Rewind Review: Betty Davis – Nasty Gal (1975)

Funk mistress Betty Davis classic 1976 album Nasty Gal has recently been remastered and re-released.  If you’re looking for a funk record, a make-out record, or a diva record – look no further.  Nasty Gal is a trifecta of all that.

The title track opens the album, and Davis comes out swinging with her proclamation to an ex-lover that she is a nasty gal, and her ex will now miss her freaky self after she leaves him for spreading lies about her.  It’s a fierce vocal performance that instantly lets you know that she wasn’t screwing around in 1976.

As if the opener wasn’t freak enough, the next track is “Talkin’ Trash,” which is all about dirty talk during freaky sex.  “Do whatever you want to do to me.  Be a freak, I don’t care.  Tell me what gets you off,” she sings while an antsy guitar churns behind her.

“Dedicated to the Press” has great slap bass propelling Davis’ takedown on 1976 media.  She feels bad that they can’t understand where she’s coming from or that they won’t join her on the ride.  “You and I” is a lovely jazz ballad about deciding to leave a lover.  “Feelins” has a fast groove that should’ve been the theme to a third Cleopatra Jones film with its “Hey!  Hey!  Hey!” chants and car chase beats.

“F.U.N.K.” has Davis giving shout-outs to Steve Wonder, Tina Turner, Al Green, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Funkadelic, and others.  “Gettin’ Kicked Off, Havin’ Fun” has Davis purring about having a good time and encouraging a lover to not be afraid to get down with her.  The organ and bass work on “Shut Off the Light” is outstanding, and Davis’ vocals are downright intimidating as she pretty much demands a sweaty romp before bed.

The groove on “This Is It” makes you feel like a bad ass, but just know that you will never be half the bad ass Betty Davis and her crew were on this record (or any other time, really).  The album ends with one of her sexiest tunes ever – “The Lone Ranger.”  There’s not much I can write about this song that would do it justice.  I can’t guarantee that this song will get you laid, but I’d say playing it will probably improve your chances by at least fifty percent.  Davis’ voice moves around you like the hands of a masseuse and her band mixes funk and psychedelia to produce an intoxicating brew.  “Is it true that you want to hi ho my silver?” Davis asks.  Yes.  The answer to that is always “Yes.”

This is the album you wish was the soundtrack to your sex life, even if you won’t admit it.

Keep your mind open.

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Smashing Pumpkins announce (almost) reunion U.S. tour for 2018.

Smashing Pumpkins on 5/10/91 in Chicago, Il. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Smashing Pumpkins have had a countdown clock on their website for days now, and it finally ended to reveal a 34-city not-quite-a-reunion tour for 2018.  It’s not a full reunion because front man Billy Corgan and original bassist D’arcy Wretzky have been involved in a public feud via social media regarding Wretzky not being asked to join the tour.

Regardless, Corgan and guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin are soon criss-crossing the U.S.  on the “Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour.”  Tickets go on sale February 23rd, and I suggest not waiting too long to get them.  I’m sure many venues will sell out fast.

July 12 — Glendale, AZ @ Gila River Arena
July 14 — Oklahoma City, OK @ Chesapeake Energy Arena
July 16 — Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Arena
July 17 — Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
July 18 — Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
July 20 — Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
July 21 — Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center
July 22 — Atlanta, GA @ Infinite Energy Arena
July 24 — Miami, FL @ AmericanAirlines Arena
July 25 — Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
July 27 — Baltimore, MD @ Royal Farms Arena
July 28 — Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
July 29 — Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
July 31 — Boston, MA @ TD Garden
August 1 — New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
August 4 — Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena
August 5 — Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena
August 7 — Montreal, QC @ Centre Bell
August 8 — Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
August 11 — Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
August 13 — Chicago, IL @ United Center
August 16 — Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
August 17 – Indianapolis, IN @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse
August 19 — St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
August 20 — Omaha, NE @ CenturyLink Center
August 21 — Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Premier Center
August 24 — Seattle, WA @ KeyArena
August 25 — Portland, OR @ Moda Center
August 27 — Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena
August 28 — Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center
August 30 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum
September 1 — San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena
September 2 — Las Vegas, NV @ T-Mobile Arena
September 4 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Vivint Smart Home Arena
September 5 — Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
September 7 — Boise, ID @ Ford Idaho Center

Keep your mind open.

[No angry social media stuff here, just music news and reviews when you subscribe.]

L7 unleash new single, “I Came Back to Bitch,” and U.S. spring tour dates.

L7, as usual, aren’t screwing around.  Case in point, their new single, “I Came Back to Bitch.”  This will soon be your new favorite song and is already sure to be one of my top ten singles of 2018.

They’ve also announced some spring U.S. tour dates.  Don’t miss them.  They were great when I saw them in Chicago a couple years ago.  They haven’t lost an inch.

04/11 – Boston, MA @ Paradise
04/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
04/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
04/16 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Club
04/18 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
04/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue

Keep your mind open.

[I’ll come back to your e-mail if you subscribe.]

Rewind Review: Lionel Hampton and the Golden Men of Jazz – Just Jazz: Live at the Blue Note (1992)

Take a powerhouse jazz lineup and let them go wild in a legendary club and you get a great record like Just Jazz: Live at the Blue Note by Lionel Hampton and the Golden Men of Jazz.

Hampton was a legend on the vibraphone and his equally famous backing band included bassist Milt Hinton, drummer Grady Tate, trombonist Al Grey, saxophonist James Moody, pianist Hank Jones, flugelhorn player Clark Terry, saxophonist Buddy Tate, and trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison.  According to the liner notes of this album, the average age of the band in 1992 was 72.  They were still killing it and teaching youngsters a way of jazz you rarely hear anymore.

The opener, “Corner Pocket,” is tune originally written for Count Basie and has great back-and-forth fun between Hampton, Grey, and Terry.  The title track was written by Al Grey for the show and the whole band has a blast on it.  Everyone gets their turn in the spotlight and Moody especially cooks with a great solo.

Tate sings lead vocals on “Body and Soul” while Hampton and Jones stroll along beside him with their respective instruments.  “God Bless the Child” is an instrumental cover of the Billie Holiday classic with Hampton taking lead on it like the grooviest tour guide you’ve ever met.

“Ring Dem Bells” (originally a Duke Ellington song) is great fun as Hampton encourages each band member to shred a solo.  Edison rips it and Jones’ solo is so good that it almost sounds like he’s goofing throughout it.  The album ends with “Flyin’ Home” (apparently a favorite of Hampton’s to close a show) and has fabulous saxophone work throughout it and Hampton having a blast and laughing through parts of his solo.

This is a great jazz record, live or otherwise, and a worthy addition to your jazz collection (or any collection, really).

Keep your mind open.

[Just subscribe.  You’ll feel better.]

Good rest to you, David James – a local Irish music legend.

Many of you might not know who David James was, but I’ll try to sum up his amazing life in a blog post.

David James was well-known in the South Bend / Mishawaka (“Michiana”) area as a legend in the Irish music scene.  He pretty much put South Bend on the map as a hotspot for Irish music, and he wasn’t even Irish.  He loved the music, promoting it, and most of all playing it.  He played banjo, fiddle, bass, harmonica, and probably half a dozen other instruments I’ve forgotten about as I write this.  He was best known, however, for his mastery of the hammer dulcimer.  David won multiple prestigious awards at Irish music festivals for his dulcimer skills.

He was a Notre Dame graduate with a degree in political science and he remained an avid advocate for social justice all through his life.  He championed workers’ rights, LGBTQ and racial equality measures, education reform, and many other causes that sought to help the underdog.

The way David affected my life was that he co-founded Nocturne – the WSND program for which I DJ in the summer and winter – in 1968.  David worked at WSND as the host of “Celtic Traditions” for many years, broadcasting Celtic music all over the world.  He would often be there when I showed up for my Nocturne shows and tell me stories of playing grimy blues clubs with blues legends, Irish music festivals with hardcore hippies, and being in the middle of the politically charged 1960’s.

He was a lover of all kinds of music and often asked me about the music I spun on my show.  He’d hang out for the first couple tunes I’d play while we chatted and sometimes stop in mid-conversation and ask, “Who is this?”  I introduced him to Ancient River when I played one of their tunes and he said, “Sounds like someone’s been listening to a lot of Doors.”  I also turned him on to Gary Wilson and Earthless one of the last times I saw him over the summer of 2017.

I’ll always think of him when I spin at WSND now, and I wish he could’ve seen the new station once the construction is done.  I’m sure his spirit will slide into the booth now and then when he’s not kicking back a ghostly pint at the Fiddler’s Hearth in South Bend.  I plan to play a tribute to him this summer on WSND with lots of psychedelic rock, blues, and his own music.

Oh yeah, as if his local legacy, national tours with multiple bands, and international awards weren’t enough, he released two albums – Tiompan Alley in 1992 and The Lone Man’s Path a decade later.

Good rest to you, sir.

Keep your mind open.

 

The Damned’s “Evil Spirits tour” has begun, and their new album is out April 13th!

THE DAMNED ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM ‘EVIL SPIRITS’ TO BE RELEASED APRIL 13th VIA SEARCH AND DESTROY/SPINEFARM RECORDS
LISTEN TO NEW SINGLE ‘STANDING ON THE EDGE OF TOMORROW’ ON SPOTIFY

Photo: Steve Gullick
Formed in 1976 at the forefront of the fledgling London punk scene, The Damned kickstarted the birth of punk as we know it, leaving an influential legacy for generations to come. Their musical journey has seen the quintet intent on moving forward, courageously exploring sights and sounds way beyond their brash wide-eyed beginnings – and they’re back to do it all over again.
Some ten years since the release of their last studio recordings, The Damned return with a new album, ‘Evil Spirits’, to be released April 13th on Search And Destroy/Spinefarm Records, preceded by the new single ‘Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow’, streaming online today ahead of their forthcoming Evil Spirits UK tour starting January 26th.
Propelled by an enormously successful Pledge funding campaign, the band headed to Atomic Sound Studios in Brooklyn in early October 2017 and began a frantic, high-energy, nine day burst of creativity with famed producer Tony Visconti, whose list of past working-relationships reads like a who’s who of popular music. (David Bowie, T Rex, Morrissey, U2, The Stranglers, Iggy Pop and Thin Lizzy to name but a few), Reunited with former bassist Paul Gray (who played on the legendary ‘Black Album’ and ‘Strawberries’ in the early eighties), the renewed line up took full advantage of the studio’s classic Neve recording desk, valve gear and vintage equipment to form the new record.
“We deliberately recorded the album retro style,” explains guitarist Captain Sensible.The same way our debut album was made, basically. There’s something wonderful about the seventies sounds; glam, rock and punk records, they all sound so great and Tony specializes in beautifully crafted old school production. He had us all playing live, bashing it out in the same room with a focus on getting the initial band version of each song as close as possible to the finished thing.“
The first taste of ‘Evil Spirits’ comes in the form of ‘Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow’, a song penned by frontman Dave Vanian, that packs a punch and carries a melody that is impossibly hard to shift once heard.
It’s supposed to be very optimistic, even though it’s about a dark subject,” states Vanian.As an artist, you can’t help but reflect the times, because that’s what art does. I think we always do it, but in a slightly different way. So a song like ‘Standing…’ may seem quite joyous and uplifting musically, but some of the lyrics might be about quite dark things. That’s what I’d like to think this album is – an uplifting album, not a moaning old album – not ‘this is terrible, and that’s terrible’, and then not offering any answers. It’s more a case of, ‘If we get it together, maybe we could change things a bit”.
Across the album’s ten-tracks, The Damned get to the root of their collective song-writing and ‘Evil Spirits’ is an album which doesn’t shrink from opposing the dastardly political forces at work in 2018, and indeed triumphs in seeking higher ground, to progress beyond them.
“This album is filled with a lot of influences from our earlier, pre-’70s tastes – the ’60s stuff. ‘Standing…’ is really linked into Joe Meek, ‘Telstar’, and that kind of stuff,” continues Vanian. At first, I’d said in an interview before we started writing this stuff that the album would be psychedelic, and maybe a trip through the historical side of The Damned, as in what we like. It didn’t happen in the way I thought it would, but it still does the same thing. It still has all that in there, but it’s not as obvious as it could’ve been, which is good. It’s not like pastiches of songs you remember, it’s more a case of, what was great about something you loved as a kid has somehow influenced a guitar sound, or the way the drums are. You might not even know it if you’re one of our younger fans, but if you’re a little older, you’ll hear it, which is kinda cool.”
And of the ‘Evil Spirits’ that the album intends to dispel?  “I started buying records in 1967, the Summer of Love,” adds Captain Sensible. “There were so many positive changes happening through the 60s and 70s; civil rights, feminism, the anti-nuclear demos in particular. Whatever happened to all that? Where are today’s anti-war marches? Whatever happened to the beautiful hippy dream of worldwide peace and love?”
Evil Spirits will be available on digital download via Spotify and i-Tunes, on CD and 180g vinyl available to pre-order HERE

TRACKLISTING: 
1. Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow
2. Devil In Disguise
3. We’re So Nice
4. Look Left
5. Evil Spirits
6. Shadow Evocation
7. Sonar Deceit
8. Procrastination
9. Daily Liar
10. I Don’t Care
Catch the band on tour this January and February. Main support comes from fabled Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom (*except Koko), whilst support at Koko and The Forum comes from Kristeen Young.
See The Damned on their ‘Evil Spirits’ tour 2018
27th January – Dundee, Caird Hall
28th January – Glasgow, O2 Academy
30th January – Leeds, O2 Academy Leeds
31st January – Manchester, Academy 1
1st February – Birmingham, O2 Academy
3rd February – Leicester, O2 Academy
4th February – Nottingham, Rock City
6th February – Folkestone, Leas Cliff Hall
7th February – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
9th February – Cardiff, Great Hall
10th February – Bristol O2, Academy Bristol
11th February – Bournemouth, O2 Academy
13th February – Southampton, O2 Guildhall
14th February – Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
16th February – Koko, London*
17th February London, O2 Forum
Tickets available HERE
Follow The Damned at:
Keep your mind open.
[No evil spirits will visit if you subscribe…I think.]

Five David Bowie albums due out February 23rd individually on vinyl for the first time since 1991.

All five David Bowie albums released in last year’s A New Career in Town box set are being released individually on February 23, 2018 for the first time on vinyl since 1991. The albums include all of Bowie’s iconic “Berlin” trilogy – LowHeroes, and Lodger, as well as Scary Monsters and the live album Stage.

Don’t miss out if you’re a vinyl collector, Bowie fan, or both.

Keep your mind open.

[Don’t forget to subscribe before you go.]

RIDE release “Catch You Dreaming” from upcoming EP.

Shoegaze rock legends RIDE, fresh off the success of their excellent return album The Weather Diaries, are already preparing a new EP, Tomorrow’s Shore, due out this February 16th.  The newest single from it, “Catch You Dreaming,” is out now and mixes dreamy riffs with their uplifting lyrics.  2018 is already setting up to be a good year for shoegaze.

Keep your mind open.

[I often catch myself dreaming of you subscribing.]

Terminal Mind – Recordings

Austin, Texas punk / no wave legends Terminal Mind only blazed through the Austin scene for three years (1978 – 1981), but they are back with a powerful release of rare cuts from their short time together.  Recordings collects a rare four-song 7″, live cuts, and unreleased studio tracks.  It’s a solid collection and already in the running for best reissue of 2018.

Opening with the skronky, bold “I Want to Die Young,” the band’s powerhook guitars are put front and center right away.  “I see life as a TV at midnight, nothing but static and outdated reruns,” Steve Marsh sings as he dreams of becoming something better than he is now before he gets old and waits for a heart attack.

“Refugee” has Marsh continuing his themes of alienation as he sings, “In a war, there are winners and losers.  I’m in-between.”  The post-punk attitude of “Sense of Rhythm” is sharp as a hatchet (and so is the drumming).  “Zombieland” sounds like an early Devo cut as Marsh sings about the joys of “living in negative space” and ignoring the suffering and injustice around you.  The guitars on it devolve into a wild cacophony that almost sounds like air raid sirens by the end.

“Obsessed with Crime” has a raw energy not unlike something you’d hear from the Stooges.  Terminal Mind once opened for them, so the influence shouldn’t surprise anyone.  The guitars and bass on “Fear in the Future” are downright dangerous.  Marsh growls “Time is a trigger, I hold it in my hand.  I point it at the future.  I think you understand.”

The live tracks begin with the snappy “Radioactive,” in which Marsh sings about hoping to have super powers so he can survive a nuclear war and watch everything burn around him.  The equally speedy “Bridges Are for Burning” follows it.

“No one wants to know the meaning of life anymore,” Marsh sings on the angry “(I Give Up on) Human Rights.”  “Black” is like Joy Division if they decided to speed up the beats and crank up the distortion.  You can almost feeling the audience grooving during “Missing Pieces.”  The keyboards on “Bureaucracy” slather the song in a glorious, distorted noise that ends the album on a high, post-punk note.

Three years was too short for a band this good, but at least we have this reissue to remember Terminal Mind.  Let’s hope for some new material in the future.  I’d love to hear their take on modern times.

Keep your mind open.

[I don’t want you to die young.  I just want you to subscribe.]

Austin punk legends Terminal Mind release first single from upcoming retrospective album “Recordings.”

Terminal Mind premiere track from forthcoming retrospective Recordings
Extremely rare collectors’ fave 7″, Live at Raul’s compilation cuts and unreleased studio & live tracks from Austin first wave punk trio
Hear & share “Refugee” (Soundcloud) (Austin Chronicle)
Photo_ Ken Hoge
“Grayscale art-rock with punk desperation channeled through instrumental and songwriting legitimacy…Terminal Mind remains an act locals still celebrate despite a short lifespan and being under-recorded.” — Austin Chronicle
First-wave Austin, TX punk trio Terminal Mind premiere the first track from their forthcoming retrospective album today via Austin Chronicle. Recordings collects the short lived band’s 4-song 7″ (which fetches upwards of $100 on eBay), Live At Raul‘s compilation cuts and outstanding unreleased studio and live recordings. Hear and share “Refugee” HERE. (Direct Soundcloud.)
 
Terminal Mind, formed in 1978, was one of the early first-wave punk acts in Austin, TX. Based far from the urban roots of a genre in its earliest stages, the band absorbed influences as disparate as Pere Ubu, Roxy Music, John Cale, and Wire. The life span was short, but their influence touched many of the next generation of Texas noise and hardcore acts as they shared bills with fellow proto-punks The Huns and Standing Waves at Raul’s, The Big Boys on the UT campus, and even opened for Iggy Pop at the Armadillo World Headquarters.
Founding members Steve Marsh and the Murray Brothers, Doug and Greg, started as a trio before adding synthesizer player Jack Crow. Steve Marsh moved to New York with his experimental noise band Miracle Room (before eventually returning to Austin and forming space/psychedelic rock band Evil Triplet and beginning an experimental solo project dubbed Radarcave), while Doug Murary joined the Skunks and Greg Murray played in a later version of The Big Boys. Jack Crow passed away in 1994.
This collection of songs is a journey back to the ‘anything goes’ first steps of American punk as it left the dirty streets of New York and Los Angeles and made its way into the heartland. Like the Austin of 1978, Recordings is a small outpost of musical individualism that planted seeds for the alternative music explosion familiar to later generations.
Recordings will be available on LP, CD and download on January 19th, 2018 via Sonic Surgery Records.
Artist: Terminal Mind
Album: Recordings
Label: Sonic Surgery Records
Release Date: January 19, 2018
01. I Want to Die Young
02. Refugee
03. Sense of Rhythm
04. Zombieland
05. Obsessed With Crime
06. Fear In the Future
07. Radioactive
08. Bridges Are For Burning
09. (I Give Up On) Human Rights
10. Black
11. Missing Pieces
12. Bureaucracy

On The Web: