Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Album Review: IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance

Joy as an Act of Resistance
***and1/2 out of *****

The English group IDLES second release Joy as an Act of Resistance follows up their breakthrough 2017's Brutalism with a mix of emotions, societal topics and tensions/releases in extremely intriguing fashion. The Bristol five piece (Joe Talbot Adam Devonshire Mark Bowen Lee Kiernan Jon Beavis) take on racism, spiritual emptiness and fury with thoughtful angular songs which veer more towards post-punk and art rock.

Opener "Colossus" is a good example of the band willing to through out the standard punk playbook and experiment. The track begins with a slow burn as lyrics about catholic guilt, and the shadow of the father sun and holy ghost all weigh heavy until the song literally stops. Then, a barnstorming slamming closure drives the number to it's completion. Willingness to break out of the two plus minutes sing a longs separates IDLES from other punk bands.

The album is bookend by experimental sounds as "Rottweiler" plays with loops feedback and builds. "Never Fight A Man With A Perm" goes after toxic masculinity with the rock hard screams of "Concrete to Leather" before the rolling bass and drum led "I'm Scum" plainly states that we don't need a new James Bond. Those bass and drums keep pumping while buzz guitars swarm like hornets on "Danny Nedelko" which clearly spells out how hate takes root and while exuberantly calling for unity and one of the best tracks on the solid album.

"Love Song" deals with modern relationships and carrying a watermelon, which when paired with the groups Solomon Burke cover of "Cry To Me" proves the band are fans of Dirty Dancing but the lighthearted feel is not very prevalent on the record. "June" is an ominous thudding depressing look at one of life's hardest losses, lead singer Joseph Talbot's death of a daughter during childbirth. It is a topic many other bands would never approach, or would do so with fury and anger while IDLES meditate on it in discomfiting fashion successfully.

Father sons and male roles/emotions are dealt with directly again on "Samaritans" which starts dull before a mid song guitar break and a scream of "I kissed a boy and I liked it" propels the song to new social and sonic levels. The main truth of everything IDLES are singing about on this record can be found in "Television" where Talbot spits out the simple but often disregarded mantra "Love yourself, love yourself".

All of the best punk makes you think and Joy as an Act of Resistance joins those ranks, while moving more into wide vistas which sadly punk can be limited to. IDLES are fast making a name as must hear for fans of adventurous rock and roll of any genre.
Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Year In Review 2018- Top Ten Albums Part 1: The Just Misses and Let Downs

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2018 Top Ten Albums Part One: The Just Misses & Let Downs:
In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read it. As always RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20, so expect some overlap.

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but complete releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for RtBE.

Today we are going to focus on the "Just Misses" of our top ten and unfortunately the "Let Downs" released this year. Obviously these are just our personal preferences, feel free to voice your opinion in the comments. Expect installment 2 (#10-6) soon, but for now click on the green "Read More" below:

Monday, December 10, 2018

Dylan Cover #354 The Jeff Healey Band "When Night Comes Falling From The Sky"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by The Jeff Healey Band playing "When Night Comes Falling From the Sky"
Thoughts on Original:
In the fog and haze of 80's Dylan comes one of his most perplexing songs, "When Night Comes Falling From The Sky". The lyrics are some of his best from this period, but holy god of your choice...the production was the cheesiest of his career. Empire Burlesque had a few flops on it, and it is hard not to say this track is one of them, just check out the original video for it.

What saves this song from the scrap heap is the balls out awesome version on the amazing Bootlegs Series 1-3 which was recorded with Steven Van Zandt and Roy Bitton from The E-Street Band. This yet again shows that Dylan could not pick out his best work when it came time to release it officially from the studio sessions. While the Bootleg version isn't perfect, the vocals in particular are recorded low but sung so strongly it is exciting, it makes the listener examine the tune without the "Disco Dylan" cheese playing in their ear. A song which is perfect for interpretation, and one that should probably get a definitive version at some point as it it is one of Dylan true hidden gems. 


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Coming across Jeff Healey for the first time like a lot of people in 1989 cinematic classic Road House, it was clear that Healey had a lot to offer. His focus on interpreting covers during his early run with The Jeff Healey Band is what he is most known for, outside of Road House, and he did justice to all of them. Unfortunately he passed away in 2008, but he left behind a large collection of Jazz, Blues and Rock records.

Thoughts on Cover:
Starting off, this could be a cover of "All Along The Watchtower" but Healey goes deeper and plucks the 80's Dylan out of the fireplace where his letters to you are burning. It is a good, if a bit too sterile of a cover holding pretty close to the original, even complete with background vocalists and conga drums. Healey has time to solo though, placing his excellent sound upfront, and that is the reason to check out his cover of this over looked track.

For December RTBE will be be dipping into some Dylan songs which we have not featured in this series yet and we are over 350 at this point, so look for some deeper cuts coming.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Full Show Friday: Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughn 1983

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn!

Filmed for the In Session television show exactly 35 years ago (from yesterday), two blues legends go to town over the course of an hour and half. Stevie is giddy to be jamming with one of his idols and Albert seems to be having a hell of a time making his guitar sing along with SRV. It should be noted bass player Gus Thornton is laying down a hell of a solid groove throughout as well.

 RtBE highlighted In Session (also from '83) a few months back and in doing so found this gem as well, perhaps we will do a monthly spotlight in the future...for now though, just put it on and let it roll...

Pro shot, Pro sound, enjoy:

Set list 1:17 - Albert King - Born under a bad sign 9:30 - SRV/Larry Davis - Texas flood 29:40 - T-Bone walker - Call it stormy Monday 39:50 - Albert King - Match Box Blues 47:30 - Tampa Red - Don't you lie to me 57:48 - SRV - Pride and Joy 1:03:45 - Ray Charles - I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Album Review: Cremalleras - Mercado Negro

Mercado Negro
*** out of *****

The lo-fi punk duo Cremalleras consists of Violeta and Daniel on guitar and drums respectively and their second full length on the Thrilling Living label is Mercado Negro which has raw sound running through their busted up speakers into your headphones.

The blasting opener "Arruinaremos tu Vida" is a minute of aggression setting the pace before the title track yelps and speeds out of the box with sing along ready chants. The driving "Craneos" features the hardest drumming on the record from Daniel and is also doom laden in comparison to the the other scathing offerings.

"Seres incomprididos" sounds as if a literal buzz saw is playing along with the shouting Violet and "Cuarto sin ventanas" only tones down that buzzing slightly while making industrial punk sound vital. The brief yelps color "Pandemia" which flies at a break neck pace before the slamming "La peste" continues the hyper speed onslaught, tossing in some breakdowns for good measure. Burners "Me decia" and the old school sounding "Fando del vagon" (think "Small Man Big Mouth" from Minor Threat) wrap up the brief torrid album from Cremallares.

All of the songs are super brief slamming with hostility and desperation and fading out before sticking around to long to become stale, the whole album is a little over twelve minutes. While there might not be a ton of music on Mercado Negro, the songs presented are effective and The Monterrey Mexico based duo are a trip of lo-fi punk fit for dirty basement shows and late night riffs.
Support the band, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep video:

Album Review: King Tuff - The Other

King Tuff
The Other
***and 1/2 out of *****

The opening title track of King Tuff's newest album is a bleak mournful meditation on loneliness and spiritual emptiness while searching for "The Other". It starts a transitional album for Kyle Thomas (aka King Tuff) as he evolves from rock and roll party man to wanderer looking for something more, that allusive Other which he feels his songwriting comes from.   

The idea of death and more importantly something else beyond current perception is what Thomas is searching for throughout the record. "Infinite Mile" is a solid snap shot of this as he mixes up lyrics about walking into oblivion, androids, crushing darkness and overloads of information with down home harmonica and an organic groove. "Birds of Paradise" continues this style but in much more cliched lyrical fashion which distracts from the powerful sounding music, while "Psycho Star" goes with depressing lyrics about the futility of man around a laid back 70's funky groove complete with wah-wah and bumping bass for a much better overall result.   

This searching and scanning while dipping into his own world can lead to mixed results but its a journey worth taking with Thomas who played everything minus drums and saxophones on the record which was mixed by Shawn Everett (War on Drugs, Alabama Shakes)

The swagger isn't all gone from Tuff's persona as "Raindrop Blue" has a pulsing groove, electric flourishes and a sexual confidence flowing through it but more indicative of the direction he is taking is found in the tracks "Circuits in the Sand" and "Thru the Cracks". Both of these are swirling mixes of psychedelic pop but whose lyrics are ominous about the fleeting feelings of pleasure in our current digital/disposable society.

Thomas doesn't offer any answers, it seems as if his journey is just beginning but the sounds and songs are a strong new direction for him to travel in. King Tuff joins the list of other artists who have questioned themselves, relationships and the meaning of it all during these depressing few years with The Other; it will be interesting to see where it takes him.   
Support the artist, buy the album stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Album Review: Soy Pablo - boy pablo

Soy Pablo
boy pablo EP
*** out of *****

After going viral with the video for "Everytime" Soy Pablo found instant success and began touring the world as a five piece band. However, the singer/songwriter responsible is the Norway based Pablo Muñoz who writes and records all of the parts for the albums. Now comes the boy pablo EP and it is an engaging slice of dance ready, upbeat indie rock.

The seven songs prove Muñoz has a real ear for pop rock candy as "Feeling Lonely" starts the grooving right off the bat with it's dance ready music over an ode about lost cell phones and love. Lyrically the drama between relationships is the at the heart of his writing and the confusion rears it's head for the short warbling guitar lines of "wtf" while dreaming about his baby propels "t-shirt".

"Sick Feeling" is a swirling mix of retro r&b and modern indie issues while "Losing You" is a standout on the short EP with it's nod to English eighties pop, and soulful grooves, all around a disco sheen; the production and upbeat spirit shines bright.

Never afraid of going for big and dramatic Muñoz swallows and projects a Paul McCartney Wings era vibe on a few tracks here. "Limitado" increases the swells and ooh's and aah's while closer "tkm" strolls through the same fields, getting a bit dragged down by the pomp and circumstance, but manages to rescue things with a great guitar line which swells up half way through and delivers to the finish line.

Muñoz is a true talent who is just starting out and for once it is nice to see something which went viral have substance and quality behind it; Soy Pablo is one to watch. 
Support the artist, buy the record and peep some video below: