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 —

 

 

 

Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums Released This Week (April 26, 2019)

In what might be the best release Friday of the year Bruce puts out a new single, George Benson pays tribute to Bo Diddley, Walker Lukens releases a very Adult album, and The Cranberries pay tribute to their late singer. Here are Five Cool Ones that have caught some of our ear time.

Josh Ritter – Fever Breaks

Superbly backed by Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit, this record just might be Ritter’s best yet, easily his best in several releases. Every song is a cracker with Josh easing into each song like a hand in a glove.

Nils Lofgren – Blue With Lou

The E-Street sideman has released a set of songs 5 of which were part of a collaboration dating back to the late 70’s with Lou Reed. The album has a laid back Lou Reed meets JJ Cale Vibe. “Attitude City” is pure Lou Reed. And, the title track is a love song to a hero along the lines of “Keith Don’t Go.”

Foxygen – Seeing Other People

Inching forward a bit from a 60’s and 70’s vibe to a 70’s and 80’s sound Foxygen’s Sam France and Jonathan Rado seem to be getting a lot more serious in their lives and in their music. In what might be their Rock and Roll record, “The Thing Is” shares DNA with Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart,” and “Flag At Half Mast” rolls along like Tattoo You era Rolling Stones.

BAILEN – Thrilled To Be Here

If you are a fan of the Laurel Canyon multiple harmony sound and groups like The Milk Carton Kids or the new Cactus Blossoms record then Thrilled To Be Here will be your new jam. Featuring fraternal twins Daniel and David Bailen along with their younger sister Julia , there is a First Aid Kit meets Dawes aura going on here with this impeccably produced record. There is even a dusting of Fleetwood Mac on “I Was Wrong.”

Randy Rogers Band – Hellbent

The Randy Rogers Band is Country in all the best senses of the word, still rolling with the original line-up 20 some odd years down the road. No new red dirt is broken here, just good old Texas Roadhouse Country Rock and Soul.