For a period of time in the early-to-mid ’80s, Phast Phreddie & Thee Precisions were one of the hippest bands in the Los Angeles. So hip that members of such acclaimed L.A. bands as X, Los Lobos, the Gun Club, The Plimsouls and The Blasters lent their talents to their recordings and live shows. So hip that the brilliance of Phast Phreddie & Thee Precisions was largely unknown apart from Los Angeles scenesters.
That could change with the two-CD deluxe reissue of Limbo, the band’s long out-of-print debut full-length album, out January 31 on Manifesto Records.This remastered two-CD set also includes the band’s debut EP, West Hollywood Freeze-Out, as well as a second CD of rarities, demos, live tracks and the rare 1986 self-released single “Only Lovers Left Alive.”As Phast Phreddie (real name Fred Patterson) humbly puts it in the liner notes, Phast Preddie & Thee Precisions lasted a mere six years (from 1979-1985) and they may be “a footnote of a footnote in the history of rock ‘n’ roll,” but the band was ahead its time. Long before the Squirrel Nut Zippers scored an unlikely hit with “Hell” in 1997, Thee Precisions brought jump blues to a new generation. The band also gave sax-man extraordinaire Steve Berlin his first notable platform, long before he joined The Blasters, and later Los Lobos, and was featured on an R.E.M. song.
Phast Phreddie was initially known for his written words in his self-published fanzine Back Door Man from ’75-’78 and also wrote for L.A. punk journal Slash, before it became the influential record label.Initially, Phast Phreddie put together thee Precisions with his pal Jeffrey Lee Pierce (though he soon left to front the Gun Club), Berlin, fellow scribe and bassist Don Snowden from the Los Angeles Times, drummer Chris Bailey and guitarist Harlan Hollander. That lineup soon landed gigs opening for The Blasters, The Plimsouls, Levi & the Rockats and others.The live gigs led to an invitation from Dan and David Kessel to record an album for Martian Records. Recorded live to two-track in September 1981, West Hollywood Freeze-Out featured some of the band’s jump blues covers as well as an original, plus a mind-blowing cover of the James Brown ballad “Goodbye My Love.” Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin and pianist Gene Taylor joined the party on “Sloppy Drunk.”On Limbo, aside from the core lineup, the album also features a who’s-who of L.A. musicians, including Taylor on “Oooh Wow,” X drummer D.J. Bonebrake on vibes on the original “Sweet Gin,” and Plimsouls man main Peter Case on acoustic guitar on “Out in the Cold Again.” Long Ryders frontman Sid Griffin turns up on “In Walked Bud” and one of the several other takes of “Sweet Gin” features old pal Jeffrey Lee Piece back on board.
The second disc features rare live tracks (including a smoking cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Stone Free” reimagined as an Otis Redding track) — recorded at such legendary L.A. hot spots as the Whisky-a-Go-Go and Club Lingerie — as well as various demos and rarities.The package also includes scream-of-consciousness testimony by the late, great Don Waller, to whom this reissue is dedicated.Though you may have missed them in their prime, it’s not too late to get hip to Phast Phreddie & Thee Precisions. Pick up a copy of Limbo, belly up to the bar, pour yourself a shot and get down with your bad self, baby!Phast Phreddie & Thee Precisions will be doing a reunion show on February 1st at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill in Burbank, California. This will be the first time they have played together in over 34 years!
Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?
I’m from New Jersey and grew up in a somewhat musical family. My great-grandfather and his brothers were all professional musicians and my Mom’s name is Melodie – but she doesn’t play or sing. However, she does have a great appreciation for music (so does my Dad) and they asked me what instrument I wanted to learn when I was a kid. I said piano. They said they didn’t know a piano teacher – so I took violin lessons instead. I started when I was seven years old and loved it, but didn’t love classical music. I was most inspired by what my older brother, Jon, listened to – Kool and the Gang, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius. Those were the artists who shaped me. “Jungle Boogie” and “Wrapping Paper” were my first favorite songs.
What sort of work have you put into the recording and creative processes for your upcoming tracks?
The process leading up to recording is long for me. I usually write a
song quickly with the idea of recording it, but often it doesn’t happen for a
year or so. In that time, I keep playing it live, testing it out, trying
different things. Then it changes again when I introduce it to new players or
my band. Songs always keep evolving. Even after they’re recorded – they’re not
done. I have songs I wrote six years ago that I think I’m only just getting the
real hang of now.
What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?
This next JNB disc will be different than the past few. We’re going back to the basics and doing some live recording AND we’re featuring double drums. I am so thrilled about that. Byron Cage and Gavin George will both be on full kits in one room together, so that sound is going to be tremendous. We’ve also tailored at least one of the songs to feature them both and I couldn’t be happier about it. They had never played together like that before and once they did in rehearsal – it was amazing to watch them both smile and ask if we could have double drums all the time. I’m a huge Allman Brothers fan, so I’m ALL about that idea. My ideal recording set-up is just like we’ll do – live, but with isolation. I love catching the energy of a live show. That’s what I love most about my band, the live chemistry and charisma, so trying to capture it in a recording is everything.
Tell us a bit more about the music you’re working on. How’re they different than the songs on Live at Nelson Odeon?
Live at Nelson Odeon was a live show celebrating the release of
the album Inches from the Sun. I think these latest songs demonstrate
some real growth and attitude. I’m thinking of calling the new album Standing
Now, which I think is powerful. We were strong at the Odeon, but I think
we’re even stronger now in a lot of ways. I like that these songs all have an
edge. Even the softer songs are about standing up for yourself, committing to
be better. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to write really soft songs,
pleading, very diary-like. While one of these songs is even called “Beg”, I
love that it’s not exactly what you expect. The big line is – “But there’s one
thing I’m sure of / You should never beg for love.” I think that’s powerful to
admit – I’m afraid of these things. I don’t want to lose you. But I’m not going
to beg for love. I’m standing now. That theme really runs through the whole
Which artists are the greatest influences for you and your music? Is there a dream lineup of performers that you would like to perform with if given the chance?
I love Gwen Stefani for her bare-all lyrics and incredible stage
presence. I think Dave Matthews is a great songwriter and find myself listening
to his solo stuff a lot. I think Jason Isbell and Conor Oberst are geniuses. Nikka
Costa is one of my favorite singers ever. I love basically everything that came
out of the 1990s. And then I’ll always be obsessed with songs like “Gimme
Shelter”, “White Room” and other classics. But I also love bands like The Dirty
Heads and all kinds of hip hop. I’ve got so many favorites and they’re all over
the map. I think that comes through in my music – tiny tastes of so many
influences. As for a dream lineup – I’ve already got that in my band – Anthony,
Gavin, Byron, Jabare and Nick. They’re incredible and at this point, they’re
basically my brothers. I’d also love to get my actual brother (Jon) on bass
again on a few more songs. There’s nothing better than sharing the stage with
your idol – and your family. I’m also a HUGE fan of tight harmonies, so if I
could add one thing it would probably be a singer to sing backups, but also
steal the mic and belt a little bit, too. I love that Susan Tedeschi does that.
Her backup singers are so solid, sometimes they step right up to center stage.
That’s the best.
How has the radio/Pandora/Spotify/other online response been for your music?
It’s been great. I absolutely love when people find us on Spotify or hear
us the radio and freak out. It feels good. There’s a lot of fans who watch
every new song as it comes out in a live feed or video on Facebook. I really
love that. I get people who message me wanting the story behind the words or
asking how I am when they really listen to the lyrics. That’s amazing to me.
I’ve always been the type to listen to every word, every breath, so to have
people doing that with me is just overwhelming. It’s a dream.
You have a live component to your performances. Do you have any memorable stories or venues that deserve a greater light shone on them?
There’s a million! When you play 250 times a year – you get a lot of
stories. I can say a few of my favorite venues are Whammy Bar in Vermont, The Celtic
Ray in Florida, Parish on Cherry St. in Georgia and Meg O’Malley’s in Florida.
Panther Pub and Salt in New Jersey are also great as they always feel like home
(they’re both near where I’m from). I think my favorite thing about performing
live all the time and in so many weird places is that – you can never judge a
place by its cover. Meaning, so many people ask why I play places they think
are strange for one reason or another – and very often they’re full of the best
people in the world. You never know where you’ll find a diamond in the rough. I’ve
had so many disasters happen on the road (hurricanes, car problems, etc.) and
people are always so willing to help and so into the music. It’s just
incredible and makes you believe in the goodness of humanity.
One amazing story – the jack in my guitar fell into my guitar body
literally minutes before one of my shows at Meg O’Malley’s. I thought I was
sunk. I couldn’t quite get my arm into the guitar enough and at the same time,
pull the jack back through the bottom. There was a waitress who worked there
night before – then took off the next night just to come see me – who I remembered
had skinny arms. Together, we performed a pretty miraculous operation and saved
the whole show. I’ll never forget the people staring at us when she was up to
her elbow in my guitar saving the day. People are so kind and giving. Those
kinds of moments happen all the time.
How are NY fans different than those you’ve encountered in other areas?
A bar owner in New York said something really funny to me last time we
played his bar. He said that people call me, “their Jess”. It sounds almost
funny that I’m theirs in some way, but I thought it was really endearing. I
love that people feel that close to me just from coming to shows and watching
live feeds. That’s beautiful. I find that all over, but there’s something about
New Yorkers that’s unique. I feel like we’ve got a rough edge up here, but
we’re all real and we’re all heart. I love that. You don’t always get that dose
of realness – both positive and negative – everywhere else. I love it because I
always know they really mean it when they give me a compliment.
What should listeners expect from your music in the future?
JNB is recording one album now, but I’ve got the next written and I can’t
wait to work with my boyfriend and partner, Ben Wayne, on a project again, too.
I’m always trying to grow, expand and keep getting better. You can expect
expanded themes, styles and a better musician all around. I love music because
there’s no limit. You can just keep getting better – and that keeps opening
doors. It’s endless. People can expect an artist who will grow right before
their eyes and who will keep changing how she writes songs. I’ve had a lot of
fun getting outside of myself lately and writing songs that are about other
people, characters, movies, and it’s a blast. There’s a song on the new album
called “The Joke” because I was SO moved by the movie Joker. I love
singing it, too, because I’m not me when I sing it. I’m a villain. It’s
How can interested NeuFutur readers locate samples of your music?
2020 will mean a new album with the Jess Novak Band, maybe a new solo
disc, new music videos and tons of shows. Look out for a few tours, too.
Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?
Life and the universe. I love that.
I feel so lucky to do what I do. It was just a dream not long ago, so I
feel grateful every day. And that means YOU can do whatever you want to do,
too. We’re taught to build walls and follow a “path”, but you don’t have to
accept that. And my best advice – believe in yourself. When people put you down
– use it as gasoline on your fire, not water. Every failure is an opportunity
for motivation to improve. Work harder. Try more. WATCH other people and learn
from their mistakes and successes. LIFT EACH OTHER UP. Jealousy is ugly and
teamwork is beautiful. There’s no need to feel threatened because every person
is unique unto themselves. You can’t be anyone else – but they can’t be you
either. That’s your power. You can succeed if you believe – and you work your
Wettworker’s Are You Okay comes forth with some serious fire. There are nods to Atmosphere and Swollen Members here, while the gothic / industrial-tinged backing beat adds a bit more teeth to the effort. These two distinct elements ensure that the song is hurtling past listeners by the minute mark. With a lead-out that calls back to the more ferocious side of Marilyn Manson, Wettworker is able to imbue rap music with a bit of the heavy like no one other. Taking the vocal talents of Cubbiebear into the fold, Are You Okay? has a timelessness to it that will stick with fans.
The Districts today shared the Laura-Lynne Petrick-directed video for new single “Cheap Regrets,” the second from their forthcoming album You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere, which will be released on March 13th, 2020 (Fat Possum). “‘Cheap Regrets’ is some late capitalist nihilism channeled into a Districts dance party. It’s about the extremes of American culture constantly reinforcing the self,” explains singer/guitarist Rob Grote of the kinetic track. “The mirror reconfirms you. It’s all iPhone, selfies, and mirrors. Sell yourself baby. The consumer gets consumed. I wanted people to dance together to a song about alienation to find some collective transcendence in that.” The song follows the Philadelphia band’s slow burn, anthemic first single “Hey Jo,” which arrived in mid-November. You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere—produced by The Districts and frequent collaborator Keith Abrams, and mixed by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Spoon, MGMT, Tame Impala)—is available for pre-order.
The Districts’ North American headline tour in support of the album begins on March 4th in Charlottesville, VA, and includes stops in Brooklyn, NY (3/13) and Los Angeles, CA (4/2). See below for a current itinerary.
Written after playing nearly 200 shows over two years in support of their 2017 album, Popular Manipulations, You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere almost never arrived. As they began to contemplate a new album, Grote and his longtime bandmates Pat Cassidy (guitar), Connor Jacobus (bass), and Braden Lawrence (drums) faced a transitional period that was painful for both personal and professional reasons, and found themselves fatigued and disoriented as a group. The Districts were forced to rethink everything. “This album was written as an escape and as reassurance. I was falling in love with someone new and trying to juggle this desperate desire to escape with the need to show up in my life. It’s pretty damn hard to be present and completely checked out all at once,” Grote explains. “It felt like much of my world had reached such a pitch that all I could do was try to tune it out. I felt really uncertain about the future of the band and super detached from much of what I used to identify with, on a personal level and with our music. I was thinking, ‘Do I want to keep doing music?’ ‘Do I want to keep doing it in this context?’”
While You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere builds on preceding albums, it takes an ambitious leap to a new level, exhibiting a widened sense of experimentation and expansiveness at its heart. There’s Rhodes, Mellotron, strings, samples, drum machines, tape loops, Wurlitzer, “ambient swells,” piano, synthesizers; Grote lists 12 instruments next to his name alone. Pulling from the propulsive Popular Manipulations, the jagged indie rock of 2015’s A Flourish and a Spoil, and the rootsy vibe of their 2012 debut, Telephone, the band here followed their creative instincts every step of the way, resulting in their most sophisticated and adventurous record to date.
The Districts tour dates:
1/15 – London, UK – The Old Blue Last – SOLD OUT
1/17 – London, UK @ The Lexington – SOLD OUT
3/4 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern*
3/5 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West*
3/7 – Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover Music Festival*
3/8 – Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle*
3/10 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club*
3/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer*
3/13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
3/14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre*
3/16 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern*
3/17 – Detroit, MI @ El Club*
3/19 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall*
3/20 – East Moline, IL @ The Rust Belt*
3/21 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club*
3/23 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater*
3/24 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room*
3/27 – Vancouver, BC @ Wise Hall#
3/28 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge#
3/29 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s#
3/31 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall#
4/2 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom#
4/3 – San Diego, CA @ Music Box Theater#
4/4 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar#
4/5 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf#
4/7 – Dallas, TX @ Club DaDa#
4/8 – Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn#
4/10 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East#
4/11 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement#
4/17 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
04/27 – Brighton, UK – Patterns
04/28 – London, UK – LaFeyette
4/29 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
4/30 – Dublin, IE – The Workman’s Club
5/1 – Glasgow, UK – St. Luke’s
5/3 – Manchester, UK – Yes
5/4 – Bristol, UK – Exchange
5/6 – Antwerp, BE – Trix
5/7 – Utrecht, NL – Ekko
5/8 – Cologne, DE – Gebaeude 9
5/9 – Hamburg, DE – Bahnhof Pauli
5/11 – Berlin, DE – Musik & Frieden
05/12 – Munich, DE – Strom
05/13 – Zurich, CH – Papiersaal
05/14 – Paris, FR – Petit Bain
Barrow calls back to the days of Garth Brooks and mid-1990s country music (Diffie, Lawrence) with his latest single, Country’s Just Cooler. The track soars based on taut instrumentation, a heck of a lot of sizzling guitar work, and an imitable set of vocals laid down by Barrow himself. While the song looks back to the halcyon days of country music, there’s a bit of Paisley or Chesney here in Todd’s style that will appease fans of more modern country performers. While it is true that music from the 19xx’s is miles above the current fare being blared out on country radio, Barrow succeeds in making something special in 2020. Give Country’s Just Cooler a spin and let us know what you think.
The Sidewinder’s Empathy is a composition that refreshes the trip-hop of Massive Attack and late-nineties Bjork. Neuronal Disintegrity ensures that listeners will have to strap on their headphones to hear the sheer ranges of actions that are occurring at any one section. While the effort concludes well below the four-minute mark, pagan interface ensures that there is enough ensconced within here that one will have to play the effort five or ten times to get a full sense of its magnitude. Cherry Blossom Glitch keeps things complex as all get out, but there are specific movements and sounds that are weaved through this composition that provides a more world music or even 1980s/early 1990s pop music style.
The two distinct segments of Cherry Blossom Glitch provide fans with a bit of a palette cleansing before pagan interface moves back into a more energized feel. Carnivores calls forth a soundscape of a well-populated, darkened city. There’re nods to early 1990s industrial and electronic styles that are made known here, a trend that is referenced back to a few other times during Psychic Feedback & The Crystal Void.
Eagle on a Bald Surface is one of the most primal efforts on pagan interface’s album. The driving beat that represents the backbone of the track will get listeners’ heads nodding as numerous other noises are crocheted into a cohesive entity. R I D (Spam In My Air) is the final composition on Psychic Feedback & The Crystal Void. The effort is able to close things up well by making references back to preceding efforts on the album. For those wondering where pagan interface will go in the months and years to come, there are some interesting sections here that will continue to stay fresh after repeat plays.
Top Tracks: Eagle on a Bald Surface, R I D (Spam In My Air)
pagan interface – Psychic Feedback & The Crystal Void / 2019 Self Released / Domain /
Will’s new single Staying Alive succeeds due to a melange of approaches and styles. This means that there are hints of scratching, Del the Funky Homosapien, and more than a fair shake of mid-1990s NYC hip-hop (e.g. Nas). Scratching represents a good portion of the interstitials between the vocalists’ bars, building off of the style of a Static Selektah. Incorporating guest bars laid down by Illogic to the track further firms up Staying Alive; the trio of creatives unite to make one of the most intricate and heady rap efforts we’ve heard in years. Standing up to repeat plays, Staying Alive will continue to yield new twists and turns even five or ten plays after the first.
Over the course of the last few years, we have received a number of headphones that have been designed for the children’s market. The trend for these products have been to skimp on the product as much as humanely possible, making it difficult for the product to stand up to any sort of normal usage. About a month ago, we received the FosPower Kids Headphones for review. Our daughter (4 years old) has had some serious time trying them out, and we’re pleased to report that they have been able to stand up to some serious wear and tear. The headphones are immediately something that will draw in children – our pair was pink / purple and contained a pair of independently-lighting cat ears.
What we were happiest about is the durable design of these headphones. Our daughter has had the tendency to pick atg anything soft and foam-containing, to the degree that we had to throw away a pair of wireless headphones because she had stripped them to their bare material. FosPower has reinforced the material that contains the foam padding for the headphones, and as a result, they have been able to remain in daily rotation.
The cord for these headphones is sufficiently long to make sure that one can plug them in to a tablet and be able to play games, listen to music, or watch videos without reaching the end of the cord. At $30, these headphones are cheap enough that they can be lost or broken. They have been crafted in a fashion that sheer usage should not be the reason for their downfall. The company even offers a limited lifetime warranty for these, a step above what many other audio firms grant. Check out the attached link to FosPower’s domain for additional information about their headphones. Let us know if you’ve had any opportunity in the past to check these out. We’ll update everyone in a few months with our continued impression about FosPower’s Kids Headphones.
Cool Ass create a wry, catchy track that builds off of the rock of the late nineties and early oughts. With straight-forward, fuzzy guitars linking together surf rock with Slash-style technical riffs, Cool Ass are able to ratchet it up to 11 both on the lyrical and musical side of things. The track moves into a more prog/arena breakdown at around the three-minute mark. With a rapidly-increasing tempo bringing things back up to a fever pitch for S.O.B.’s last minute, Cool Ass ensures that fans will be singing along long after the song ceases to play.
Aqua Seca calls back to the rock of the 1980s with their new single, Don’t Care. The song links together Big Country with Eddie Money. Down and dirty guitar lines united with psychedelic and progressive-inspired sludginess. The fact that no two segments of Don’t Care sound the same is astonishing on its own right, but listeners will be agog at how well the resulting composition sounds. Aqua Seca are so hard to pin down here, ensuring that the band’s novelty will garner them fans with each subsequent play of their latest. Let us know what you think about Aqua Seca’s Don’t Care below.