This album’s been in heavy rotation lately. All the tracks are consistently great, but it really picks up with the third track, “Busman’s Holiday.” The jangle-y guitars and California haze make me want to re-watch DiG! (2004), the classic documentary chronicling the volatile and brilliant Brian Jonestown Massacre. Check the video below. Enjoy!
Allah-Las, “Busman’s Holiday”
I’ve been a big fan of Roadside Graves since I discovered them via Aquarium Drunkard a few years back. My choice album was typically My Son’s Home (2009) for the more organic and acoustic instrumentation, as well as the epic track “Ruby,” and I had appreciated the blend of Arcade Fire and Drive-By Truckers that their first album, No One Will Know Where You’ve Been (2007), showcased; however, my appreciation for their more recent work, the 2010 EP You Won’t Be Happy With Me and last year’s full-length We Can Take Care of Ourselves, had been tempered by my opinion that they lacked the alt-country tones that had initially attracted me to Roadside Graves. Feeling experimental on a drizzly day, I put on You Won’t Be Happy With Me it finally clicked. I’ve been an addict for the seven-minute long “Liv Tyler” ever since. The epic structure of the song is based around several distinct movements that each build the driving rhythm and lyrics to end in a glorious cathartic binge of howling electric guitar, thundering drums and insistent piano. I love when I realize how wrong I am about songs this good. Enjoy!
The Roadside Graves, “Liv Tyler” (from You Won’t Be Happy With Me, 2010)
Tittyshakers is website dedicated to the sounds of sleaze, or more politely “lo-down and dirty rock n’ roll or equally gritty Jazz.” The website is filled with provactive period images and retro-stylings that really match the overall mood of the music they discuss. Now keep in mind, of course, that this website has no relationship to the types of music that might accompany a contemporary erotic dance, but rather to the skronking, saxophone-filled, bluesy-jazz, rock & roll tracks that might have featured in some dingy, dead-end strip club circa 1959; a genre that bears a certain relevance to Nick Waterhouse’s recently discussed aesthetic.
Of most interest on Tittyshakers is the three Jukejoint pages that each feature about an album’s worth of tracks that fit that delectable description: tittyshakers. If you’re still having trouble grasping the concept, I suggest you give a listen to The Untouchables’ sleazy classic “Crawlin’ (The Crawl)” below, which serves as the perfect archetype of the genre. While each Jukejoint presents each of the song with a description and stream, the individual tracks themselves are scattered across many sundry compilations, which poses a problem for anyone wishing to recreate these Jukejoints in their own musical library. When I first read about Tittyshakers on Aquarium Drunkard, I gathered all the tracks from the first of the three Jukejoints, Crawlin’, and put them together as a compilation, Tittyshakers Jukejoint, Vol. I. Lucky for you, I’m uploading the compilation to save the leg work for anyone who’s interested.
Give a listen to the first track, the aforementioned Untouchables number, below and grab the complete first Jukejoint here.
The Untouchables, “Crawlin’ (The Crawl)”
Because I’m back in the West, I’ve got access to Satellite Radio once again. I heard this little garage-rock gem on Sirius XMU the other night. White Fence is a project put together by Tim Presley, and his new album, Family Perfume, Vol. 1 was released earlier this month by Woodsist, to be followed by Vol. 2 on May 15th. Anyways, enjoy this fun little track, and pick up a copy at your local independent record retailer.
White Fence, “A Hermes Blues” (from em>Family Perfume, Vol. 1, 2012)
For a film I’ve never seen, the soundtrack to Lawrence Kasdan’s 1983 The Big Chill plays a surprisingly prominent role in my life. I was introduced to the soundtrack as one of the more frequently played cassette tapes that my mother owned, and was turned back onto it during my undergrad when a friend of mine and I realized that, though neither of us had seen the film, we’d both grown up listening to that cassette. The soundtrack itself is filled primarily with soul classics from the mid-1960s, along with a couple hippy-rock gems, including Three Dog Night’s anthemic “Joy to the World.” Particular favourites of mine have always included Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” and Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” though there’s not a dud track in the bunch. So, kick back and enjoy some Smokey and Aretha or better yet, go out pick up a copy, on cassette, of course.
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, “Tracks of My Tears” (1966)
Aretha Franklin, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1968)
Filed under Music, Rock, Soul
Earlier this week we lost a legendary figure in the music world, the inimitable Levon Helm. Helm began his career as the drummer for Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, before forming Levon and the Hawks. This group became became Bob Dylan’s backing band and collaborated with Dylan on the legendary Basement Tapes. This group, without Dylan, became known as the Band and released a string of game-changing Americana albums, most notably their self-titled 1969 album. The Band’s career concluded in 1976 with an all-star concert, The Last Waltz, that was captured by Martin Scorsese. Since then, Helm has released a string of excellent solo albums.
Levon Helm with be sorely missed, and his death is an incredible loss for the music world. Goodbye and thanks for all the music.
Levon Helm and the Midnight Ramblers, “Ophelia” (Live, February 2012)
Pressured by constant coverage over on Aquarium Drunkard (see, most recently, here), I’ve decided to trust the experts, and give some attention to Nick Waterhouse. As often seems to be the case these days, there’s very few actual Waterhouse recordings available, despite of the amount of buzz around him. That said, the songs that exist are consistently excellent. Waterhouse is a part of the whole neo-retro movement trying to capture the sound of the early 1960s, and Waterhouse’s contribution to this trend comes in the form of rockers heavily punctuated by skronking saxophone, capturing the moment when the Jump Blues of the 1950s were adopted by white kids from the suburbs and turned into the American Graffiti Rock & Roll that blended blues, jazz, soul and pop. The recent enthusiasm for this style of early rock is a welcome piece of historical revisionism, updating the musical nostalgia for this era to include the full breadth of early Rock & Roll, rather than just the traditionally remembered rockabilly of Sun Records and Elvis.
Nick Waterhouse’s debut LP Time’s All Gone drops May 1st on Innovative Leisure. Check out the first two singles, “Some Place” and “Is That Clear,” below.
Nick Waterhouse, “Some Place”
Nick Waterhouse, “Is That Clear”
Filed under Blues, Music, Rock, Soul