Friday, March 13, 2009

SXSW '09 Pick #17: The Urges!

The Urges

Psych Ward
Wicked Cool Records (US)

Although Psych Ward was released in Europe a almost a year ago on Germany's Screaming Apple Records, this release that has garnered so much praise both far and wide overseas is out on Wicked Cool Records and easily available in The States. Recorded at legendary Circo Perrotti Studios in Gijon, Spain by Jorge Explosion, who recorded Pittsburgh legends The Cynics latest offering Here We Are as well as releases from Billy Childish, Los Immediatos, and The Dee Rangers to name a few, Psych Ward is almost a purist's delight of '60s garage punk. Fuzz, psychedelic Farfisa, zombie howls, harmony vocals, you name it, it's here. In fact, Us Americans are now kind of late in our discovery of The Urges and their debut Psych Ward. Reviews from all over have hailed them as mistaken for a '60s garage punk band, leaders of the new generation of psych/punk, to the missing link between '60s garage punk and '80s Paisley Underground. Then again, that last reference is over two decades old. Since then, garage rock, garage punk, and many psych tinged manifestations on it have emerged with bands that are both backwards in their influences but forwards in their sound. However, The Urges sound like all of those things combined and fans leaning towards every angle are going to pick up on it.

The opening "Jenny Jenny" is a raw '60s Brit Beat number with lyrics that bear an eerie resemblance to "If I Ain't Got You" by The Len Price 3 - "Without you I'm just a ghost of myself" although with a bit more of a louder garage rock twang. However, theirs came out well before The Len Price 3. One might pick up traces of The Chocolate Watchband or The 13th Floor Elevators on "I Gotta Wait," but there are simultaneous traces of raw guitar much like early Stones and The Downliners Sect. The following track "You Don't Look So Good" lines up well next to The Wheels but adds more fuzz guitar, a stronger beat, and great harmonies. The Urges manage to break out some great surf guitar and a pretty strong Chesterfield Kings style farfisa melody, but the overall feels is still older and louder. "You're Gonna Find Out" is a tripped out mix of The Remains and even a touch of early Cynics. This sounds like an awful lot of "sound like" to stomach, but if you take parts of all of your favorite bands and put them together into one, The Urges could be it. "The 13th Floor" could be mistaken for a '60s garage psych classic, but somehow it's also a deeper rock lament that's both psychedelic but without some of the forgettable experimentation of early garage psych. One could guess that this what it sounds like when a garage punk tries something psychedelic. It's more urgent, compact, louder, and much more focused. "Salvaje" is a fuzzed out stomp that unmistakably could be The Mummies and throws in some great, ghouly Cramps laughs. Among the more straightforward songs is "So Uptight," which sounds a little too much like "Stepping Stone," only much better. "The Urges Theme" is a muted reverb, dark, surfy, echo laden song with some truly impressive tremolo and building beats.

I'm finding it really hard not to talk about every song on Psych Ward. Every song is packed with something great. One might hear The Seeds influence on "Out of Time" while others will hear traces of Mickey & The Milkshakes and The Electric Prunes. That's actually a fine example. Take your pick of something really good and you'll hear some of it, no matter what decade of the garage spectrum you lean towards. "Curse It All" is an all out surf romp that seems to cross territory into fast paced Irish pub and Russian drinking music. The guitar is fast and all out impressive, and the beat holds time with it just as frenetically. The last track is "Psych Ward." It's just as impressive as the rest, but heavier on the Electric Prunes styled delerium and the only "psychedelic" studio effect on the whole album thrown in at the end.

One could look at The Urges Psych Ward in two different ways. Before I start on the negative, I need to use the disclaimer that those who can do music do it, but those who don't succeed critique. One can easily narrow The Urges as a band who listened to their parents' record collection and all volumes of Nuggets religiously and studied them to come out with a sound that has all those influences without allegiance to a single one. As a result, It's great music, although not original. I beg to differ. As I've said before, don't listen to rock 'n' roll if you want to hear something original. It's rock 'n' roll! It's basic. Guitar, bass, and drums. The real truth is that great rock 'n' roll never gets old. If one combines great parts of 60's garage rock, garage psych, garage punk, zombie films, surf music, Paisley Underground, and everything else that's been out afterwards that's worthy of one or more of those labels and is good, it would sound like The Urges, but it's definitely original. Psych Ward has the fuzz of garage, the faster, sharper guitar of surf, the psych garage of Farfisa, but the youth, focus, and volume of garage punk. '60s garage purists, mod music fans, surf afficionados, psych rockers who want some good vocal harmony or melodic embellishment on guitar, and garage punks who want to hear loud wails and basic chords will hear ALL of those things in each song. In the end, you'll hear at least one thing you like in every single song; one thing that reminds you of another band that you really, really like, but different from them at the same time. This band sounds both like seasoned '60s garage staples AND loud, snotty punks with attitude. According to their bios, they had little to no musical experience. After listening to Psych Ward, one would find that really hard to believe. It's that fucking good.

Pysch Ward is essential garage rock perfection. Nothing else. In fact, the best way to appreciate it is with the the package deal of vinyl with the full length cd + bonus tracks for only $15. You can't beat that. Among them is "Don't Lead Me On", a slow tempo song that's full of guitar exchanges from Glen and Gary that range from almost delicate psychedelia to loud surf, intense vocal melodies, and Ross's bass that keeps the tune more deeply. It's a damn good vibe, but what's most noticable is the kind of airy sound that either has a vintage analog tape hiss or just the sound of a big room with a lot of empty space. It's pretty special. The other extra track is "Around and Around," a tune with a splendid garage punk beat, plenty of vox guitar sounds, and a little bit of fuzz to send it on. Since every track on the original release is great beyond belief, the extra tracks are essential. There's no slip ups or filler to be found with The Urges. These guys are the real thing.

SXSW Appearances

The Urges are putting down roots in Austin, Texas for a full seven days next week. There are plenty of opportunities to catch one of today's best rock 'n' roll acts. You should see them at least twice. You don't have any excuses.

Mar 16 2009 8:00p.m. Hole In The Wall w/Black Nite Crash & Lower Heaven Austin, Texas
Mar 17 2009 8:00p.m. The Red Scoot Inn w/ Choo Choo and Teen Sensations Austin, Texas
Mar 18 2009 4:00p.m. Sonny’s Vintage w/The Hall Monitors, The She Creatures, Broadfield Marchers, and friends Austin, Texas
Mar 19 2009 1:00p.m. Blue Velvet Vintage Day Party Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 1:00p.m. SXSW Antones - LSUG/Wicked Cool showcase Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 3:00p.m SXSW - BD Riley’s (Full Irish Breakfast) Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 8:00p.m SXSW Red Eyed Fly - LSUG/Wicked Cool showcase Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 6:00p.m. Spider House Café w/The Higher State & The Woggles etc Austin, Texas
Mar 22 2009 8:00p.m. The Fuzz Club w/The Cynics & The Higher State Austin, Texas

Free In-Store Thursday March 19, 2009 1-8pm


Party of the year!

Here's a cool cover of The Omens' "Searching."

"The Urges Theme." Utterly convincing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SXSW '09 Pick #16: The Moog!

The Moog

Sold For Tomorrow
Musick Records

Budapest's The Moog are the newest teen sensation out of Hungary. Well, the only teen sensation out of Hungary, for that matter. Short, sweet songs created out of early punk, synthy new wave, and a little indie rock become popular music that's still good music. "Your Sweet Neck" is about as current as one can be with it's vampire theme, so it's no wonder that goth kids are among their growing legions of fans, despite that it's a catchy, Cars like synth tune that's beat and hooks are about as far beyond the self indulgent themes and slower tempos of most goth rock, but maybe the appeal is Tonyo's seductive, low voice. "Everybody Wants" is a little '80s and a little modern indie with clever guitar hooks and a catchy chorus that causes one to envision Sold For Tomorrow as beginning to take root among the disaffected high school youth that still value art and literature. Definitely a thing for the geeks! The teenage angst bend to a lot of Sold For Tomorrow is temporarily shed on the super clap and say "yeah" along song "I Don't Want You Now", and it's probably the 'funnest' song on the release. Was that a Moog at the end?

The first single off the album, "I Like You" is catchy, but seems to aim more for young romance or better stated, obsession with its repetitive chorus, but the refrain "I do not know what I should do" adds a little more character and has some well filled drumming from Gergo that gives it some added depth that will cause a better listen. "If I Died" definitely has a Moog and gives the song a straight out of '80s American new wave bend, but with lyrics "Oh, and there's nothing left for me to live or die for, so I think I lock every door behind me and throw away the keys 'cause it would not impress me" speaks volumes for their appeal to the doom and gloom". Wait, the chorus of "If I loved, if I cried, if I died" is really fun! I guess one could say the appeal of The Moog is that the music is fun, early new wave and punk based, but the juxtaposition of gloomy and/or teenage angst expands their appeal. I'm wondering how the brooding, black dressed crowd will deal with a live show with so many people smiling, pogoing and singing along? Another standout is "Survive". It's got a fast, near hardcore punk beat that suits it's theme of telling some sad (probably goth girl, again) to stop blaming others and pay attention to their own actions.

A particular appeal of Sold For Tomorrow is that it has both a musical depth and simultaneous simplicity. "Xanax Youth" is a great example of that. Drums and Csabi's bass have a clarity and wholeness, but Adi adds guitar that is both melodic and slightly hooked while also relying on a chord progression that channels early Joy Division. The lyrics? Imagery that's straight out of the book of The Cure, but instead of taking their route of abandoning sharper hooks for somber but good melodies, the song has a really good buildup and eventual climax of drums and feedback which only serves to summarize that The Moog is a rock 'n' roll band that's harder to place. The bonus song "Hit Song" empasizes The Moog's contradictions further as a song of longing but acceptance of a breakup, only it sounds so happy it's beat!

Being not so easily categorized can either be a blessing or a curse. Too often, music fans put their tastes in a pidgeonhole by taking a narrow view of it and only putting bands in that narrow, little space. In truth, great bands have musical connections who are in turn also great, but not necessarily in the same way. If one loves great rock 'n' roll, then they see those connections, although they don't necessarily have to love them. Are The Byrds a garage rock band? No. Are The Sonics a psych/garage band? No. However, many of us share an interest for bands that fall under both influences. How is surf music with it's emphasis on notes instead of straight chords related to garage rock? Musically, one could say it isn't. Therein lies the appeal of The Moog. They're a lot of fun musically. Great beats, catchy hooks, the occasional Moog itself finds its way in and gives the music a quirky, new wave feel at times. The other side is lyrically, they're kind of goth with darker themes, heavy imagery, and plenty of teenage angst. Their influences lean just as heavily on The Ramones as they do to bands from Manchester, UK in the early '80s and the following Batcave crowd which spawned the goth scene. These oppositions are sharp, but The Moog have taken them to create something entirely new that sounds familiar without sounding too much like anyone, so they fit perfectly in with what so many of us seek when we hear new music. We want somthing that has a past in great bands, but we appreciate it more when it still is original. Otherwise, we'd be listening to the same thing. If one's in the latter category, then one's too old for rock 'n' roll.

"Everybody Wants"

"I Don't Want You Now"

SXSW Appearances

Mar 19 2009 4:00p.m. Unofficial SXSW free day show Blue Velvet Vintage Clothing 217 W North Loop Blvd 78751
Mar 19 2009 8:00p.m. SXSW
Mar 20 2009 8:30p.m. SXSW Official show Club 115 115 San Jacinto 78701

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SXSW '09 PIck #15: Muck and The Mires!

Muck and The Mires
Dirty Water Records

Muck and The Mires gave us a little teaser last year for their upcoming Kim Fowley produced release, Hypnotic. The long wait will finally end on April 9th. It's been too long! The opening "Doreen" somehow sounds much better now. Drummer Jessie Best kicks up a sweet, loud beat while Evan "Muck" Shore throws in superb, unadelterated chords on his Muckenbacker while gravelling jubilantly. Throw in some tasty little high and low riffs from Brian Mire, a few handclaps, John Quincy Mire's groovy bass and solo time, and you're in rock 'n' roll high school were it's all about girls and fun. Great start, isn't it? "Treat Her Right" is a little alien at first with it's country tone, but it grows on you after a while. "I'd Do It Over Again" takes a '60s surf/spy approach with a slower beat that brings to mind wet, warm nights and hot rods.

Later tracks like "Hang All Over Me" cements in Muck and The Mires signature vintage sound of early '60s Hamburg with two raw guitars and a basic rock 'n' roll approach that echoes the celebratory revolution of rock 'n' roll in those days; a time when The Beatles thrived on playing nasty tunes live every night and the newly shorned Monks made the town their own monastery by squeezing in faster beats and an organ, thereby perfecting The Hamburg Sound. In fact, "Hang All Over Me" has the group singing in unison a nice organ in it! A great track is the Kinks influenced "Crush on Me", which has smoother vocals and a melody reminiscent of "Tired Of Waiting" that builds, moves, and will shake anyone as well as any structures within earshot. "That Poor Little Girl" still sounds fresh and new, but "Hypnotic" takes on a new identity in its second run. It somehow sounds a little louder and definitely persuasive with its Harrison-like plucks and two chords for a melody. "Hamburg Time" is a loud homage to the previously mentioned birthplaces of loud rock 'n' roll that will leave everyone else wanting to set their clocks to "Hamburg Time," but "Mata Hari" throws The Rat Pack out of the tiki bar to replace them with some British Invasion and a slinky sitar. It's rock 'n' roll that brings to mind wild nights among tiki torches and hula dancers in celebration of the ended day's wave riding. The British Invasion models and shapes the sound of many acts today, but Muck and The Mires make it a lot more special by reviving The Hamburg Scene when the bands that played were a lot rougher and more fun than their later incarnations and subsequent counterparts.

Kim Fowley declared "Cocoa Beach" to be a big hit for the Summer of '08 when he went into the studio with them a while back. It's got a great ocean rhythm, beach music harmonies, and some astounding drumming, but whether it's by heritage or the age demographic of Florida, my image and memories bring up visiting Aunt Sadie and Uncle Morty in Boca more than a hot vacation. Although "lying on the beach all day" would be ideal, many who visit end up playing a lot more shuffleboard. I can't fault anyone for that, though. In fact, I need to get down there if Cocoa Beach is as groovy as Muck tells us. The closing track "Gone, Gone, Gone" is a standout with feedback and volume. It's a good ending by kicking things up just a little.

Fowley had a vision of recording Muck and The Mires in the style or feel of With The Beatles. Although The Beatles are so familiar that everyone likes them, but a large portion amonth them lack the ability to hear great new music, so they've dissected, overanalyzed, and written endless, over repeated tomes on their genius to the point where we all know about it and have been furiously shaking off the weight of The Beatles for a good part of our lives, if one listens to a song like "I Saw Her Standing There" and rediscovers the rock 'n' roll simplicity of it in the catchy lyrics, the happy beat, the elated tone in the screams, and the eventual realization that it still has what we all are looking for: Simple, fun rock 'n' roll, then go farther back and dig "The Hamburg Sound" with The Monks, one could only conclude that Hypnotic is the answer to our modern dilemnas of politics and the economy. We've got fun, loud rock 'n' roll that's not complicated or overdone. Things have been pretty tough for everyone lately. It's time to get out there, go to a show, and shake, rattle, roll, and shimmy one's self back to into a time when things were fun and the world carried a lot of hope and promise. Not only can Hypnotic take us there, but it reminds us that like back then, things are changing all around us and while we remain apprehensive about the future, the world is opening up again, which is exactly what one feels when they discover rock 'n' roll. It's time to have some fun!

"Hamburg Time"

"Crush on Me"

Both videos courtesy of rfgenerator-March 6, 2009 from Vincent's Bar in Worcester, MA.

SXSW Appearances

Mar 20 2009 11:00p.m. With THE NEW YORK DOLLS 504 Trinity St. 78701

Sunday, March 8, 2009

SXSW '09 Pick #14: Maximum Jangle with The Parties!

The Parties

Can't Come Down
Rainbow Quartz Records

The Parties are a mod band that plays two 12-string electric guitars. That's the best description. Not psychedelic, not mod, not Byrds influenced. All of the above. They call it Maximum Jangle. What one finds on their debut Can't Come Down is a lot of songs all built around their sound that do, in fact, touch on late '60s garage, mod, early psych, '60s LA folk rock, The Paisley Undergound, and modern psych with older twists. Although that covers a lot of musical territory, one notices the most that their sound is their own with a combination of eras and influences led by vocal/12-string, left handed Vox Phantom wizard Jeremy Powers. "Love For Sale" floats like an '80s psych anthem, complete with an effect laden intro, almost choral opening vocals, a deep, melodic bass from Rex Paddyhag, a catchy guitar melody intro, and definitely 'trippy' guitar to compliment the melody that send it into melodic psychedelia, although with plenty of feedback. It hooks and pulls one right in. Tripped out, raw guitar, psychedelic pop much like not only modern influences like The Asteroid #4 and The High Dials, but also nods to The Rain Parade and The Church. Then the higher harmonic pitch of the refrain "She did it again" sends one into The Stratosphere. "Breaking Hearts" leans towards a more basic approach, but the jangle has a lot more feedback than the classic Rickenbacker 'tinny' sound. It's got this early Who sense of rawness and the occasional Keith Moonish drumrolls from John Morgan, but instead of Maximum R & B, we get Maximum Jangle! "Cold Life" has a more "classic" 12-string Rick sound, but the song introduces us to guitarist Sarah Mehlfield, who's Velvet(y) Underground tone combines with LA folk and Burt Bacharach coolness to create a fully electrified folk experience (Sarah has since departed). "Yours and Mine" probably comes the closest to classic jingle jangle in tempo, but it also has a great, live sound with a tambourine taking a central role. The title track takes an echoed, smooth approach with a full sound air that feels like a late, inebriated evening where the music fills the room like The Mama's & The Papa's if they had mixed sweet harmonies with a lot more guitar and "All Tomorrow's Parties".

After deeper, introspective tones, "Radio" is a more chord driven psych number which provide an upbeat, rock lift that's accentuated with a good amount of fuzz and still retains a '60s innocence and simplicity. The select number of people that I've turned on to The Parties were turned on by "Velvet Love Affair," which has a slight '60s country rock/folk tinge that reminds one of The Stone Pony's interpretation of Mike Nesmith's a different drum. Although all the tracks on Can't Come Down move around a dual 12-string sound, "Waterfall" goes into '80s Paisly Underground interspersed with the louder, mod revival powerpop. One sees one of the forumulas in The Parties of airy psychedelic melodies twisted with feedback, fuzz, and even folk. These seem to come together in "Gotta Get Out", a slow, modish song that would have been at home on Quadrophenia, especially with the words "I've got my head in the clouds, all for the chance of impressing a girl" that could only make one think of Jimmy's identity crisis "Cut My Hair".

With the mix of feebacked early psych and folk rock played as more lush, layered but still fuzzed out songs on most of "Can't Come Down", the title track comes as a little bit of a shock as a full jangly powerpop song that although it's my favorite track, it's definitely a standout compared to most of the album. What's even more shocking is the slide guitar intro of the ending "Much Better", but this one somehow just puts a lump in one's throat with Everly Brothers like harmonies. Additionally, it's a chord based rock song that somehow combines a faster melody with a slower but groovy rhythm over it. It's another song that makes one stop and marvel at how special The Parties are.

The Parties make jangly psych rock that's too fuzzy to be powerpop, but there's a range of musical styles from airy psychedelic, electric folk, and jangly fuzz that might leave most listeners unsure of what to call them. Truthfully, a great band either does the same thing over and over and does it brilliantly every time, or they challenge themselves and their fans by using their own, original sound to take bigger jumps from without transforming into something less exciting than they were. The latter can be said about The Parties. Every song has strong points, whether it's in a deep, folky simplicity, trippy electric psych, or just rock 'n' roll with a maximum jangle, The Parties have their own voice that lies in their sound. Once one hears a few tracks, they'll recognize the remaining tracks as distinctive and sounding more like The Parties, a band that invented Maximum Jangle!

"Gotta Get Out"

SXSW Appearances

Mar 21 2009 3:00p.m. The International Psychout! SXSW Day Party Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 8:00p.m. SXSW Showcase - B. D. Riley’s Irish Pub Austin, Texas

Note: Rough Draft, Disraelis misspelled

SXSW '09 Pick #13: The Love Me Nots

The Love Me Nots

Atomic A Go Go Records

The hottest/coolest thing to come out of Arizona have returned with their second album wrought in spy/surf mayhem. Whereas their debut In Black & White packed punches in every song, Detroit pummels. Nicole's vocals are stronger, more seductive, louder, and more soulful, while Michael Johny's guitar is heavier, thicker, and louder. As if the two leaders aren't enough to batter you with fuzzed out surf and farfisa for nearly 40 minutes, bassist Christina Nunez and drummer Jay Lien equally join the melee with every thud and pound, although both left recently and were replaced by Kyle Rose Stokes and Vince Ramirez. In Black & White was a flawless debut that left many record labels pounding at their door. Alas, The Love Me Nots were left unimpressed with the possibility of major label exposure and losing certain rights as a compromise. As a result, the band kept their DIY attitude and outdid themselves. Detroit is the second album released on their own label, Atomic A Go Go records. This is an album that labels wish their artists could do.

Ghetto Recorders guru Jim Diamond turned the knobs again, but this time, every thing that was so great about In Black & White was turned up to 11! An Arizona band turned into natives of The Motor City, definitely. Detroit is heavier in volume and power. Farfisa/lead vocal Nicole Laurenne's voice is enough to leave everyone bowing their heads in awe on the opening track "Walk Around Them," but the keys blast in like ice against Michael Johnny's wailing guitar, but the chords have an echo that fills up every corner of a room. There's also a cool pre-solo of melodic bass fuzz that one can't help but nod their head in approval. "Bulletproof Heart" and "Secret Pocket" has almost Arabian guitar intros and later solos that is nothing less than authentic if one considers that surf guitar legend Dick Dale is of Lebanese descent and used Arabian melodies as a major influence in his work. Jay's drumming on it is tough, primal, and to the point, but Nicole's almost hypnotic keys on "Secret Pocket" have a swirling, almost mesmerizing effect that could make anyone swoon if it weren't for the fact that all the other instrumental and vocal parts demand notice. "I'm The One" is almost a 'traditional' garage rock song with it's simple beat, but the keys are eerie enough to throw one into a zombie movie. "Love Letter" is almost a refrain from the previous tracks in it's simpler delivery. Whereas the songs before it have an almost punk assault in delivery, "Love Letter" is a freakbeat dance song that can fill the floor. "Work" is a pure r&b foray that showcases a fuller range of Nicole's vocal prowess in that it's smooth and seductive, but the added tambourine rhythm is a great surprise as well as the certainly Motown style background vocals.

Detroit is undeniable fun that is far better in its intensity and simplicity than most of what's out there. The 60's surf, garage, spy movie and fuzz/farfisa are all there, one can instantly pick out the influences, but the delivery is punk in volume and one can only slightly pick out influences to say what they sound like. For example, "Shuffle" has loud, dark surf guitar and the beat that could have been at home on Hulabaloo, Shindig, or Beat Club, but it doesn't really sound like anyone. An exception is the commanding Black & Blue that hints at The Sonics "Have Love, Will Travel." Then again, that song is such a staple that an awful lot of great bands have a few songs in their repertoire that hearkens back to it. Although Birthday Present has the same beat of In Black & White's "Move In Tight," the Farfisa is nice and muddier than the other tracks, Nicole's voice into full command as well as the others. "Shaken" is a slower, subtle but still intense, and desolate lament that's a perfect ending for the album.

SXSW Appearances

Mar 22 2009 1:00p.m. CHEAPO RECORDS IN-STORE Austin, Texas

SXSW 2009


Friday, March 6, 2009

SXSW '09 Pick #12: Magic Christian

Magic Christian

Wizard's Den Records

Given the pedigree of Flamin' Groovies, The Plimsouls, and Blondie, one can't help but to think in awe of Magic Christian. It comes bottled in their second release, Evolver. As a good intro, "In Your Arms" is good, jangly, late Groovies era, but it's followed by the supercharged "Out In The Streets", with full, raw chords from Cyril Jordan, intense rhytmic drumming from one of the most talented drummers around, Clem Burke, and convincingly superb, commanding vocals from Paul Kopf, who's probably the luckiest rock fan in the world! It's also got some southern boogie, Rolling Stones style piano that brings together the overall sound. Perhaps the trademark of Cyril's legendary Flamin' Groovies was this ultimate mix of dirty r & b with perfect, jingle jangle melodies. "All The Stars" is a great example of this hard rockin' with great melodies, almost to the point where the melody is really familiar even though it's an original song. They also give "Anytime At All" from The Beatles A Hard Days Night a great update that has echoes of "Turn Turn Turn!". What's most exciting about this one is Paul's incredible vocals.

"Run and Hide" takes a careful emphasis on great vocal harmonies, another late Groovies trademark, but with a lean towards Rubber Soul that will dare anyone not to think it's a great song, but it also has a deeper bass melody from 'Fast' Eddie Munoz and builds up into a louder song with some heavier guitar parts and layered vocals that are quite surprising. As if self fulfilling, "Turn Up the Heat" matches a little rock ferocity r & b style, a simple melody, and Clem Burke's fabulous beats. At times, one can hear his snare drum stand out, but the buildups, especially before and during the chorus, is proof why he's so sought after. Two songs on Evolver remind me of "Shake Some Action", which I often tell people is the best song ever: "Sha La La" has Cyril's familiar twang, but with a slower beat and a surprising high voice from Paul that takes one back to '64 even though most of us weren't around back then, while "Come And Go" mixes a few different chord effects that sound both raw and with effects, but also combines with a smooth and strong vocal tone that turns it into a song that's somehow hard, sweet, and melodic.

"Tomorrow Never Comes" (notice a second Revolver reference) is one's personal journey, which is a familiar theme in rock that plays out with practically every band that's able to look at themselves, but it also reflects both a personal struggle of trying to move that fits into the title itself. Much different than most songs involving personal journeys, which don't really describe a some sort of change, lyrics like "Clocks are running now...will I ever find the time to get some piece of mind? There's never a way of knowing where or what you will find" emphasize that personal change, which makes it a better story than the familiar lament of a personal identity crisis. Additionally, the longer intro played dually with Cyril and Eddie is a great sounding exchange. Magic Christian ends Evolver on a great high note with the Memphis Blues hued "The Real Thing", complete with stompin' shoes, smokestack lightnin', '60s themes of "You can't do this, and you can't do that", but with encouragement to "come on down the road, it's not what you think you'll see, the real thing, baby!" and experience some down home, raunchy rock Beggars Banquet style, but with a great sounding guitar echo that are loud and clean with a little bit of Andy Summers from The Police's louder, least known Regatta de Blanc. Luckily, the reggae influence is left out.

Evolver should be considered a true rock 'n' roll album. It mixes soul harmonies, dirty blues guitar, a lot of jangle, a little twang, and a strong presence all around. The drumming's incredible, the bass has it's own melodic presence that also compliments the guitar, and the vocals, both group and solo, have a presence that's unrestrained but remain grounded. Evovler is great rock 'n' roll. Then again, that's exactly what one would expect with the combined talents of Magic Christian.

SXSW Appearances

Mar 17 2009 7:30p.m. The Dog And Duck Pub’s 19th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Party Austin, Texas
Mar 19 2009 4:00p.m. SXSW - Dogfish Head Showcase Ginger Man Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 4:00p.m. SXSW Day Show Dogfish Head Showcase Ginger Man Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 1:45p.m. SXSW Day Show Breakaway Records Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 5:00p.m. SXSW Day Show Antone’s Records Austin, Texas

"Out In The Streets"

"All the Stars"

Videos courtesy of vinylrichie

Thursday, March 5, 2009

SXSW '09 Pick #11: She Creatures Invade!

The She Creatures

She Creatures Invade
Not signed on any Earth label!

The look is cool, the vibe is cool, and it's space age garage rock. That's almost enough right there to make anyone submit. Musically, The She Creatures rock like no one else! The opening "She Creatures Invade" is such a bold statement filled with super beats from Elektra Statik, interstellar Vox Continental hits, choppy chords, and the chorus "She Creatures invade! Men, can't be afraid, we'll hypnotize you, yeah, yeah, yeah!" is more than persuasive, but Nancy Raygun deals the final hypno-ray with her strong vocals that remind one of every tough female lead from Grace Slick to Debbie Harry, but with even greater power and seduction akin to Sharon Tandy's vocal on "Daughter of The Sun" that adds a hint of smoothness and range to the likes of Kate Pierson. If that's not enough, the siren's call of The She Creatures singing in unison is going to bring one to their knees on the slow tempo, Motown inspired "Hungry", which is an response equal in musical chops and garage influences to The Fleshtones "I'm Still Thirsty", complete with Princess Slayer's Vox Contintental organ sweeps.

"Radar" has has a harder, louder feel with some great guitar riffs and some handclaps that are long enough to get everyone on their feet. "Moonman" was so full of great stuff that it's hard to get one's hands around. At first, a slow, bluesy number that reminds one of "Needles and Pins", great background vocals, a little bit of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", some awfully loud guitar, the all too familiar lament of "Show me your dark side" and the idea of falling in love in a way that everything is new and full of aching desire and so much unfamiliarity. To expand, it's that feeling of infatuation with someone one's just starting to know and therefore, really does come off as someone from another planet. The closing song "Space Madness" edges towards a sleazy garage punk song complete with fuzzed out chords and a chorus that's going to get everyone screaming along, but it's another pure She Creatures anthem that points to their louder, sleazier garage punk sound with Haley Comet playing both bass and a mesmerizing theramin.

The She Creatures have their own theme that permeates these songs as well as their original '60s sci-fi interplanetary invaders inspired intro and outtro, but what one really finds is that the music is so good that it's light years beyond anything. This is Super rock from The Space Age! South by Southwest had the original intentions of giving exposure to unsigned acts. Although that message has sharply changed to having a few well known artists and a strong showing of already signed indie acts who also deserve more exposure, it's a great way to discover those who you might not hear of otherwise, so the unsigned acts that often have more talent and ability than most. This applies to The She Creatures. In fact, this is one act that one should see at least one performance of. As much as we try to remain gender neutral, The She Creatures display a feminist strength in their persuasiveness and ultimately, their music that should make both genders think twice about roles. This is strength, power, dominance, desire, common vulnerabilities that everyone can identify with, and sex appeal that not only has the potential to remind women of their own power, but to really put those in the male category a still needed step down. This is at first alien in appearance, but is also proof that these invaders studied us less evolved humans well enough to know how to take us over. Not only do these vixens from Venus have the look to make everyone submit, but their music is so powerful that it commands admiration. Prepare to submit, puny Earthlings!

SXSW Appearances

Mar 18 2009 8:00P 2.40pm Sonny’s Vintage - Austin, Texas
Mar 19 2009 8:00P 1.45pm Breakaway Records/11pm Esther’s Follies - Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 8:00P SXSW Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 8:00P 3pm Cheapo Discs - SXSW Austin, Texas

3-21-09 @ 3pm