Friday, November 28, 2008

Mother Fucking Afro?

I ate a gargantuan thanksgiving dinner with some Americans last night and now I have flatulence that could be used in trench warfare. Don't ask how that's relevant to today's post; I just felt like sharing.

I find it a rarity to discover music with true depth these days. Soul music cheats a bit because by it's nature, it simply feels so much more raw and powerful. I stumbled upon an absolute gem this week which, even considering the skew of soul music, cuts to the absolute core. The only catch is that I'm still trying to figure out what the word Mofro means.

Headed by singer/pianist (guitarist, hamonithingamabobber) JJ Grey, Mofro shoots like a premature ejaculate from the newly pubescent Florida music scene. Wow... I didn't even see that one coming as it was trickling out of my fingers. Take home point: they're from Florida which, in the past, hasn't had a lot to offer musically.

They started playing together in the late 90's and are still going strong, now with four albums under their belt (where that firm, Florida member sits). Currently, they're touring around Australia on their latest release, Orange Blossoms.

PENIS... ok, I'm done.

-You've got something curious there

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's a Shane Day

Which for you means more of that dirty, grimed out blues rock. For me it means I need a quart of whiskey, hustler magazine, 7 roman candles and an albino midget. I promise not to do anything he'll regret.

I'm only trying to live the life of a rock star. It's something I've been thrust into, unlike TK Webb, who has been rocking out Zeppelin covers on stage since he was 13. Now at 28, he and his current band, TK Webb and the Visions, will almost undoubtedly amount to absolutely nothing. Perhaps I'm becoming more bitter and disillusioned with age, but I'm increasingly finding that the more talented you are, the more you are doomed to toil in obscurity. Hence my new goal; start sucking worse than ever before on the guitar! Shouldn't be too hard, right? I'm already pretty bad.

Webb was born in Missouri and is currently shacked up with the Visions in Brooklyn. I think this is an even greater curse. While big beat southern rock is at least enjoyed and respected in the south (if not supported) New York is the kind of city that will chew you up and spit you out unless you're so indie that you haven't even heard of yourself.

I couldn't find the best song for this video, so I'll also encourage you to check out their myspace and listen to Shame or Closed Caption Slang.

-My oh my who went and let the good times go?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good warrior

Yesterday I woke up and made around 10 people a pancake breakfast. It was all going so well until around 5 minutes before everyone left and my hangover decided to rear it's ugly head. I spent the remainder of the day cleaning the kitchen and doing the laundry with my head feeling like a Macy's day parade balloon. I spent the evening writing new riff heavy music.

When I woke this morning, I was in the mood to keep the riffs rolling: enter Bad Wizard. There's something about rock bands from the New York area that makes them extra insane. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm pretty sure there's something in the water (read: coke).

I'll be horribly sexist and say they have a chick guitarist who can fucking rip. I can get away with this because with the exception of The Binges, this is a rock and roll rarity. There isn't much else to say about this band. They sound like Fugazi on speed and they're good for a couple of sore necks.

And it's Monday. And I'm tired. Now piss off.

-Going, going... gone; I've been sold too cheap

Friday, November 21, 2008

None of that

Ever in the search of a Friday tune that makes me move, I say we'll have none of that John Mayer bullshit. Today, you and I are going to take a listen to the John Mayer Trio. Obviously I need to explain before a comet strikes the earth.

I've always considered the acoustic guitar to be like an angel, and the electric to be like a devil. Imagine you're a struggling artist and you write a slow, somber song with your angel, which is one of the many varying and styled songs you've written. Now imagine a label hears this song and promises you stardom. Duh, you sell out... you take the contract, unaware that what you've just done is typecast yourself into a musical role which is near impossible to break. However, as every guitarist knows, when you're playing with angels all your life, sometimes you need to confront your devils. This video describes the situation to perfection (just give it long enough for the punch line).

In short, the kid can wail. He can really fucking wail. The trio is lent quite a bit of legitimacy by having the rhythm section from God himself (with priors of Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Blues Brothers and around 100 others). It looks like Mayer just hit a point in his career where he was sick of playing shitty, depressing love songs, and finally had the success to tell the label to go fuck themselves.

All I can say is that I spent most of yesterday at work with Trio songs in the background and had to stop working on a regular basis to listen to some of the bloody guitar work. To say that I have underrated John Mayer in the past is the understatement of the century. He has, in one single day, snuck himself into my top 10 all time guitarists list. No shit. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

-Eat your words, sir
... fuck it... here's one more (listen to the solo 3:45 and wait for 5:15)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Will Know Me by My Limp

...and you will know us by the trail of dead. I've got a bone to pick with these boys. When I first got into them, it was from hearing the song Perfect Teenhood off a skateboarding video back in like 1999. Teenhood is a balls out, fast driving song which at times borders on early-post-hardcore (whatever the fuck that is), somewhat akin to Refused (somewhat).

The reality is that Trail of Dead are an art rock band who misled me for years. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I just hate being deceived. Formed in 1994, this band is effectively packed with philosopher-king type musical geniuses who are DEFINITELY the only ones to really 'get' their songs.

You've likely heard of this band before, so today's post is really to act twofold as a reality check, and a news reel. First, they were back in the studio this autumn and are set to release a new album in 2009. Secondly, I implore you to dig a little deeper with this band. We can all enjoy songs like Another Morning Stoner, and Worlds Apart, however you'll find some next level shit if you are ready to listen through a lot of prog.

Mind you, all that being said, this is still my favorite song.

-An apology... for you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Years gone... where were you?

Let's just go from the drop. Soulive is one of those bands that has been touring since the early 90's. While they've produced 9 full length albums to date, true to their name, the passion for this band stays in the live performance.

Call them a jam band, call them jazz, call them soul, call them funk, but most importantly, call them talented. They've managed to earn the respect of The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Common, and John Mayer while on tour with them, so I hope they can earn yours as well.

I don't have the time to get into it on a Monday morning, but if you ever want to invesitage the history of a old, dynamically changing band, look these boys up. Their revolving lineup has been as few as 3 and as many 9. They've done organic remixes of songs for hip hop MCs like Talib Kewli the Beatnuts and Jurassic 5.

And now, they play for you (ok, a year ago in Montreal... but just go with it).


Friday, November 14, 2008

It's friday! What we lookin for?

My hands feel like they're ready to fall off. Iain and I jammed again last night, which unfortunately also involves around 2km of crutching for me to get home at the end of the session. This shit better be worth it. We've started recording some rough demos too, so I should have something to post soon.

And with no flowing segway whatsoever, just shut up and listen to Shelly Bhushan. She's got soul, she's got pipes, she's got catchy songs and I've got a pet monkey I call Newman. Ms. Bhushan is a Texan who thrust herself into the NY scene to try to leave a mark. Let's call that 'mark making' a work in progress.

She just tossed out her first album, Picking Daisies, and I say, it's one catchy piece of work. Run off to her myspace and check out the title track and a little number called Beautiful Me. The soul revival is always a welcome sight, especially when it's done well.

Also, big shot out to Jesse and Talksick. I hope you boys tear the Gates of Hell open on Saturday.

-If you loved me once, go love someone else

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Purge me Clean

Three weeks, two days and counting... for those of you keeping track at home (ME!!). I'm feeling like I drank one too many pints on a Tuesday night and we're going to cheat a bit and draw on old work.

In March, the last time before this autumn that I was serious about this blog, I wrote once about an incredible Pop Montreal show I saw. The lineup featured Priestess (who have a new album coming out in the new year), Pride Tiger (who I'm seeing live in just over a month), and today's focus, The Binges.

Besides talking about the fact that one could pleasure one's self to Mayuko's guitar playing, I mentioned that for the opening band of the night, the Binges almost stole the show from the two powerhouses that followed (almost). Generally, they also had a good rock and roll philosophy. They drank pabst in their first video, they gave out lighters which also opened beer bottles and they were giving away their EP for free.

Now, around a year after I first saw them, they finally managed to push forward their self-titled debut onto the world. Once again, living in the stupid UK means I can't stupid get the stupid album (although, Monday, after blogging about The Speaking Tongues, I proceeded to order the album online, and have it delivered to the farm back in Manitoba for pickup at Christmas).

-More rock per cubic centimeter

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tongue Lashings

You know me. I'm quite predictable. If not, my name is Shane and I like rock n roll and blues. As such, you can likely conclude that the number of bands in the past 10 years who have been doing 'blues-rock-revival' type stuff have made me happy... very happy.

It all started with the Black Keys; a band I now worship on nearly the level of good scotch and Kraft peanut butter. However, I quickly learned that this sound was not indicative to one band, one region or even one style. Hell, even we Canucks are doing it.

Toronto managed to earn a couple points in my book (don't worry... it's still Toronto) by opening the world of The Speaking Tongues to me. Grungy, dirty, muffled and distorted two man rock n roll comes blaring through the speakers and what do you do? You should nod your head with elated satisfaction.

I won't lie, I don't know much about these boys other than the fact that they push out a wall of sound for a two piece. They share vocals back and forth, however it's difficult to tell since they have a very similar style. Their first album, Wild Sound, was released just this past summer, and since I'm now across the pond, I have yet to snag a copy. Grumble cakes.

Now be a good little girl and listen up.

-I washed my leg for the first time in 3 weeks. The skin actually dripped off it was so dead.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lagwagon Week: Friday

As the more perceptive of you might start noticing, this is less of a 'Lagwagon Week' and more of an 'I love Joey Cape fanpage.' You guessed it, he's on the list; I'd go the gay for him. Fortunately, I have no journalistic integrity and am completely unapologetic about my bias, grammar, speeling, misuse of words and general hypocrasy in regards to this blog. In short, blow it out your ass.

To bring this week to a close, we'll take a gander at Cape's most recent side project, The Playing Favorites. I know the name sounds like a shitty emo band, but I assure you, they're more of a shitty pop band. Kidding. I enjoy the sound and again, I'm impressed by the musical diversity Cape has demonstrated this week, but don't go into this one expecting songs like Mr. Coffee.

Again, Joey pulled together some friends from his almost celebrity-esque phonebook (Silver Jet, The Rentals, Sugarcult) and formed up a band in 2007. Supposedly, their '07 release, I Remember When I Was Pretty was written in 5 days. I haven't heard the whole thing so this could either speak to really weak songs, or very adept, cohesive songwriting.

From the album they pushed forward one single, Waiting, which can be heard, and seen below.

Just to give you a heads up, next week we'll be back to normal (yet still broken) and I ordered another boxful of CDs. I really wonder how much money I could have if I didn't obsessively buy music.

-I'd love to sell out, but no one's buying in this recession

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lagwagon Week: Wednesday

I know you'd all expect me to say something about the election this morning. Fuck that. There are more pressing matters at hand today. What the hell is this world coming to? I mean, the US just made history by electing a black man into office, and yet they're thinking of replacing Plant with the Creed dude? SERIOUSLY? This is the shit that keeps me up at night.

So to those of you who took a guess at today's post (read: no one... bloody cowards), no it will not be Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (where Cape plays guitar). I won't even bother touching on Joey's solo stuff. I'll be jumping leaps and bounds away from punk again and listening to Afterburner.

The band was formed as a simple, stripped down, acoustic project between Cape and friend Todd Capps. Again, don't be expecting to hear Lagwagon, or you're going to be disappointed. Clear your mind instead and be in the mood to catch a bit of full, soothing, acoustic relaxation.

I would most akin the acoustic stuff to what Grohl did with the second album of In Your Honor. It's a voice you know and love, but entering a completely different realm. The songs are simple, well written folk tunes and while it seems out of place, somehow it fits.

-Mostly made of Tuesday

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lagwagon Week: Monday

Greetings earth-dwellers. We're back at the start of yet another crippled week. I've actually been so annoyed with my status and had so much time on my hands (especially in transit) that I've created, for this week alone, a theme week. This week, we'll be discussing a handful of projects which are illegitimate spawn of Lagwagon.

But first, let's talk about dad. Lagwagon is, unquestionably, my favorite punk band of all time. Pennywise was always too repetitive, NOFX was too unpolished, but Lagwagon seemed to find a perfect balance of melodic motions along with angsty 90's rebellion. Formed in 1989, the boys have survived almost 20 years, released 7 studio albums, and 4 EPs. They went on hiatus from 2000-2002, but in the end, found the bed was too cold at night and had to get back together.

During this little break, Joey, Lagwagon's frontman, pulled together a punk-all-stars line up from groups such as Sugarcult, Me First, Swingin' Utters, and The Ataris. Even with all this punk rock in the room, the band opted for a more laid back, almost pop-rock style.

They released three full length albums; Acrophobe, Houston: We have a drinking problem and Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment. However, tragedy struck though in '05 when Derrick Plourde, BA's drummer, committed suicide. Cape would soon after announce this to be the end of Bad Astronaut, " because without Derrick, there is no Bad Astronaut."

Stay tuned as the family tree unfolds throughout the rest of the week. If you're feeling daring, you can even try to guess who's going to be next on the chopping block (though knowing the douche-bag that I am, I'll likely go and change if you do get it right).

-It hurts, but just the way I like