Friday, May 01, 2015

damn, another one gone

Ben E King: R&B legend dies at 76 
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

recommended gigs

Friday May 1 - the return of the Holy Smokes at the Double Down with the Astaires, Ditch Diggers, Psyatics
Friday May 1 - Motobunny, Alan Six - Dive Bar

Saturday May 2 - 3d6, Water Landing, Forget Me Nows, Another Castle - Adrenaline

Sunday May 3 - The All Togethers at Bar and Bistro Hangover Brunch

Thursday May 7 - The All Togethers at the Beauty Bar

Saturday May 9 - HiFlyers at the Double Down

Wednesday May 13 - Shanda and the Howlers with the Royal Hounds at the Griffin

Thursday May 14 - Hopeless Jack with Prophet Greene at the Dive Bar

Friday May 15 - Wayne Hancock, Clydesdale, All Togethers - Beauty Bar
Friday May 15 - The Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Thursday May 21 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B with Big Sandy and Doug C and the Blacklisted

Friday May 22 - the Humpers and the Hangmen at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 29 - Super Zeros, O's of Presidential, Radio Silence - Double Down

Saturday May 30 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs and Cashed Out at the Beauty Bar

Sunday May 31 - the Astaires with Sharks From Mars at the Double Down

Wednesday June 3 - Dick Dale at the Hard Rock on the Strip

Friday June 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down with the Swamp Gospel and the Gentlemen of Four Outs

Sunday June 14 - The Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Velveteen Rabbit with the Peculiar Pretzelmen

Friday June 19 - Slaughter and the Dogs at the Dive Bar

Saturday June 27 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down

Wednesday July 17 - Adolescents and Weirdos at the Dive Bar

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Another sad RIP

‘Louie Louie’ singer Jack Ely of The Kingsmen dies
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The Psyatics - self-titled CD

OK, so anyone who has ever read this blog knows that the Psyatics are one of my favorite Las Vegas bands and knows that I thought that their debut CD, Oderint dum Metuant, was a skull-crushin' garage monster. Here, on their confusingly self-titled second CD, they take things even further with more great tunes, great playing and great sounds.

The sound really does stand out on this one and they are rightfully proud of the production here. The guitars (Jack Ball) are massive yes multi-textured, Rob Bell's bass runs circles around the melodies and alternates from cool'n'clean to distorted'n'nasty while Jimmy K's drumming is intricate'n'powerful and never resonated better! While this all is easily identifiable as the Psyatics, they do vary their vibrations throughout to keep things from getting complacent.

They open things with a very short, atmospheric intro before poundin' out the stomper, "You Got Me Hummin'", a Sam and Dave number (though you'd never know it) via the Reigning Sound, that brings in Rob's wife Dani to alternate vocals with him. There's no let up before we get "Bad Luck Charm", another frantic riffin' rocker with some noisy/no-wave tendencies, as well, and this continues into "Sin City Dames". Another driver is the melodic tale of an additional drunken dame in "Train Wreck", with more of Rob's catchy lyrical couplets. Jack's guitar creates washes of soundwaves in "You're Gonna Burn" before they pull out a cool 60's fuzz-rocker (originally by the Banana Splits!), "Gonna Find a Cave", and make it into a frenzied'n'furious bit of garage lewdness, helped out here by local harp-master Jeffrey Koenig.

Further word play from Rob in "Sick Sick Six" and then one where Rob's vocals are a little buried, making me wish for a lyric sheet, "Gentleman of Four Outs", that has a really cool groove - not as maniacal as many of the others, but with fine guitar licks and starts'n'stops and memorable melody. Keeping the slower tempo and more early 80's no-wave guitar tones they serve up "Shame on the Family" (almost reminiscent of some of Rob's work in the Yeller Bellies) before uping the pace again with their cover of the Dirtbombs' "The Sharpest Claws", where they really Psyaticize it (more frantic fuzz from Jack and wild shrieks from Rob)! While not completely going goth, I hear some Bauhaus influences in "Properly Medicated" followed by more garage-punk agitation in "Tension!" (again with swingin' harp from Koenig). Rob seems aggressively pained in "The Great Caucasian Migration", while Jack's guitar tones change throughout and Jimmy takes the tempos on crazily disjointed rides. Dani returns for harmony vocals and the bouncin' "Bag of Bones" and it all finishes with another fairly short "Outro - Shame, Shame", reminiscent of the "Intro", fittingly.

Far from a traditional garage trio, these cats mix up all of their influences to create a high energy sound concentrating on garage and punk but adding bits'n'pieces of blare'n'boom, cackle'n'buzz, old'n'new, making something pretty goddam unique. Add some solid songwriting, exceptional lyrics and superior playing and you got something that you need, whether you know it or not!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Psyatics CD Release show at the Double Down Saloon, Las Vegas Saturday April 25, 2015

OK, I played two sets this evening before the Psyatics hit the stage, so I was not at my reporting best by the time these cats hit the stage, but they did a terrific set of tunes from both their debut CD as well as the brand new one that this night was celebrating. Joining the band was dancer Ivana Blaze, giving the group an extra visual boost, as she shimmied along with the high energy garage tunes. Pretty damned packed house for the gang and great response all around. Truly fun and I promise to be more descriptive the next time I see them!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Jimmy Reed - 5 Classic Albums Plus Singles

Of course, I have always dug Jimmy Reed's swampy blues-rock, ever since I first heard bands like the Rolling Stones cover his work. I have a couple of releases by the man - his Best of the Vee-Jay Years is pretty awesome for a collection of his hits - but this 4-CD set is pretty damn comprehensive. You get the hits here - "Big Boss Man", "Goin' to New York", "Hush Hush", "Bright Lights, Big City", "Honest I Do", "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby", "Baby What You Want Me To Do", etc. - but so much more!

Everything here is solid and everything is classic Reed - swampy, bluesy, groovin', harp-driven and just frickin' cool!

This is another discount-priced package, so well worth the money, even if the packaging is sparse. The music is where it's at and man, it's a winner!

Gospel Juke Box Hits

I've been diggin' early gospel for a number of years now, but still don't know about a lot of the people
involved, so I dig these cool, reasonably-priced box sets. This 4-CD compilation isn't all stellar - I'm still mostly a sucker for the racous, jumpin'n'praisin' - but it does have some fantastic stuff and was well worth the money!

I do love early Staples Singers (actually, all of their career is pretty terrific) and they, rightfully, open this set with "This May Be the Last Time" - obviously where the Stones got their title for their less-than-religious hit song. This is followed by the soulful preachin' of the Highway QC's, some almost country corniess by the Prophets, the righteous harmonizing of the Five Blind Boys and the Harmonizing Four, the energetic sermonizin' from the Mighty Clouds of Joy and their band, the solemn Wilhelmena Fernandez, the soul-pop of the Platters (who also get pretty darn funky later), the rockin' "Can I Get a Witness"-soundin' "Thank the Lord" from the Blind Boys of Mississippi, and some fine return cuts from most of the above. All this on the first CD!

The other 3 CDs mostly contain the same artists - with a few extra guests - and are all pretty exceptional, overall. This is a superior compilation, showing many of the different facets of real gospel music. Well worth it!

Howlin' Wolf Memphis Days, the Definitive Edition, Vol. 1

There are numerous giants of the blues, but the Wolf has to be the biggest - literally and figuratively. If there is anyone who epitomizes everything about the blues - from the overall-wearin' country shouter to the slick-suited city bluesman - it is this man and his wonderfully raw and exciting sounds. This CD compiles cuts Chester did for Sam Phillips in Sun Studios in Memphis before moving to Chicago.

Besides his incredibly imposing vocals, Burnett also adds harmonica and guitar, while Willie Johnson provides some terrific earthy, fantastically distorted lead guitar and Willie Steele smacks the drums. At times there are some horns (used to great effect) and piano (Ike Turner plays on some cuts) and it all is pretty damn spectacular!

If you've ever heard the Wolf (and lord help you if you haven't!), you know how great he is. This stuff is not some of his more famous tracks, but it is all right up there with his best. Essential!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

recommended gigs

Friday April 24 - Spotted Dick and the Wlyde Knights, TWAT, Gashers, Sounds of Threat - Double Down - Get there early for a Mapes video shoot!

Saturday April 25 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with Thee Fourgiven and the Psyatics
Saturday April 25 - the All Togethers at the Mormon Fort - 6:00pm

Friday May 1 - the return of the Holy Smokes at the Double Down with the Astaires, Ditch Diggers, Psyatics
Friday May 1 - Motobunny, Alan Six - Dive Bar

Saturday May 2 - 3d6, Water Landing, Forget Me Nows, Another Castle - Adrenaline

Sunday May 3 - The All Togethers at Bar and Bistro Hangover Brunch

Thursday May 7 - The All Togethers at the Beauty Bar

Saturday May 9 - HiFlyers at the Double Down

Wednesday May 13 - Shanda and the Howlers with the Royal Hounds at the Griffin

Friday May 15 - Wayne Hancock, Clydesdale, All Togethers - Beauty Bar
Friday May 15 - The Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Thursday May 21 - the Delta Bombers at Triple B

Friday May 22 - the Humpers and the Hangmen at the Beauty Bar

Friday May 29 - Super Zeros, O's of Presidential, Radio Silence - Double Down

Saturday May 30 - Eddy Bear and the Cubs and Cashed Out at the Beauty Bar

Sunday May 31 - the Astaires with Sharks From Mars at the Double Down

Wednesday June 3 - Dick Dale at the Hard Rock on the Strip

Friday June 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Sunday June 14 - The Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Velveteen Rabbit with the Peculiar Pretzelmen

Friday June 19 - Slaughter and the Dogs at the Dive Bar

Wednesday July 17 - Adolescents and Weirdos at the Dive Bar

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Sonics - This is the Sonics

I have been rantin'n'ravin' about the live return of the Sonics and have finally picked up their first new
album in 50 years or so! This one is a true scorcher, showing the younger groups how garage rock'n'roll should be done! Yes, there are a number of covers, but they always threw some into the mix and made them their own, and these are no exception.

I have a hard time finding fault with anyone's take on the fantastic "I Don't Need No Doctor" and these cats individualize the arrangement and make it smokin' hot! Guitarist Larry Parypa starts off the raucous "Be a Woman" with power chords and cool licks and everyone provides a hard'n'heavy rave-up section at the end. Jerry & bassist Freddie trade off lead vocals throughout the record and both are in fine voice here. Freddie has a cool, raw yet melodic voice, not dissimilar to Jerry's. But it is a pleasure to hear Jerry still shriekin'n'shoutin' as he does in "Bad Betty", where he also trades organ'n'sax riffs with horn master Rob Lind. Their take on "You Can't Judge a Book" has a captivating, climbing chord progression and poundin' drums and may be tellin' the story of these gents themselves - they may look like grandpas, but they still rock with the best of them!

Drummer Dusty Watson propels "The Hard Way" with machine-gun drum fills, aided by Jerry's piano work and cool sax fills and the prerequisite "hey hey heys!". Freddie does a fine job on "Sugaree", which could easily have appeared on one of their 60's albums (more amazing sax'n'guitar playing here, as well). "Leaving Here" is another tune that is difficult to do a bad job on, and they Sonic-fy it with some cool sax'n'harp blowin'. I thought that they actually did "Little Sister" on one of the earlier albums, but maybe it was another NW group, cuz this is a natural for them. There's a bit of "Shot Down" in "I Got Your Number (and it's 666)", not that there's anything wrong with that!

Borrowing a bit from their old pals, the Wailers' song "Hang Up", "Living in Chaos" is a screamer for Freddie. Not exactly hippie fare, "Save the Planet" actually extols the virtues of drinkin'n'partyin' ('reality's for people who don't know how to drink"), backed by a swingin', almost funky, guitar riff and cool organ'n'sax. Dusty continues to give it all he's got on the closer, "Spend the Night", and Larry fires off a fierce solo and some truly heavy power chords, while Jerry shows that he can still be lewd and crude even at his age!

Absolutely inspirational that these fine gents can still put out a monstrous slab of rock'n'roll. Get it!