“Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been addicted to vinyl.”
“I’ve always had lots of records….at one point I had 10,000 or so. The funny thing is that I can remember where and when I bought most of them. Perhaps all of them, if I think hard enough. Records have taught me a lot over the years – not only about music, but about cultures and eras and languages, about styles and how they change, and about sound and vision. How technology has changed and how it has changed us.
Records have taken me to other lands, other worlds, other sounds, both in my mind and in reality. They’re an obsession, I’ve traveled the world in search of them. There’s something about the thrill of the hunt, especially when you’re digging through piles and piles of dusty platters. You never know what you’ll find! Yeah, I know a lot about collecting and rarities and monetary value – hell, I spent nearly a decade working in used record stores. While there are many factors that go into why people collect things, the bottom line is that it’s still about the music.
The Blood Arm burst onto the scene back in 2003. Hailing from LA, they quickly rose to prominence, riding the mid naughties wave of indie bands who found fame around that time—bands like Franz Ferdinand, Hot Hot Heat, and Maxïmo Park. Ten years and four albums later, half the band have moved to Berlin and are still going strong.
Infinite Nights is the band’s latest album and shows a different shade to the band with half the songs being quieter, more introspective, and reflective. There’s still the nod to the old with “Midnight Moan,” for example, but this album could be a signifier of change and it’ll be interesting to see where their journey takes them next.
Although The Blood Arm have taken time out now and again to move and change direction, they show no signs of slowing down. They’re definitely going to go down in music history as one of those bands who were sorely overlooked but with a body of interesting, quality work.
Alhough the album won’t be out until July 9, the venerable New Orleans institution has offered up a glimpse of the release for fans to preview. They are the first new songs to be recorded by the “Hall” in decades.
That’s It! was produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and PHJB’s Ben Jaffe and recorded at The Preservation Hall in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans.
Band members Ben Jaffe, Charlie Gabriel, Rickie Monie, and Clint Maedgen wrote for the album and collaborated with Paul Williams, Dan Wilson, and Chris Stapleton on several songs.
Looking for some current hardcore kicks? If so, then Muuy Biien’s This is What Your Mind Imagines might be right up your alley. In a nice twist, this five-piece sidesteps the creative blunders that once made hardcore such a dirty word. They smartly aim for reckless abandon rather than an atmosphere of the generic, and they’ve also got some other non-HC tricks up their sleeves.
Anyone looking back a quarter-century or so with the intention of gathering a measurement of opinion from that period regarding the state of the then-current hardcore punk scene will surely find the style evaluated, at least by anyone with their head screwed on half right, as being a near-complete wasteland of regurgitated formula.
While it’s unadvisable to ever step onto the proverbial soapbox to pronounce the death of a floundering musical genre, in the late-‘80s the situation with hardcore punk had gotten so freaking lousy that any foreseeable improvement in fortunes seemed to be, at best, a fanciful thing to consider. If not dead, it was certainly in a deep coma, and very few naysayers seemed all that interested in waking it from its critical condition.
For starters, nearly all of the trailblazing bands in the movement had ceased to exist, and those that actually were still active, either through recordings or by simply electing to endlessly parade their wares via the punk rock touring circuit, had become unfortunate shadows of their former incarnations. And frankly, some of those groups weren’t all that interesting in the first place
The first time I ever laid eyes on the band Social Distortion was in the documentary video Another State of Mind. My good friend Pat brought the VHS tape to my house and said we had to watch it. The video featured footage from two punk bands on tour in 1982, Youth Brigade and the now-iconic Social Distortion. I remember footage of Social D’s front man Mike Ness talking to the camera looking through a mirror as he got ready to play a show, smearing black mascara down his face from his eyes and spiking his hair.
From that day forward, for one reason or another, it seems that Social Distortion has had an ever-present part in my own music collection. Social D is one of those bands that you can always go back to, and they seemingly never change.
When they’re in town, it’s well-known that they always put on a good live show, and they always have an overwhelming stage presence. You can bring your best girl and sing along to classic songs like “Ball and Chain,” and if you’re really lucky, you can lay your ears on more classic tunes from the bands arsenal, like “Mommy’s Little Monster” or “Prison Bound.” Whichever era of the band’s catalog that you fancy, Social Distortion always delivers a little bit of everything.
If you’re looking for a down-to-earth show full of some slow-cooked Americana, this is just for you.
Country caravan Son Volt are coming to the 9:30 Club, and we’ve got a pair of tickets to giveaway. It’s crazy easy to get in the running, so if you dig on some hearty folk music, you’ve got no excuse to miss out.
Singer-songwriter Jay Farrar started Son Volt in 1994 after the demise of Uncle Tupelo, the alt-country band that also counted Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy as a principal songwriter. Through the mid- to late-’90s, Son Volt created a name for themselves with no-frills folk/country spanning an aesthetic gap from Bob Dylan to Crazy Horse.
“There’s a fire extinguisher strapped to that guy’s drum set. WHY? His sticks are on fire and I can clearly see smoke…is he going to be ok? Is he going to use the fire extinguisher? As a kid, this is what I would repeatedly think to myself as I stared at the back cover of my older brother’s copy of Van Halen 2.“
“I would fixate on the photo of David Lee Roth and try to comprehend how the split he’s doing is as high as the mic stand. Was there a springboard or something that they pulled away right before the photo was taken? I didn’t have the answers but I knew what I was looking at and listening to was AMAZING.
Downstairs in the den was my parents’ record collection. I had been having dance parties there with my mom courtesy of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The coffee table would be removed to make room and then I would go to town. That record is now sitting in the basement next to a Sergio Franchi album.
I didn’t own my own piece of vinyl until “Start Me Up” was released a few years later. I had it on 45. Having my own record was definitely a big deal. Otherwise, if I liked a song, I had to tape it when it came on the radio.
When it comes to bands who have helped define New Orleans music at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, Papa Grows Funk is at the top of the list.
Their Monday night gigs at the Maple Leaf Bar are legendary. They have also spread the gospel of Noveau funk beyond New Orleans and they have a wide fan base across the country.
As most readers know, the band is taking an indefinite hiatus after thirteen years of playing together. The Mondays at the Leaf are a memory now, though there is still some touring to do, and one final show in New Orleans, before the musicians go their separate ways.