Sometimes, and I’m talking about times when rock just seems too tame, tepid, and predictable, you have to go where the wild things are. I’m talking about free jazz in general and the supergroup Last Exit in particular. I love them because they mixed some rock in with their skronk to produce a maniacal din that never forgot to be—in the loosest terms, that is—musical. Can you take it? That answer will depend on how open you are to songs that sound like very cool car crashes.
I probably wouldn’t like them but I was raised on the stuff. My youngest brother is the jazz equivalent of that guy who can’t find food spicy enough for his flame-jaded palate, and who eats peppers that would turn your mouth into a crematorium. And he deviously subjected me to increasingly atonal noise music, slowly ratcheting up the dissonance until Albert Ayler sounded tame and the hardest rebop sounded like Glenn Miller.
Last Exit, which included the legendary Sonny Sharrock on guitar, Bill Laswell on 6-string bass, Ronald Shannon Jackson on drums, and Peter Brötzmann on bass saxophone, formed in 1986 and dissolved in 1994, following the death of Sharrock. During that time they recorded a lot of music that was loud and confrontational, and appealed not only to jazzbos but also to more adventurous hardcore fans, to the point where they got labeled punk jazz. Critic Greg Kot wrote that they worked at a level of “volume and violence that makes most rock bands sound tame,” which is an understatement if ever I’ve heard one. Me, I like to think of them as the Butthole Surfers of Skronk.
The Foundry have opened their own record store: “Early in 2015, Brisbane music lovers and other creative types were pretty pumped about The Foundry. The new venue promised to become the city’s new hub and hotspot, until post-opening issues put the place on hold temporarily. Thankfully, you can’t keep a good venture down, as their relaunch has proven. Now, they’re adding to the fold by throwing open the doors of their next phase: a record store.“
Vinyl records, typography and serious style from Kate Koeppel Design: “Vinyl head with your collection stashed in boxes? You should be ashamed of yourself. Those vinyl records are meant to be displayed. No, not in the way a teenager organizes their room. Stuffed in a bookcase or piled on a coffee table doesn’t start the conversation. It gets you on an episode of hoarders. Kate Koeppel has you covered. Her studio, located in San Francisco, is all about making sense of your vinyl collection…”
Panasonic brings back the vinyl with reborn Technics turntable: “Vinyl really is back; Panasonic has used its annual IFA press conference in Berlin to announce that it will relaunch and reinvent its iconic Technics turntable series, providing a lifeline to fans of analogue audio.”
“What do Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, King Curtis, Louis Armstrong, James Brown, B.B. King, Steely Dan (amongst hundreds of others) all have in common? Every single one of them knew that it took “The Hit-Maker” on the drums to make a genuine and indisputable hit! From the studios of Motown, to Atlantic Records, RCA Records and more…. one name always stood out from the rest when the best was needed: Bernard “Pretty” Purdie! Through his words, his teachings, and his rhythms, together let’s explore…”
WXOU to host record swap event at Oakland University: “Oakland University radio station WXOU will host a record swap event at the Oakland Center Fireside Lounge Wednesday, Sept. 9 from 4-8 p.m. Those attending the event can bring vinyl records to trade with others. The record swap fill feature live music and a DJ set as well as food and drink, according to WXOU.
Got vinyl? WSIU looking for donations for annual sale: “If you have “gently used” stereo equipment, record albums, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, electronic games and audio books, WSIU would like to have them for its 8th annual SIRIS Classic Vinyl & Media Sale. The sale benefits WSIU Public Radio and Southern Illinois Radio Information Service, which serves individuals who are blind or whose physical condition makes reading difficult or impossible.“
The fine folks at Family Fish Productions and Chickie Wah Wah are bringing North Mississippi’s Hill Country Picnic to the Crescent City this weekend with great shows Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Acts include Grayson Capps, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Blue Mother Tupelo, Jimbo Mathus, Hill Country Hounds, and more.
Former New Orleans resident, Grayson Capps kicks off the weekend on Friday, September 4 with a set of scintillating blues based rock ‘n’ roll.
On Saturday, September 5, the Hill Country Hounds will get the evening started early with a Happy Hour performance between 6-8 PM. Alvin Youngblood Hart will follow with a solo set at 9 PM. The evening’s headliners, Blue Mother Tupelo, will play two sets beginning at 10 PM.
Inspecting chart history proves otherwise, but due to the ubiquitous nature of that one song everybody remembers, Bobby Fuller is considered by many as a One Hit Wonder. Others view him as the true-blood ‘60s extension in art as well as life of fellow Texan Buddy Holly, which overlaps with the assessment by some that Fuller was maybe the last gasp of rock ‘n’ roll innocence before the ‘60s became The Sixties. But he was also just a passionate young guy with a boatload of talent for whom music was paramount, and nothing communicates that better than a listen to The Bobby Fuller Four’s 1966 LP, I Fought the Law.
The Bobby Fuller Four’s second and best long-player opens with what is probably my pick for the band’s greatest moment and certainly one of their leader’s finest compositions. It’s not the title track, for “I Fought the Law” was penned by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets, a group most famous for their backing of Buddy Holly (Curtis joined after Holly’s plane crash demise; the original appears on 1960’s In Style with the Crickets.)
The tune is “Let Her Dance,” a delicious slice of guitar and vocal harmony driven pop-rock and easily one of ’65’s best singles. Perfectly calibrated for airplay, its 2:32 flows with expertly layered simplicity. Once established, none of the song’s elements drift far in their roles; not Fuller’s lead singing of his wounded-heart love lyrics or the gorgeous chiming and jangling of his and Jim Reese’s guitars, not the beautiful but non-grandiose backing vocals, not Randy Fuller’s bass, and definitely not DeWayne Quirico’s drumming, which with subtle alterations follows the same pattern throughout.
Individually, none of these aspects are especially noteworthy. It’s in the assemblage and the ensuing vigor of the captured performance that greatness is attained. And over the years, playing “Let Her Dance” has turned many a head that had erroneously pegged Bobby Fuller as basically a slightly displaced rockabilly guy.
“The first records I heard growing up were vinyl. I was very young.”
“At night, my father would often light some incense, drink a few glasses of wine, and play records on the turntable. The volume was always turned way up on the large meshed speakers. It was my first introduction to Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, The Band, The Byrds, and David Bowie among others. On heavy rotation was Neil Diamond whom I’m a fan of and an acapella band called the Persuasions. Their album we owned was called Coming at Ya, still a fantastic record to this day.
I owned a little fisher price record player and would spend hours listening to my Popeye 45s with story adventures and music. I also had a really great old children’s record called Mother Goose. I still have it but it’s all scratched up. I’d like to have it restored someday.
When I was about 14 my cousin introduced me to Led Zeppelin with a live mixed cassette tape. It was my second great musical awakening.
The gang chat to TLOBF’s New Music Editor Charlotte Krol about the trials and tribulations of music journalism and get some juicy tips on how to get your foot in the door as a writer or band.
Michael from SUNS also joins the trio on the phone to talk about the current landscape in left field pop music and the band’s future.
Of course, no show would be complete without some cultural irreverence, and in lieu of the features you’ve come to appreciate like a slowly decaying wedge of stilton, they cast their eyes out on stories in the news that have tickled their interest and also take a look at some of TLOBF’s high rated albums this month.
Music heard live on the show cannot be heard on this podcast but check out the tracks featured on this week’s show below:
It’s not exactly a secret, but the musical history of the 1960s is loaded with bands. A few got famous, some are still remembered, and many more hang in the purgatory of obscurity. From Los Angeles via Amarillo, TX, The Kitchen Cinq fell short of stardom but they definitely haven’t been forgotten; helping to insure their placement in the cultural memory is the most recent volume in Light in the Attic’s Lee Hazelwood Archive Series, When the Rainbow Disappears: An Anthology 1965-68. Collecting their LHI sessions, rare material as The Illusions and The Y’alls, and superb notes by Alec Palao, it’s out now on compact disc and double vinyl.
When the Rainbow Disappears carefully compiles the output of a worthwhile outfit, with The Kitchen Cinq’s background also shedding light on one of the decade’s more idiosyncratic pop artists in Lee Hazelwood. The set’s liners detail the Cinq’s struggles as the inaugural act on Lee Hazelwood Industries, the story providing supporting roles to vocalist Suzi Jane Hokom and fellow Amarillo scenester and future songwriter of note J.D. Souther.
Consisting of Dale Gardner on lead vocals, Mark Creamer on lead guitar, Jim Parker on rhythm guitar, Dallas Smith on bass, and Johnny Stark on drums, The Kitchen Cinq’s early Amarillo days were spent as The Illusions. Taken from two sessions, the five glimpses of these origins are amongst When the Rainbow Disappears’ best attributes.
Divided between three originals and two covers, these entries simultaneously illuminate the infancy of The Kitchen Cinq and present the fruits of a perfectly sturdy mid-‘60s rock ‘n’ roll band. More to the point, they got work; The Illusions’ ’65 date offers “Young Boy,” a solid beat-combo-styled number from Parker with harmonica and appealing tandem vocals and a surprisingly non-rote cover of “Searchin’” by The Coasters that surely went down a storm during gigs.
Furnace Record Pressing to Open Vinyl Record Pressing Plant in USA: “After searching high and low for close to a decade, Furnace Record Pressing recently acquired TEN rare Toolex Alpha record presses. Furnace staff members traveled to Mexico City to oversee the loading and shipment of the presses to their Washington DC area facility. The resulting 48 hours saw the group encounter machetes, protesters, and a genuine kidnapping scare among other logistical challenges.”
Phil Collins Recreates His Iconic Album Covers For First-Ever Deluxe Reissues: “The reissues will include unreleased demos and live tracks, and they’ll also recreate the old album covers, showing Collins’ slightly weathered face the way it looks now.“
“In celebration of the 20th anniversary of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut record, Garbage is releasing an exclusive limited edition 3LP vinyl remastered from the original analog tapes. The box set will include a limited edition 12-page LP size fan-generated zine and a 10×10 autographed photo of the band. In addition to the three 180gm vinyl pieces (12 tracks + g-sides), fans will also receive a digital download card.”
6 Years After Being Discontinued, the Technics SL-1200 Turntable Is Back: “One of the most important turntables in history, the Technics SL-1200, was discontinued in 2010 despite a resurgence in vinyl interest. Now, owner Panasonic is putting Technics is back in the vinyl game, with its concept unveiling at an IFA press conference in Berlin. The move follows years of petitioning by DJs and music enthusiasts, many of whom waxed nostalgic over a turntable inseparable from important hip-hop and dance movements of the past few decades.”
Inside one of the world’s last audio cassette factories: “When the music market moved into CD production and digital formats in the ’90s and ’00s, most tape companies went under. But the National Audio Company in Springfield (Mo) kept going. Instead of music, they focused on spoken word and blank tape customers. They bought out failing competitors, collecting their equipment, and they waited patiently for the music market to pick up.”
I remember the day I first heard the name Slipknot. It was 1999 and I was working at a Sam Goody store while going to college in my hometown of St. Louis. A guy who worked part-time came in one day raving about this new band from Iowa that looked like a cross between the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Rob Zombie’s worst nightmare. That week Slipknot’s eponymous debut record hit the store shelf and we had a brilliant idea to give it a listen in the store. While it didn’t go over well with the lunchtime crowd, in fact, it cleared out the store pretty quickly, it was something truly unique. I don’t think we had any idea at the time that record would come to redefine metal as we knew it.
Roadrunner Records had one hell of a roster at the time including Type O Negative, Black Label Society, Spineshank, Machine Head, Nailbomb, Seputura, and even some newer unknown bands that were killer, such as Electric Eel Shock (I’ve caught them twice—two of the most insane shows I’ve ever seen), Dry Kill Logic, Faktion, and Amen. Slipknot though was their first act to ever reach platinum status and arguably the reason the label would be bought out by a major.
Fast forward to last week and the first time I have seen Slipknot in more than a decade. While the band’s image has grown considerably darker over the years, their live show was as epic as ever—if not even more grandiose. The “Summer’s Last Stand” tour lineup included metal heavyweights Lamb of God and Bullet for My Valentine, along with newcomers Motionless in White. It would quickly make up for a Summer full of lackluster metal festivals and end the season on a high note from hell.