Saturday, March 29, 2008

It’s rock 'n roll baby, it’s bigger than you & me

Today kids, we’ll be taking a break from the ‘lesser known’ and talking about a few major bands who have just recently put out new albums which, truth be told, give me wood. I know I always attempt to push bands you’ve never heard of however, every now and then, people need to be reminded why some bands sell millions of albums. Plus, you may have been living under a rock and missed out on a few of these monumental releases.

Starting at home, we take a glimpse at Nova Scotia’s beautiful little project known as The Trews. Now, riding high off their third release, No Time for Later, this band has proven that they are willing and able to carve a piece for themselves into music history. Combining classic rock era riffs that could tear paint off the walls, with heavy stomping drums, and songwriting that would make dad proud, The Trews have come a long way, since their 2003 release House of Ill Fame. It may have helped that they’re one of Canada’s best live acts, and have played over 500 live shows since their ’03 release. However, unlike many, this is a band which is aging beautifully. While Ill Fame was a more pop oriented, heartfelt album, No Time shows a heavier, more powerful band, which has put in their time, and has the songs to prove it. From their first single, Hold me in your Arms, to harmonic anthem, Ocean’s End, this album has it all; witty lyrics, thick vocal harmonies, thunderous drum fills, and enough guitar work to drop a thousand jaws.

As I always love professing my joy about 90’s bands who are trying to make a comeback, let’s talk about The Black Crowes. With a band that shoots through such incredible stardom, over such a long period of time, one can always expect drama. Yet, through nearly 24 years, a revolving door type lineup, and more ‘breaks’ then a compound fracture, thankfully, brotherhood has always kept this band close. Chris and Rich Robinson have always held the core of this group together. Even when the band went on indefinite hiatus, after touring on their previous studio album (2001’s Lions), the brothers stayed together, and kept playing music, albeit as an acoustic duo. However, a band with such importance and sway on music of their generation could only stay away for so long. In years leading up, members of the Crowes would form small reunions, and play alongside giants such as Tom Petty, Gov’t Mule, and Jimmy Page. It only made sense that eventually, the band would come back together.

Warpaint, their first release in over seven years, would be, in my opinion, their masterpiece. While it may lack some of the singles appeal in songs such as Hard to Handle, Lickin’, or Talks to Angels, the age and talent of these musicians would become apparent from the first chord. While I could write an essay on the brilliant composition, nuances, and musicianship of this album, I’ll summarize by saying this; never has a record been so happy to have the blues.

Alright, it wouldn’t be Shananigans if I didn’t pull out at least one diamond in the rough. During Pop Montreal 2007, I saw a show at BSL2 featuring Pride Tiger and Priestess. While this alone was enough to have me singing show tunes at the top of my lungs while swinging off a lamp post (possibly while under the influence), it would get better. Opening for the two rock Goliaths, was California’s The Binges. The Binges were formed of Japanese sisters on guitar and bass, and two guys from Cali, singing and banging the drums. With the lineup of the night, it was something to be said when we agreed that Mayuko Okai was the best guitarist we had seen that night. It also helped that the sisters were disturbingly hot, but I swear that didn’t affect our judgment. It would be Jesse who would put it best when saying, “I could masturbate to this.” If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.

Lastly, I need to say something. Thank you Jack White, thank you. You too Brendan Benson. While the White Stripes are a force to be reckoned with, and an influence for modern American rock and roll, one has to admit that Jack White is simply not given a chance to do himself musical justice in such a limited setup. Enter The Raconteurs. If you missed their first album, Broken Boy Soldiers, stop reading this post immediately and go fucking listen to it. No seriously… fuck off; I don’t want to talk to you until after you’ve civilized your musical palate.

Now that you’ve realized that a band of our generation was able to reproduce the genius of the Beatles, we can be friends. If Soldiers was the boys’ Sgt. Pepper’s, then unquestionably, Consolers of the Lonely is the Raconteurs white album. Very rarely does an album come along which I am physically unable to stop playing, but when this happens, for nearly a week, I am unable to listen to any other music, until I have scratched the melodic itch of this album, which exists at the very core of my soul. From the infectiously sing-alongable Rich Kid Blues, to the angelic glory of You Don’t Understand Me, The Raconteurs have given us an album which will become our generation’s classic rock staple; otherwise, I’ll be going fucking bell tower.

-“I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy. With him, I took my time.”