...but this is not some Qute retro hokem jingle-jangle homage, but rather, it's a dark and low down music with myth and mystery, folk-life literacy, and back road country cautions.
Listen, in the vale of the night, the new moon rising over the hill, dogs begin to howl. You up and take off running down a tenebrous trail thick with cedar knees to trip on, and Spanish moss to get tangled up in as you hustle to the sliver-mooned late dark of a gravel road where, in the distance shining hard, you see the lights of a hotly lit dog-trot house, and you stop...breathing hard...to listen...at a guitar growl and a voice moaning, "Tombstone head and a graveyard mind..."
The night is dark and the sky is blue as Chicken Snake hitches Hasil Adkins' rattling commodity country trailer to the eternal night boogie of John Lee Hooker's '67 Coupe De Ville. They top it off with Keith n' Ronnie's Funkycountrybluesstomp Slash n' Gas, then pull that lowboy out into the drone of a north Mississippi, west Louisiana, Alabama sunset. Chooglin. In the rearview, you can just make out Buddy & Julie Miller playing cards with Lux and Ivy in a TV-lit kitchenette at the No-Tell Motel, lovingly warmed by The Fire Of Love...then Iggy and Alan Vega walk in with a stack of southern B-Movies and a bottle of lightning...
Jerry Teel is straight out of Andalusia, south Alabama, between Enterprise and Opp, north of the gulf, north of Niceville. Pauline Teel hails from Orange, Texas, a small town on the Tx/La border. The Teel's met Josh, a Pennsylvanian, and Jessica, a Virginian, in NYC after Katrina. Josh, worked at a record store near Jerry and Pauline's place, and both couples it turned out were New Orleans refugees, though they didn't know each other in the Crescent City.
I asked Josh Lee Hooker about his musical connection with legendary punk country blues guitar maestro Jerry Teel, (formerly of The Chrome Cranks, Knoxville Girls, Boss Hog, Honeymoon Killers, among others) and he tells me,
"I think Jerry and I have a rare shared affinity for our specific conception of music. I mean that we each created (as any passionate listener does) our own idiosyncratic notions of what makes music good, what things have meaning and what don't—and then it turned out that those independent, idiosyncratic notions happened to be eerily similar. So, it's very easy for me to play with Jerry, because we have the perspective without having to discuss anything. Of course, it's also my great privilege to play with him, whose work I've known since the early 90s."
Guitarist Hooker (no relation beyond spiritual) is a perfect foil for guitarist Teel, and the two men work as a team, like gandy dancers, like knife-fighters, like Glimmer Twins, while minimalist on-point drummer Jessica-Melain, elegant on snare and floor tom, keeps the primeval hunch from falling off the bone. Singer Pauline Teel is a powerful and wise presence, teaming with Jerry on vocals or singing solo, walking like Ivy, like a dust devil, like a Fire Spirit...countering Jerry's rusty, country plaint as punk poet Loretta to his Howlin' Conway.
Tombstone and Bones is a hard, soulful, bluesed-out, country-infected rock and roll album, and that represents so well with the first track, the low country evol soul duet of Muddy Water Mystery with it's slow, drawling refrain,
"I don't want to get on your bad side,
don't know what kind of mood your in"
It's the sound of menace, of a darker shade of night, a faster flickering candle, the pages of a book turning on their own, or a car coasting down hill on a on a moonless night, on a graveled country road, and going no-brakes 'round the corner...
Now, Donna Lynn, in a perfect world, would be a monster hit single, with its insanely evil Bo-Chuck-Keith-Stooges guitar paroxysms, with its one-string solo fury....drummer Jessica is a simple yet efficient machine, as Teel and Hooker throw knives and hurl bombs of beautiful guitar savagery like we sure as hell don't hear enough of these days.
Guitarist Josh Lee Hooker tells me,
"The Donna Lynn guitar stuff is my attempt (after my understanding of Cale-era Velvet Underground) to create tension and momentum, principally through "wrong" notes, and notes that start off "right" but then are bent and pulled into something more atonal.
Jerry and Pauline have had the song Donna Lynn since the very beginning of the band, back in '09 maybe. We played it a few times during rehearsals for the 1st record, but never really came up with a good version. Only recently, with the Velvets/Alan Vega thing we do now, did it actually sound right."
Black Crow Talkin' Blues is a rockin' old-timey natural world gospel song, but Hot + Cold is a Crampsy pompatus of love, breakin' it down, layin' it out.
The candy-silver metal-flake holler of Black Pony, with it's mocking, ascending guitar line, Louisiana campfire nightmare vocals, and trottin' dog drum beat, is a dream I don't want to have, but I don't mind to visit from here. Rich Man Blues could be a 'Stones out take, or better yet a Ron Wood outtake.
Lay It Down is evocative of a late summer heat spell- hot, dirty, and threatening, like a cross between Bo Diddley and a Saturday night fight.
Tombstone and Bones ends the set with haunting slide work, and some gorgeous harmonica set to a woozy gospel blues lamentation, "It's too late, too late, too late, too late, lock up your door, shut up your gate, their ain't nothin' left, but a tombstone and bones..."
It's a haunting, primitive sound, Chicken Snake's.
A raw, unpretentious old-timey/ swampy/ stonesy, creeptastic, Super Primordial Mejores éxitos de Rock sound tempered in North Mississippi hill country trance and drone blues...a driving, primal, dirty, citified country blues and boogie that sounds as fresh and dangerous today as it would have eighty years ago. One of my favorite albums of the year. I highly recommend it.