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 New Records Released This Week (May 15, 2020)

Another week where we lament what could have been including some stellar records that were supposed to be released today including the new Chuck Prophet, Weezer, and the great Bon Jovi New album, all widely anticipated records that did not see the light of day today. Here are five nice records that are rocking our hedgerow this week.

Ruthie Foster – Live at the Paramount

Texas Blues legend Ruthie Foster is out front and center with a very strong set from her performance at The Paramount in Austin. Sprinkled in with her stellar original material are several really choice cover versions of “The Ghetto,” “Ring of Fire,” and “Mack The Knife.” Several listens in, the overall sentiment in the halls of Rock is the New Roll is that Ruthie Foster should really be much more famous than she is.

Jason Isbell – Reunions

As expected, the new Jason Isbell record is spectacular. His band, The Four Hundred Unit is one of the cracker-jack units in the business, and this one might surpass Southeastern as the best album in the Jason Isbell canon given enough listening time. Extra credit to Jason for releasing the album exclusively to independent record stores one week in advance of delivering the finished product to the unwashed masses.

Gretchen Peters – The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury

Mickey Newbury is one of those songwriters that wrote a lot of songs that you really love that you will be surprised to hear that Mickey wrote them. Here, Gretchen Peters approaches each song with reverence and love in an understated manner that is perfect for a late-night listen. “Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” is broken down to the core of its elements, “San Francisco Mabel Joy” is sung with such precision that in your minds-ear you might as well be watching a movie and “She Even Woke Me To Say Goodbye” is even more of a tear-jerker with the delicate interpretation that Gretchen gives it.

The Lickerish Quartet – Threesome, Vol 1.

Anytime that two members of the iconic Bay Area band Jellyfish come together to form a band, color us all in. Here, with Eric Dover and Joseph Manning Jr. coming together with the rest of The Lickerish Quartet it is an event celebrating in Psychedelic Rock heaven even if it’s only an E.P.

Willie Nile – New York at Night

It’s official, with the release of his latest, New York at Night, Willie Nile has taken the mantle from Lou Reed as the King of New York. Having been doing his thing from the late ’70’s Nile comes across his love for the city naturally. Here, with “New York Is Rocking,” “The Backstreet Slide,” and “New York at Night” the new Pope of Greenwich Village is more than alive and well.

Song of the Day: The Lickerish Quartet – Lighthouse Spaceship

The S.F. Glam-Psych band Jellyfish crashed and burned after two highly excellent albums, Bellybutton, and Spilt Milk. Now, three members of the band, Eric Dover, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Tim Smith have reunited to form The Lickerish Quartet. Her, the first single from their upcoming record, we are treated to elements of the original band along with an Essence of Queen, ELO, and Cheap Trick.