Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 10/25/11

As we usually do every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Tuesday’s album is #463:

The Shivvers – Lost Hits From Milwaukee’s First Family Of Powerpop 1979-82

Every day, there seems to be yet another rediscovery of a great band from decades ago that never “made it,” at least in the old mass-media sense. And more and more frequently,it’s becoming clear that those “unknown” bands were usually way better than what was on the radio at the time. This 2006 reissue includes most of this extraordinary group’s studio recordings as well as a surprisingly snarling, intense live set. In the studio, keyboardist/frontwoman Jill Kossoris’ vocals were quirky and detached, notably on the closest thing they had to a radio hit, the chirpy but cynical anticonformist anthem Teenline. But live, she was a powerhouse, most notably on the second version of You’re So Sure here, which sounds like the early Go Go’s. There’s also No Substitute, like the Raspberries with a girl singer; the scurrying new wavey/Beatlesque Please Stand By; the rich, ELO-inflected Remember Tonight; the punchy garage pop of My Association (“There’s a place I can go where I don’t have to be an outcast”); the George Harrison-esque Hold On; the absolutely gorgeous Life Without You; the Orbisonesque Nashville noir of It Hurts Too Much and Blue in Heaven, their offhandedly attempt at a big artsy (6 minute) synth/guitar anthem…sung by a dead girl! The whole thing is streaming at yucky myspace; here’s a random torrent.

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October 25, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pleasure Kills Are Pure Pleasure

Bay area rockers the Pleasure Kills’ new punk-pop album Bring Me a Match is a time warp from the days before autotune, before nonsense syllables replaced real lyrics in radio pop songwriting. There’s not a single bad song here. The tunes are irresistibly catchy and pack a punch, their signature sound blending distorted, melodic punk guitar with swooshy organ. The wounded wail of Lydiot, their frontwoman, has a regret-tinged phrasing like the Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle except that she sings on key. At their best they evoke Angie Pepper’s legendary Australian proto-punk band the Passengers.

The opening cut Dancing on My Bed is a Ramones-style stomp with sweeping synth – “I’m stomping on my phone, I wanna be alone,” Lydiot insists: she may be all by herself, but she’s damned if she won’t have fun anyway. The title track is sort of Blondie gone punk; I Want You isn’t the Dylan hit, but a riff-rocking garage-punk song with some perfectly nasty Scott Asheton-style rolls on the drums. The strongest, and most original song here, is Hearts Run Out, with its wicked, catchy, growling guitar hook. Everything Lydiot sees reminds her of something from a dead affair: “I can never go home.” It wouldn’t be out of place on an album by legendary Milwaukee powerpop band the Shivvers.

Another standout cut is Modern Problems – with its snaky organ lines and ruthless pummelling drive, it’s like Radio Birdman at their most pop. Heartbreak in Space is a candy-coated punk-pump smash; Victoria isn’t a cover of the Kinks classic, but instead a jagged early 80s punk/new wave song and an insanely catchy chorus hook that fades out. They go back to the Radio Birdman pop, if not quite as intensely, with Ammunition, followed by the casually snide Bag of Bones, which bears some resemblance to post-X bands like Spanking Charlene. The album closes with And Me, nicking the intro from Agent Orange’s Living in Darkness, then launching into into an unstoppable punk/pop stomp with a surprise cold ending. It’s not an insult to say that if this had been released thirty years ago, an entire subculture would now regard it as a cult classic. Play it loud. San Francisco fans can catch the Pleasure Kills’ next show at Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk St. between Post and Sutter with Paul Collins’ Beat on 9/25 at 9.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 4/27/09

We do this every Tuesday. You’ll see this week’s #1 song on our Best 100 songs of 2009 list at the end of December, along with maybe some of the rest of these too. This is strictly for fun – it’s Lucid Culture’s tribute to Kasey Kasem and a way to spread the word about some of the great music out there that’s too edgy for the corporate media and their imitators in the blogosphere. This week every link here will take you to each individual song.

 

1. Kerry Kennedy – More from the Mountain

Gorgeous reverb-drenched Nashville gothic with a psychedelic guitar edge. She’s at Zebulon on 5/4 at 9 with her band.

 

2. Itamar Ziegler – On Hold

Noir instrumental with more than a tinge of Big Lazy, with a balalaika – it builds marvelously.

 

3. Hard Bargain – Sitting on a Time Bomb

Oldschool Memphis style soul with tasteful horns, guitar, rhythm section and a real bonafide soul singer plus nice slide guitar solo! They’re at Ace of Clubs on 5/6 at 8.

 

4. The Shivvers – Remember Tonight

Not a new song but a new discovery! Gloriously jangly ELO-style powerpop from Milwaukee, 1979, Jill Kossoris’ sweet voice and incisive piano out front. Jim Eannelli would go on to lead guitar glory in Absinthe.

 

5. Diane Moser’s Composer’s Big Band – Triple Blues

Big, swinging, and Mingus-esque! Her quintet is at Galapagos at 2 PM on 5/2.

 

6. Scott Holt – How Do We Sleep

Buddy Guy blues guitar protege: Hendrix-style groove, soulful thoughtful lyrics. At Ace of Clubs on 5/6 at 9.

 

7. Brother Joscephus – Can’t Help Myself

Gorgeous old-school soul from this 13-piece band with horns, piano, organ and an impassioned vocal. They begin a May Wednesday residency at 7 PM at Sequoia, 89 South Street, Pier 17.

 

8. Jeanne Marie Boes – One Misstep

Noir cabaret: does anybody remember Gate 18? “One misstep begets one hell of a slow burn.” She’s at LIC Bar on 5/17 at 7.

 

9. Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat – I Hate Cabaret

Self-explanatory and hilarious.

 

10. Meta & the Cornerstones – Time to Fight

Smart, conscious African roots reggae

 

April 28, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment