Band Recommendation: Model Zero

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We all know that Memphis, Tennessee has/had the greatest bands. STAX. Goner Records, Jay Reatard, The Oblivians, NOTS, The Barbaras, Girls of the Gravitron, Yesse Yavis. I’m forgetting a lot. I know, I’m sorry. So what about the contemporary group called Model Zero?  Dang, I don’t even know if they’re around anymore. First and last I heard of them (until now) was at Gonerfest, outside of Memphis Made. Their stuff clicked with me – drum machine + real drummer, a variety of dance punk, but like if Giorgio Murderer was less bare bones and got funky on us. I remember hearing “Japanese Death Poem” live and being like “yup, I’m in.” Except it was one and done. Until I decided to do an ole search. An ole Googling of “Model Zero Bandcamp,” because I was craving for more of this group. They had to have recorded something right?

And look at this. https://modelzero.bandcamp.com/releases

That’s a four song tape with my favorite damn one on there. If the members of this group catch wind of this post, please keep doing what you’re doing. I’m not a freaking barometer of what is cool and in fact I hope the opposite, but let me tell you that you’re one of the most exciting groups going right now and that is based on very limited, limited information.

Cheers

Check Out Cody P’s new “Hapless Podcast”

Our bud Cody – who you may know from the excellent local rock ‘n roll groups Future Spa and Tiki Twins or maybe from those funky, memorable flyers he has kindly designed over the years – has started his own podcast up and IT IS ACE. It is called The Hapless Podcast , currently streaming on Soundcloud.

For one, I love learning about new music, old music, any kind of rock ‘n roll that twists and turns, is noisy and harsh, etc, etc. I can’t say I ever had heard of the first two bands that he played on the show, but this is the thrill of having an awesome curator. Showing the appreciators some things. That’s right!

Ryan Major and the Love Strangers

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It has a nice ring to it. One of our favorite local musicians – Ryan Major (you may have seen him singing and slinging guitar for our beloved Barbazons (RIP)) is fronting his own group these days and they are called the Love Strangers. Dude knows his history of rock ‘n roll and pens catchy numbers. The Love Strangers feature familiar players such as Travis Hagan (drums), Rob Sutherland (bass/vocals, and Scott Jones (guitar). They recorded with Caufield Schnug (Minidresses) and the result is this fun AF debut Strange Lovers. Mister Major, who I often visually liken to Lee Hazelwood and Jared Swilley, has taken a deeper dive into the world of country, more so than ever before. There were hints like ‘Two Whiskeys’ from the last Barbs album, but this EP goes further into that realm. What a realm.

I plug the cellie into some nice speakers, blast this, pick up an instrument or go behind the kit, and I’m off. Possibly the hallmark of a pop song is being able to joyfully anticipate what is to come. I feel that listening to this and for that, let me reiterate these are all remarkably well written and performed. There is plenty of grit and for lack of a better word, sleaze. Boozy, sing-a-long, is this Boston or North Carolina? Johnny Thunders. Speaking of which, there are plenty of clippityclank solos and reverby axe hijinx, in case you are wondering.

If I can choose anyone to deliver mythical rock ‘n roll odes to the road, women, and beer, I am choosin Ryan Major and the Love Strangers. Cheers.

 

New Single From The Gabba Ghouls!

Connecticut’s actually the whole world’s superstar garage punk Italio-American Halloween theme band The Gabba Ghouls are back – of course, it’s Halloween in a few short days – this time with a new single I Want Your Blood / Rot in Candy.

Featuring members of rock n roll slingers Jacques Le Coque, The Gabba Ghouls released their self-titled debut album a year ago. No doubt you can head to their Bandcamp and play it. Recommended as background music for Halloween parties, passing out the candy to trick-or-treaters, and spaghetti.

HOLD ON though – if you happen to be in New York on Thursday (October 30) and Halloween (October 3rd…31st dumby), The Gabba Ghouls are playing at Don Pedro’s in Brooklyn.

Get at their FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheGabbaGhouls?ref=br_tf

Solo Doings: Mavis The Dog

Mavis The Dog has created his own universe of music. The sort of universe that I’m speaking about can be detected on some real spectacular records of the past few years like Girls of the Gravitron’s Magnetic Mountain and The Electric Bunnies Through The Magical Door and it is one of those ‘I know it when I hear it’ experiences that transports you into a modernly bucolic listening environment. The creative freedom pursued by the masterminds of these records definitely transcends what we might easily define as rock ‘n roll, punk, garage, folk, or anything like that. The ‘outsider’ MO, which is so thoughtfully made digestible by Irwin Chusid’s Songs in the Key of Z (highly recommended reading!), begins and ends with making satisfying music to your own ears.

Mavis The Dog from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is responsible for three and a half album’s worth of original material that was self-released digitally and on tape between April 2011 and March 2012. Mavis, whose internet presence is currently limited to his blog on which you can freely download every MTD album, has not released any new songs since, but that does not mean that this home studio solo phenom hasn’t been at work transmitting his headspace into bouncy, dreamy, psychedelic rock ‘n roll. He’s got a new batch of songs all set, he’s just ironing out some others in the mean time. I first found out about Mavis through DJ Boots Lobelle’s Don’t Paint Your Teeth WVKR radio show. Boots Lobelle’s programming pairs older outsider/DIY classics like Daniel Johnston and Jad Fair with newer artists whose approaches are just as bizarre and brilliant. After hearing Mavis played, I was able to track down his blog along with other websites that featured his music from a couple of years ago. I was instantly hooked and my fascination hasn’t faded. Mavis has been my car ride to work CD for some time now. My playlist is a personalized Best-Of that pulls tunes from all of his albums, but definitely takes a majority from The Second Album.

“The Beach Boys have a great lyric, “sometimes I feel very sad” which repeats and is sung over a happy sounding progression.  That contrast creates an emotion that is neither sad or happy and I can only relate it to the feeling of nostalgia. But it’s not nostalgia.  It’s something else that’s completely new.  And even though the lyric itself is totally simple and childlike, when it’s combined with the incredible melody it becomes impactful.  That’s the feeling I’m trying to get” is what Mavis tells me in a kind email correspondence. Of course I was curious enough to hear from Mavis himself. I really feel what he means and the way I think of it is that Mavis’ music reflects euphoric old memories, although often with contemporary anxieties and frustrations. In my mind, it is the positively radiant melodies and rhythms that take favor, claiming responsibility for the beauty and landscape of the MTD universe. The house might be dirty on the inside, but it sure looks fine from above.

Mavis The Dog has a sense of humor about things – “Should I go fishing with the Governor’s child? Should I kiss her when she doesn’t smile? Or should I leave her and forget!” (From “Nothing To Do” on The Dog Days of Mavis).  Any number of his lyrics contain plenty of lines that seem specific to Mavis, but sound about right to any music maker: “I’ll be at the basement, lady, writing up a new one, lady, I’m not hoping someday you will say,’I love you too, yes I do, yes I do’. (From “Throw Me A Stone” on The Second Album“). Armed with instrumentation and a simple style a la Johnston and White Fencian experimental production flourishes, Mavis The Dog says this about his songwriting: “The good songs write themselves.  After that it’s just layering and embellishing which is the most fun part for me.  That’s usually the step where the genre is determined.”

The Philly native cut his teeth in The Eeries (a superb DIY garage/pop band that put out an LP Home Alone on Evil Weevil earlier this decade) before going Mavis, bringing back the memories. Sleepy, whisper, haunts. Old girls. Then there’s some tunes that I don’t know how I missed the few times around that dodge the familiar: “$$$” stands on its own two with bass, voice, and some ambient instrumental effects. It’s not complete Mavis – it’s a diversion from the familiar song format. Bouncing a long, confidently directionless. But as far as that universe thing that I mentioned up top, the entire catalog is strongly steeped in one man’s chronicle. Yeah, you, go for it.

Mavis The Dog’s Bloghttp://mavisthedog.blogspot.com/

Review: Ravi Shavi – “Ravi Shavi”

Band: Ravi Shavi
Release: 2013

1. Indecisions
2. Bloody Opus
3. Hobbies
4. Accidental
5. Local News
6. Amphetamine
7. Old Man
8. Problems
9. Critters
10. Vacation Holiday

Comments: The first time I saw Ravi Shavi (Firehouse 13, November 10, 2012) , I was blown away by the Providence band’s energy and pop sensibility. It wasn’t really ‘garage,’ not quite ‘punk’ or traditional ‘power-pop’; just poppy rock ‘n roll. Well after seeing them a couple of times more, I was thoroughly convinced of their talent. Rafay Rashid, the group’s main vocalist and guitarist, is like a King Khan kind of figure, very infectious and engaging. His vocal assault varies as much as Ravi Shavi’s rock ‘n roll stylings. Some times like on “Bloody Opus” and “Hobbies,” there is some Brit in him…at least it seems. “Hobbies” particularly shimmers with some oldies charm until transitioning into an unexpected Lovely Feathers sorta charge. That’s one of my favorite specific moments of the album definitely, but there’s that kind of fun running all throughout. When there’s the familiar repetition of verses and choruses as on “Accidental,” the listen never ends up tiring or monotonous even as there are more sticky transitions and repetitions. Getting back to vocals again – “Local News” is a tidy example of a long list of dynamics. After the what you’d expect from a song called AMPHETAMINE, the crash sets in and no no I don’t mean a bad crash or anything. Just a slower, Hamilton Leithauser just stole your mic and Matt Barrick conveniently got behind the kit, deal. That sorta early ’00s NYC reverby guitars and (all time period) hollering continues on through “Problems,” and “Critters” has some instrumentation/technique not previously as apparent…until now. Closing tune “Vacation Holiday” is pure pop dynamite. This one takes its time and sends me off reminiscing of everything Ravi Shavi did right in the making of this record. Good work.

klyamrecommended

Great Times, Good Oldies @ Foodmaster

It is sad to see Johnnie’s Foodmaster close. The Boston area supermarket chain was my first work place beginning shortly after I turned 15 and ending yesterday. I didn’t know it then, but those first days and months would eventually go on to help shape my musical tastes. ‘Oldies’ never meant much, until I began hearing them every weekend I worked for hours at a time. The average customer might spend an hour at the most in the store, but the worker dwells far longer and develops either an aversion, interest, or nonchalance about the musical situation. I developed an interest early, but it’s been within the last two years that I’ve found myself really appreciating the old stuff, the Maltshop Memories, the doo-wop, the R&B, the garage. It is more than likely that the artists and bands that are constantly posted about on this very site are/were fascinated by the following half-century old gems. This post can serve as a reminder of the great music that crossed Foodmaster airwaves and made it a trademark of the shopping experience for customers and employees alike. I compiled this list in the dull moments of my final shift:

Patsy Cline – “You Belong To Me” (LINK)
The Hollies – “Pay You Back With Interest” (LINK)
The Orlons – “Wah-Watusi” (LINK)
The Beatles – “I Feel Fine” (LINK)
Peter and Gordon – “I Go To Pieces” (LINK)
The Hollywood Flames – “Buzz Buzz Buzz” (LINK)
Jerry Lee Lewis – “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” (LINK)
Sam Cooke – “Wonderful World” (LINK)
Elvis Presley – “Suspicious Minds” (LINK)
The Marvelettes – “Please Mr. Postman” (LINK)
Jay and the Techniques – “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” (LINK)
Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas – “Bad To Me” (LINK)
The Beach Boys – “California Girls” (LINK)
Tommy James & Shondells – “Hanky Panky” (LINK)
The Searchers – “Needles and Pins” (LINK)
Dion & The Delsatins – “Lovers Who Wander” (LINK)
The Coasters – “Yakety Yak” (LINK)
Bobby Rydell – “Wild One” (LINK)
Petula Clark – “A Sign Of The Times” (LINK)
Tommy Roe – “Sweet Pea” (LINK)
Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs – “Stay” (LINK)
The Shirelles – “Dedicated To The One I Love” (LINK)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” (LINK)
Four Tops – “It’s The Same Old Song” (LINK)
Randy & The Rainbows – “Denise” (LINK)
The Impalas – “Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home)” (LINK)
The Box Tops – “Soul Deep” (LINK)
The Turtles – “You Baby” (LINK)
The Supremes – “Baby Love” (LINK)
Johnny Kidd & The Pirates – “Shakin’ All Over” (LINK)
Righteous Brothers – “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” (LINK)
The Human Beinz – “Nobody But Me” (LINK)
Mickey & Sylvia – “Love Is Strange” (LINK)