It’s been decades since the Elephant Six Collective was founded on a shared love for 1960s pop, but many of the scene veterans are still just as vital years later. You need look no further than the latest by Great Lakes – the Brooklyn by way of Athens, GA indie pop band – for proof. Continue reading “Great Lakes – Dreaming Too Close to the Edge”
Over the years, the music documentary genre has become fairly predictable. There’s the childhood background story, the rise and ultimate fall of the musician or band (usually a result of drugs, inter-band squabbles or changing musical trends), followed by the relaunch after years of soul searching, all told though interviews with those close to the band. VH1 set up the template years ago with Behind the Music and a whole generation of filmmakers seems to be on autopilot recreating it again and again.
But, thankfully the British ska band Madness, who’ve bucked convention from the very beginning, continue their streak of non-conformity and bring it to the band doc. Platform.
One Man’s Madness, a documentary about Lee Thompson, co-founder of the band, their sax player and one of their chief songwriters, is an exercise in creativity. Yes, the doc is littered with interviews, everyone from Lee’s family, his bandmates and various managers, but you never see these folks until the final minutes of the film. Instead, Thompson, dressed in various costumes and wigs, lip synchs (sometimes horribly) the audio from each interview.
The ridiculousness of this spectacle is enjoyably compelling, at times laugh out loud funny and perfectly in line with what Madness as a band have stood for since the late ‘70s – irreverent, creative and above all else, fun.
One Man’s Madness/80 Mins./Cadiz Music/2018 /
Margo Timmins is one of just a handful of singers, alongside Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and the late Leonard Cohen, who consistently manage to take vulnerability and emotional rawness and translate it into powerfully moving records time and time again. “All That Reckoning,” the Canadian band’s latest, is certainly no exception. Continue reading “Cowboy Junkies – All That Reckoning”
Jesus, who knew it would take a band of 20-somethings to perfectly, organically resurface the vibe of ‘70s rock – from the swagger of the Stones to the swamp funk of Leon Russell – for the modern era. Continue reading “The Nude Party – The Nude Party (CD)”
Los Angeles-based Power Pop band The Quick may have only put out one album in their short existence, but that one record, Mondo Deco, helped to bridge the gap between glam music and the then burgeoning punk rock scene. Continue reading “The Quick – Mondo Deco [Expanded Edition] (CD)”
It’s been more than 35 years since the Dave Wakeling-fronted group, The English Beat (known outside of Canada and the U.S. as simply The Beat) last put out a record of new music. Maybe it’s the fact that the band has been touring fairly frequently for the better part of the last decade – and still putting on an amazing show, by the way – but it’s hard to believe it’s been this long since Wakeling and his crew last put out an LP. Continue reading “English Beat – Here We Go Love (CD)”
In 1994, Liz Phair was coming off of one of the most critically-lauded debuts of the decade. With expectations set incredibly high, she put out the follow up, Whip-Smart, just 15 months later and while she could never escape the comparisons to Exile in Guyville, decades later, that second album still remains a gem. UMe, alongside Capitol is finally re-releasing a trio of Phair records from her time with Capitol. Continue reading “Liz Phair – Whip-Smart; Whitechocolatespaceegg; Liz Phair (Vinyl Re-releases)”
There are sadly way too many stories out there similar to the tale of the boys in Zuider Zee. A Memphis-based power pop band that started recording in the early 1970s, Columbia Records released their one and only album in 1975, a self-titled LP that should have been big, considering the success of other power pop like Cheap Trick, Badfinger and The Raspberries. The band also curiously opened for the Sex Pistol in Memphis – one of only a handful of U.S. shows before Johnny Rotten and his pals saw their band implode spectacularly just a few shows later. But, Columbia never even bothered to release a Zuider Zee single to radio. Combine that label apathy with a bizarre stabbing of their bassist as he caught thieves trying to break into their van to steal equipment, Zuider Zee dissolved by the late ‘70s. Continue reading “Zuider Zee – Zeenith (Light in the Attic Records)”
Memphis-based roots rocker John Paul Keith has been on quite a tear lately. On the same day he turned in a full length with his band Motel Mirrors, he also released another 12-track solo record. And neither album seems to have taken a backseat to the other. Continue reading “John Paul Keith – Heart Shaped Shadow”
The Austrian punk trio Deecracks have been slogging it out in basement parties and clubs for 15 years now, all the while adhering to a strong DIY ethos that saw them self-releasing most of their records, when they weren’t booking their own shows across the globe. Indie Street Punk/Oi stalwart Pirate Press jumped in and offered to release the band’s latest, Sonic Delusions, giving the band a better shot at exposure in the U.S. And just a couple of songs in, it’s clear what Pirate Press saw in the band. Continue reading “Deecracks – Sonic Delusions (Vinyl)”