Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 9/20/10

Every day our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Monday’s album is #862:

The Lyres – Those Lyres

Along with their New York counterparts the Fleshtones, Boston rockers the Lyres were the best of the second-wave garage bands of the 80s and 90s. Their live shows could never match the Fleshtones for manic intensity, but several of their studio albums are worth owning, particularly the first two, the self-titled Lyres, from 1983, and its 1986 follow-up Lyres Lyres. This one, released in 1995, combines two surprisingly consistent, first-rate live sets, the first from an undated show probably sometime in the early 90s in Boston and the second in Oslo in 1993. It doesn’t have the repeater-box guitar effect that made their sound so instantly identifiable in their early 80s prime, but frontman/organist/obsessive record collector Jeff “Mono Mann” Connolly is at the top of his game and so is this version of the band. As much as the Lyres were a consummate party band, they could also be surprisingly dark, and this has most of their best songs: two versions of the poignant Baby It’s Me; the snarling, chromatically charged Stay Away; the equally fiery Jezebel and How Do You Know; their iconic cover of the Alarm Clocks’ No Reason to Complain; a careening version of their biggest hit, Help You Ann, and a straight-up 4/4 take of their second-biggest one, She Pays the Rent. Connolly was as erratic a bandleader as a frontman; he went through almost as many band members as James Brown, the one longtime standby being bassist Rick Coraccio, who’s on this album. By the early zeros, the band was basically done; Connolly toured a couple of years ago with a regrouped version of his mid-70s band, the Stooges-inspired DMZ. Maybe because of the title, a search for torrents didn’t turn up anything; the cd is still in print from Norton.

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September 20, 2010 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 7/19/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Sunday’s song is #374:

The Lyres – The Only Thing

Uncharacteristically complex, anguished, completely noir 60s pop anthem with remarkably eerie Vox organ by the otherwise hellraising Boston second-wave garage revivalists. From Lyres Lyres, 1987; the link above is a torrent of the album.

July 19, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review: Thee Minks at Magnetic Field, Brooklyn NY 8/3/07

Thee Minks are the kind of band that you see and you say, mmm-hmmm, good. If you’ve had a few drinks, YOU FUCKING LOVE THEM. Hope Diamond, their guitarist, turns her amp up so loud she doesn’t even use a pick. All she has to do is brush the strings of her Gibson SG to get the most evil, distorted, overtone-laden tone you can imagine. Liz Lixx, the bass player, is still pretty primitive, but she has good ideas and you know that if she sticks with it she’ll be fine. And she has a cool bass, a beautiful black-and-white Gretsch Les Paul copy. The drummer, who goes by the name of the Playthang, is excellent, and the band rewarded him by giving him an amusing vocal cameo toward the end of the show.

The Philadelphia band’s best songs came toward the end of the set. They’d started out pretty much by-the-book garage/punk, nothing you haven’t heard before if that’s your music, if the 13th Floor Elevators, MC5, Kinks, Lyres or Mooney Suzuki are your thing. Their website says they bear some resemblance to Radio Birdman, but that wasn’t particularly apparent. About halfway through the set things suddenly got a lot more interesting: more melodies, unexpected chord changes and a lot more imaginative stuff coming out of the bass. The songs’ subject matter seems to be limited to drinking and sex – or both – but at least they’re about something, which is more than you can say about 99.999% of the Sonic Youth ripoffs out there. And there’s absolutely nothing trendy, pretentious or affected about this band. They just want to kick. Your. Ass. And then they do it. This was a good party.

Their last numbers included a punked-out cover of Loaded by Judas Priest (it seems that they actually like the song, instead of making fun of it: whatever the case, their version kicks the shit out of the original). And they did a song about their drummer where he got to sing about what kind of crazy animal he is. “I’ll eat your fucking children,” he hollered, before a series of false endings that wound up with him flailing around Spinal Tap style. The crowd loved it. Not that there was much of a crowd: they were an out-of-town band, after all, and since the audience that actually comes out for real rock music in New York continues to be priced out of town, that wasn’t unexpected.

For anybody who misses the Continental, this place is LOUD: even back by the door the volume was still earsplitting. But the mix was excellent: no surprise, since Zach from Ninth House was doing sound.

August 4, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CD Review: The Dirty Novels – Stealing Kisses

Word is that they don’t make kick-ass rock like this anymore – except they do. These raucous, stomping New Mexico garage rock hoodlums pump out a glorious blast of noise that blends the sound of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators with the early Damned, along with plenty of influence from the Stooges, Ramones, Seeds and Lyres, among others.

 

The album’s second song Slow It Down sounds like vintage Elevators, all nasty riffs over a jangly groove. Don’t Fit In (track four) sounds like a Stones song from Aftermath rearranged for one of their post-Blonde on Blonde albums like Between the Buttons. The following cut Candy Can’t Wait is uncharacteristically downbeat and creepy, shades of Steve Wynn at his most retro. Can’t Get Over You (track six) evokes the Damned circa Machine Gun Etiquette with its dark minor chord permutations. Stars Won’t Shine for You (track eight) starts out sounding practically like a dead ringer for the Damned classic Fan Club before taking a short detour down into la-la pop.  My Love Is Electric (track nine) launches on an evil Stoogoid riff, evoking nothing less than the great and recently reunited Radio Birdman. The album concludes with what sounds like a Stooges tribute, the TV Eye riff adapted just enough to beat a copyright suit. And it’s a worthy one: Asheton & co. would probably approve.

 

There are no deep lyrical concepts here, no shades of meaning. All these guys want to do is rock. There isn’t much about this album that’s original but that’s not the point. What the Dirty Novels want to do is kick your ass over and over and they do that exceptionally well. These guys are purists. They really know their stuff and obviously get a lot of pleasure bludgeoning your eardrums. Their live act is everything you would hope for after hearing the album. It all boils down to this: if you love unpretentious, catchy, balls-to-the-wall garage rock that you can get up and dance to, get this album and go see the Dirty Novels when they come to your town. All they need is somebody to hook them up with Little Steven and have them play a couple of his garage-a-thons and they’ll be packing ‘em in at dingy rock clubs from coast to coast. The cd is available online and at shows.

April 23, 2007 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment