What We’re Listening To – The Jellyfish Edition (May 17, 2020)

Jellyfish/The Lickerish Quartet/Imperial Drag/Foxygen/Foxy Shazam

Jellyfish

Jellyfish was a SanFranciso based band that was unapologetically retro in all the best ways of ways. With a Pop sensibility that brings to the minds-ear XTC, Badfinger and The Zombies, the band, formed around singer-songwriter Andy Sturmer, keyboard player Roger Manning along with Jason Falkner, crashed and burned mostly due to musical differences after two spectacularly immaculate records, Bellybutton and Spilt Milk.

Imperial Drag

Born from the ashes of Jellyfish was the band Imperial Drag that featured Jellyfish alum Roger Manning, singer Eric Dover, and drummer Andy Sturmer. The band was one and done. The Grunge obsessed fans of the mid-’90s were never a nuanced bunch and killed the group before it ever really got started.  Never the less, their Glam-forward self-titled record was an exercise in perfect Power Pop with that little bit of extra edge that made them really cool.

The Lickerish Quartet

And now, The Lickerish Quartet is playing it forward with their new record, Threesome, Vol. 1, a four-song E.P. that features Eric Dover, Roger Manning, and Tim Smith former members of the legendary band Jellyfish getting together for the first time since 1994. If you miss Slade, Queen and Marc Bolan you will love this band.

Foxygen

Foxygen and their 2013 album We are the 21st Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, along being with clear disciples of Jellyfish and Glam rock are another one of the bands that are not ashamed to wear the retro-rock tag with great honor. If Lou Reed and David Bowie had a love child the resulting spawn would be Foxygen. Unfortunately, having crashed and burned mostly due to the over the top LSS (Lead Singer Syndrome) affliction Sam France was dealing with, or maybe they ran out of money hiring a full symphony orchestra for their 2016 release Hang, in any case, the band is now on an indefinite hiatus.

Foxy Shazam

Another one of those backward-looking retro rocking bands that seem to have crashed and burned far too quickly, for our tastes anyway. With their intoxicating blend of rock and roll theatrics, a maniacal mix of double-kickdrum percussion, and howling vocals, maybe after lighting the sky on fire with 2012’s The Church of Rock and Roll maybe it is best for a band like this to die young and leave a good looking corpse.

— Jeremy Wren —

 

 

 

What We’re Listening To (May 15, 2020)

Sure we’re a bit gutted here at Rock is the New Roll that there is a bit of a delay on the new Chuck Prophet record, but hey, we will get over it. Here are some of the fine records we are listening to here in The Falcon’s Nest.

Dion – I Got Nothin’ 

On this true blues song from Dion where he collaborates with Van Morrison and Joe Louis Walker on this classic Blues tune that sounds like it could have come right out of the Allman brothers, actually, the best is yet to come.

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

In a somewhat obscure musical moment, a local sports talk show fellow was describing a back in the day bar hopping expedition in College Station when there was a busker in front of a bar of playing random songs. He said his band was playing in town and they were just going to jam in this local Texas  A&M bar before the gig playing only cover songs. The dude said his name was Ian Anderson and his famous song was “She Sells Sanctuary.” I immediately tweeted the dude as he was on air and told him I wasn’t aware that Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson ever stood in for Ian Astbury as lead singer for the Cult. He corrected himself, giving me a shout out, and all was well.  This, of course, sent me down a Cult rabbit hole.

There are, of course, a zillion versions of “She Sells Sanctuary out there, but this one from the Rock Show House of Strombo is one of our favorites.

Tesla – Signs

Here at Rock is the New Roll we have more than a few Rock and Roll guilty pleasures and Tesla is one of them. And, with the latest live Tesla record recorded at Abbey Road front and center in our skulls, we embarked on a journey to find the original version of the song that was set to vinyl. Here is the 2019 version.

And, here is the version from 1990 live from The Trocadero as it was meant to be heard on the Five Man Acoustical Jam.

Metallica – Blackened 2020

From the And Justice For All Metallica album, here\, the members of Metallica do a Quarantune version of the song updated for 2020.

Brothers Osbourne – All Night/Paul Cauthen – Cocaine Country Dancing

Sure, we accept and can handle the heat we get from Loving the over the top Retro-Sleaze of The Cadillac Three. So, it should come as no surprise that “All Night” from The Brothers Osbourne is right up our street.  with lyrics like “I got the good if you got the time/I got the Moon, you got the shine/ I got the back if you got the beat /Got the solid gold 33 on repeat” what is there not to like?

And then, there’s the remix of Paul Cauthen’s “Cocaine Country Dancing” featuring Electrophunk. Don’t tell me most of you have not been there.

 

 

What We’re Listening To (May 10, 2020)

Datura4

In the blink of an ear, these guys from Western Australia have transformed themselves from an on-fire Blues-Boogie band to one of the best Psychedelic Rock bands on the planet.

Their earlier albums including Blessed is the Boogie were pretty much straight-ahead Blues Rock affairs with occasional mid-song jams to display their immense musical chops. Now, with their latest release, West Coast Highway Cosmic, the band has turned the Psychedelic Rock up to 11, so much so that they would make the 13th-floor elevators blush. The album steps on the gas and stretches out the jams on the “Highway Star ” influenced title track, turns up the Steppenwolf vibes on “Wolfman Woogie,” and meanders its way through the desert-noir of “You’re The Only One”

Grace Potter Monday Night Twilight Hour

Grace Potter is using her quarantine time wisely by putting together a weekly YouTube video series to share music with her fans. Typically, it is just her and her piano, but here, she enlists help from her band on an excellent version of the Zeppelin classic “Whole Lotta Love.”

Margo Price – Twinkle Twinkle

By all rights, we should be listening to, That’s How Rumors Get Started, the new record from Margo Price that was supposed to come out this past Friday. But, it is Corona delayed, so we get the next best thing, a song, and accompanying video to wet the whistle until we are able to hear the entire thing in all its glory.

Ray Wylie Hubbard – Outlaw Blood

The mighty Texas Troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard has a new album in the can and it is almost ready to hit the streets. The record features a dazzling array of guests including, Ringo Starr, Don Was, Chris Robinson, The Cadillac Three, Joe Walsh, Pam Tillis, Paula Nelson, Elizabeth Cook, Tyler Bryant, Ashley McBryde, Larkin Poe, Peter Rowan, and Ronnie Dunn. Just to name them all.

Paul Weller – Nick Lowe

Both of these blokes have a record coming out later in the year and to say we are looking forward to it is a bit like saying we are looking forward to happy hour.

Nick Lowe does a particularly excellent imitation of the cool uncle and elder statesman as he as grown into over the last several albums with “Lay It On Me Baby.”

Albert King – Funky London

A little blues 12-bar workout from Albert Kings’ Funky London. The title track and the instrumental cover of JB’s “Cold Sweat” are worth the price of admission alone on this one.

Elton John – Tonight (Live From Moscow ’79)

For our ears, the Elton John w/Ray Cooper 1979 live album has passed over 17-11-70, or 11-17-70 if your on this side of the pond, as the best live record in the Elton John canon. Side one is just Elton and his piano where he tickles the ivories like his life depended on it, especially so on his scorching rendition of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” And, things get even cooler when percussionist Ray Copper joins Elton on stage kicking things off with “Funeral For A Friend” followed by the best version you will ever hear of “Tonight.”

What We’re Listening To (May 3, 2020)

It’s not all work and no play for the contributors at Rock is the new Roll HQ (Bernie Sparrow, Jeremey Wren, Cletus Crowe, Nigel Owl), sometimes,  we stroll over to The Falcon’s Nest Bar and grill, hang out and listen to music for music’s sake.

Here is what we’re listening to right now.

Brendan Benson – Dear Life

Pound for pound Brendan Benson, along with Matthew Sweet, is one of the most criminally underrated purveyors of Power Pop that has ever picked up a six-string. He’s not very prolific if you don’t count is appearances with Jack White’s sidebands including The Raconteurs, but everything he touches turns into Power Pop Gold. His new record, Dear Life, is most definitely his best work since the 1996 classic, One Mississippi.

Chicano Batman – I Know It

Sure they have one of the best band names to come around in recent years, but our muso-love for Chicano Batman. Their Psych Soul sound is right up our street and their new record, Invisible People happens to be on heavy rotation in The Falcon’s Nest.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners

On this unwashed side of the pond the band Dexy’s Midnight Runners are known for virtually one song and, of course, it is “Come On Eileen,”  a song that in these parts is virtually unlistenable at this point, unless, of course, your name happens to be Eileen. The reality is, however, is that Kevin Rowland and his band that mixes Irish Folk with Northern Soul are a pretty great group that is well worth spending some deep-dive ear-time to get to know them better.

Their album, Don’t Stand me Down, has several high energy anthemic tracks including “Listen To This,” and “One of Those Things,” and “Geno” their tribute to American Soul singer Geno Washington was number one in the U.K. but released to cits in the U.S., and criminally so.

Always a scorching Live band, their version of “Jackie Wilson Said” is right up there with the best covers of the Van Morrison staple. Here, Kevin Rowland and company take the song to new heights with this low and slow version.

Even if the album, Too Rye Ay 1982 did not include “Come On Eileen” this 1982 release would still be considered a bangin’ record. “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile is on it, the opener “The Celtic Soul Brothers” is a great party song, and “All In All (This One Last Waltz), slows things down a bit quite nicely and shows off the range that Kevin Rowland possesses. All in all, this is a really great record.