Rewind Review: David Bowie – Live Santa Monica ’72 (2009)

Recorded live at the Santa Monica auditorium by local station KMET, Live Santa Monica ’72 captures David Bowie at the height of his Ziggy Stardust phase. His band was one of his classic line-ups – Mick Ronson on lead guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass, Mick “Woody” Woodmansey on drums, and Mike Garson on keyboards, and the set list is excellent.

Opening with “Hang On to Yourself,” Bowie and his pals come out rocking. Ronson and Bolder immediately put down riffs to show the audience they mean business. They tear into “Ziggy Stardust” and “Changes” right after, throwing down two tracks you’d figure they’d have in the encore but put on early instead. They’re great reminders of Ronson’s guitar skills. He was at the top of his funky game.

Bowie gets a little obscure, but still wows the crowd, with “The Supermen,” and then delivers a great performance of “Life on Mars?” (while Garson’s piano accompanies him quite well). Woodmansey puts down a slick beat on “Five Years,” and the crowd cheers in appreciation for it and Bowie’s assured vocals.

“Space Oddity” is another crowd favorite, of course, and Bowie uses his voice instead of his guitar to make the sound of Major Tom’s rocket rising from the surface of the Earth into orbit. “Andy Warhol” is a nice inclusion on this recording, as you don’t hear live versions of it much, let alone “My Death” (just Bowie and his guitar), “The Width of a Circle” (Ronson at his rocking best), and “Queen Bitch.”

Bowie introduces “Moonage Daydream” as “a song written by Ziggy,” and the whole band cooks on it. They’re fast and loose with “John, I’m Only Dancing,” and the inclusion of a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man” is a nice treat. “Jean Genie” is wonderfully distorted cock rock. Bowie and his pals are so cheeky by now that Bowie momentarily screws up the lyrics of the closer “Suffragette City,” but he makes up for it during the encore of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.”

It’s a great piece of Bowie history and worth the price if you’re a fan of the Thin White Duke, especially if you like his Ziggy Stardust / “classic” period.

Keep your mind open.

[You’d be a star if you subscribed to us.]


Boss Hog set to release first album in 17 years this March.

Boss Hog in New York City on June 5, 2016.

Noise punks Boss Hog are set to release their first album in 17 years, Brood X, next month.  Fronted by Jon Spencer and his wife Christina Martinez, the band’s original lineup is back together and just wrapped up a European tour.  They only have five U.S. dates slated through spring, so don’t miss them if they’re in your town.

You can hear “17” off the upcoming album at the band’s website.  It’s a welcome return of rock and roll.

Keep your mind open.

Rewind Review: Cream – Fresh Cream (1966)

I decided to explore the four classic albums by Cream (Ginger Baker – drums and vocals, Jack Bruce – bass, harmonica, and vocals, Eric Clapton – guitar and vocals) after hearing one of their many great blues covers not long ago. I found them all in a nice box set at a recent record collector show and decided to dive into some late 60’s stoner-psych blues.

It’s easy to forget that Fresh Cream was a sensation when it was released because Cream was practically a supergroup by the time it hit the stores. All three members had already played in prominent London bands (i.e., The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s bands) and were highly regarded for their skills.

The opener, “I Feel Free,” was an instant classic. It starts with a simple “bum-bum-bum” vocal and handclap rhythm before Baker’s crazy cymbal work, Bruce’s sharp vocals, and Clapton’s wailing guitar take over the song. “N.S.U.” has sizzling guitar work from Clapton, which might relate to the possible sizzling he was feeling in his groin at the time, as one of the rumored meanings of “N.S.U.” is that it stands for “Non-Specific Urethritis” – a venereal disease Clapton may have had back then (or perhaps a motorcycle since one is mentioned in the lyrics).

“Sleepy Time Time” is, most likely, about being high and / or sex afterglow. Baker’s jazz drumming on it is great. He’s known for his grooves and this song is a prime example of them. “Dreaming” could’ve been a 1950’s jukebox love song in another life. “Sweet Wine” has some of Clapton coolest playing on the record. Their cover of Willie Dixon’s blues classic “Spoonful” is a masterpiece and the longest song on the record.

I don’t know what a “Cat’s Squirrel” is, but it’s another bluesy rocker with great harmonica work by Bruce and wicked grooves by Clapton. “Four Until Late” is a Robert Johnson classic, so it’s only right that Clapton does lead vocals on it. Their cover of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” will make you a Cream fan if you’re not by the time you reach the ninth track because they absolutely shred it. This was the song I heard that made me think, “I need to buy some Cream records.”

Cream was also the only band back in 1966 would could get away with covering Skip James’ “I’m So Glad” and have it be such a groovy psych-rocker. “Toad” is pretty much a five-minute and eight-second Ginger Baker drum solo, and that alone is worth a listen on this album.

They call stuff like this “classic rock” for a reason. Fresh Cream blew people’s minds in 1966, and it’s still mind-blowing, heavy, and fresh.

Keep your mind open.

[We roll, tumble, and cry all night long when you don’t subscribe.]


Bleached release first single, “Flipside,” from upcoming EP.




(above image of Bleached by Nicole Anne Robbins)
Los Angeles band Bleached – the punk band lead by sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin — are set to release the “Can You Deal?” EP on March 3rd via Dead Oceans. Recorded quickly in the midst of a break between months of touring, the EP captures the raw energy the band had been experiencing on stage. After sharing the title track “Can You Deal?” which dealt with the band’s frustrations with gender being used to define their music and the reductive habit of referring to them and others as “girl bands,” Bleached now present “Flipside,” one of their best songs to date. Jennifer Clavin describes the song below.

“I was thinking about the relationship we have with an album or a song and how we connect them to what is happening in our lives, like falling in love, being fascinated by a new friend, or some kind of pivotal moment in life corresponding with the record I’m listening to. Once the comedown of that time hits I can’t even listen to that record without thinking about that time or that person. Albums are the soundtrack to our lives, and this song is an ode to the nostalgia certain albums bring.”

As previously announced, Jennifer Clavin is publishing the limited edition “Can You Deal?” Zine, a collection of shared experiences on this subject through essay, visual art, poetry, lyrics and more from artists. An additional 500 copies of the zine will be printed as the first 500 sold out in 4 days! Newly added contributors include JD Samson, Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast), Cassie Ramone (Vivian Girls), Suzy Gardner and Donita Sparks (L7), Shannon Funchess (Light Asylum), Jenny Eliscu, and more. For a full list of contributors, visit All net proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood.

Both the “Can You Deal?” EP and Zine are available for pre-order now. Bleached will tour North America supporting The Damned this spring.

Listen to Bleached’s “Flipside” –

“Can You Deal?” single stream –

Bleached Tour Dates –
Thu. Apr. 6 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
Fri. Apr. 7 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues*
Sat. Apr. 8 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues*
Sun. Apr. 9 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues*
Tue. Apr. 11 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore*
Wed. Apr. 12 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades*
Fri. Apr. 14 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom*
Sat. Apr. 15 – Vancouver, BC @ The Commodore*
Sun. Apr. 16 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox*
Tue. Apr. 18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot*
Wed. Apr. 19 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall*
Fri. Apr. 21 – St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall*
Sat. Apr. 22 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line*
Sun. Apr. 23 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues*
Mon. Apr. 24 – Louisville, KY @ Mercury Lounge*
Wed. Apr. 26 – Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe (Old National Center)*
Thu. Apr. 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s*
Fri. Apr. 28 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues*
Sat. Jul. 29 – New York, NY @ Panorama Music Festival

*w/ The Damned

Pre-order “Can You Deal?” EP –

Pre-order “Can You Deal?” Zine —

[“Can You Deal?” Album art]

[“Can You Deal?” Zine cover art]

Midnight Oil announce first world tour in over 20 years.

How’s this for a bombshell?  Australian rock legends Midnight Oil announced not long ago that they had some big news coming soon.  Most of us figured it would be a new album, but they’ve announced a globe-spanning world tour instead.

The Great Circle tour is going to be a celebration of the band’s work and will start and end in their home country.  The band will play everywhere from Brazil to the Czech Republic in-between those dates, so catch them if you can.  I plan to catch them in Chicago.

Keep your mind open.

Rewind Review: Fountains of Wayne – Traffic and Weather (2007)

Fountains of Wayne (Chris Collingwood – lead vocals, guitar, banjo, Jody Porter – guitar, vocals, Adam Schlesinger – bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals, Brian Young – drums, percussion) are perhaps the most clever songsmiths you might not have heard (or realized you’ve heard, as they’ve had multiple hit songs) and make great rock that salutes the Average Joe and Jane. Traffic and Weather is no exception.

Starting off with “Someone to Love,” the band gives a hopeful ode to those of us who “should be out on the scene” Thursday nights, but are instead “sitting at home watching The King of Queens.” They encourage us not to give up on finding someone to get us out of our funk. “’92 Subaru” is one of the great “Average Joe is actually a bad ass” songs that Fountains of Wayne do so well. It’s about a guy who buys said lame car, but has full confidence he’ll be able to trick it out and score more ass than a plush chair. It also has a nice solo from Jody Porter.

“Yolanda Hayes” is about Collingwood trying to score a date with an Average Jane woman who works a miserable job at the DMV. The title track is a crisp yet crunchy rocker about local news anchors confessing their love and lust for each other on live air. Schlesinger’s weird synths make this track bridge the gap between new wave and power pop.

“Fire in the Canyon” brings in some country music flair, which is no surprise since Collingwood has written songs for country artists. “This Better Be Good” has Collingwood confronting an ex-girlfriend about her choice in a new guy (“I saw you holding hands with some guy wearing light blue Dockers pants, and I thought I might just give you a chance to explain what the hell is in your brain.”). He turns the question back on himself with “Revolving Dora,” in which he confesses he’s smitten with a girl who might be off her rocker. The addition of Schlesinger’s piano is a nice touch to it.

“Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim” is a sweet song about two lovers at the end of a rough trip and realizing that not even such a misadventure and lost baggage can defeat their care for each other. The vocals get synthesized and funny on “Strapped for Cash,” in which Collingwood sings about owing a guy fresh out of prison a large amount of money and failing at every turn to avoid him.

I wouldn’t be surprised if “I-95” was inspired by the band touring the U.S., as a good part of it involves the description of an amazing truck stop, but the song is about a determined lover who will make a nine-hour drive behind a slow-moving van just to see his girl. “The Hotel Majestic” was probably a place the band played while touring, and it’s a catchy song to boot (love those handclaps!). “Planet of Weed” is a fun poke at stoners and probably on thousands of mix tapes in Colorado by now.

“New Routine” is about people crave excitement and not realizing their drudgery might be inspiring others to break out of their own ruts. “Seatbacks and Traytables” is another countrified track about long tours and mistaking one town for another over the course of the long haul.

\You’ll like this record if you like power pop and witty songwriting. Fountains of Wayne are one of those bands that should be in your collection. You’ll wonder what took you so long.

Keep your mind open.

[We’d love it if you subscribed to us.]


Tinariwen – Elwan

The name of Tuareg rock legends Tinariwen’s (The Deserts) stunning new record, Elwan, translates to “the elephants.” It’s a reference not only to the magnificent animals, but also lumbering forms of bureaucracy, the 1%, and world problems that can’t be ignored.

“Tiwayyen” starts off the album with the crisp desert guitar and tribal beats we’ve come to expect and crave from Tinariwen. The beat slowly builds until it drops out like the sun finally dipping below a dune. “Sastanaqqam” (“I Question You”) is the first single off the album (and one about the love of the Tuareg people for the desert) and will hook you right away with the killer beat and chanting vocals. It will rip you out of the water when the guitar kicks in at the 37th second. I knew this album was going to be fantastic when I first heard this song before the full album’s release and that guitar burst out of my speakers.

“Nizzagh Ijbal” almost sounds like a Johnny Cash record at first with the simple guitar work, but the warm desert wind blowing through this track is from Saharan Desert instead of the Sonoran. The opening drums of “Hayati” cry out for you to dance around a fire. “Ittus” is Tuareg blues. Seriously, the guitar work and vocals aren’t much different from a Lightning Hopkins song.

“Tenere Taqqal” is another mellow track with languid relaxing beats, even though the lyrics are anything but mellow.  They speak of a loss of joy, the deaths of innocents for unjust causes, and a lack of solidarity. The opening vocals of “Imidiwan n-akall-in” might put you in a trance. The floating guitar work and the slick beats will if they don’t. “Talyat” will slow you down no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Play this if your morning commute is driving you crazy or you need to reset after a hectic day. “Assawt” gets you moving after the previous track mellows you out for a little bit. Your toes will tap to this, trust me.

“Arhegh ad annagh” is like most of the record – hypnotic. I want this on my iPod if I ever get to stand in the Saharan Desert at sunrise. It flows well into “Nannuflay,” which might be the most psychedelic-sounding track on the album. Elwan ends with “Fog Edaghan,” which feels like a nighttime prayer.

You can get lost in this record. It’s a lovely journey on a search for peace and a connection with things beyond materialism and preconceptions. It is a bridge across nations and cultures. It is a journey you should take.

Keep your mind open.

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


Rewind Review: Sun Voyager – Lazy Daze (2015)

Good grief, Sun Voyager (Kyle Beach – drums, Carlos Francisco – guitar and vocals, Steve Friedman – guitar, Stefan Mersch – bass) doesn’t screw around.

Their sharp EP, Lazy Daze, is a solid bit of stoner / psych rock with killer riffs, heavy drums, and plenty of reverb for reverb lovers like yours truly.

“God Is Dead” kicks off the jams with a cool bass lick from Mersch that only stoner rock bands seem to know how to play. Francisco’s vocals get weird and warped and the drums slow down to near-sludge levels. I don’t know if “Black Angel” is a salute to the band, the Velvet Underground, 1970’s biker movies, or all three, but it sure sounds like a mix of those three and the guitars burn through the whole track.

“Gypsy Hill” mentions “space and time,” which is appropriate because the song has the effect of warping both. I like how Beach’s drums are fairly clear in it while the guitars and bass stay fuzzy. Sun Voyager goes Zen on “Be Here Now,” slowing down the tempo but upping the cosmic feel. The song builds to a near crash at one point, but they rein it in before it breaks. The title track goes from psychedelic rock to stoner sludge about halfway through it and is gloriously distorted and drenched in reverb.

These chaps have released a couple singles since Lazy Daze, so I hope that portends for a new record soon. The world always needs more stoner psych.

Keep your mind open.

[Take a musical voyage with us by subscribing.]


Rewind Review: Jiboia – self-titled EP (2013)


I first heard the Middle Eastern / Indian influenced “electro-drone” (for want of a better term) of Jiboia at Levitation Chicago last year when some DJ’s played a song by him between sets. “Who is this?” I thought and instantly put my Shazam app to use (since that’s the thing to do nowadays).

Jiboia’s self-titled EP is a wild mix of trippy synths, frenetic beats, and pro-rock guitars. The first track, “Eingana,” is full of all those things, and Jiboia shreds quite well on it. “Manasha” starts off with 1980’s video game-style beeps and beats, but Jiboia’s soaring guitar work soon takes over the track. “Ayidda-Weddo” is like something you’d hear in a late night cab in Calcutta if the driver were also a computer hacker in his spare time. “Kungpipi” is almost a Kraftwerk track with its heavily processed beats and simple yet effective synths, but the droning bass and wild guitar work take it to a bit of a dark psychedelic place.

The standout is “Uadjit” with guest vocals from Ana Miro. Her chant-like siren song gets into your head, as do the electric near-dubstep beats. I don’t know if Ms. Miro has done other work with Jiboia, but I hope that’s the case. They’re a great duo.

This is a strange bit of psychedelic world music. You have to be in the right mood for it, but it’s perfect for when that mood strikes.

Keep your mind open.

[Wait!  Don’t forget to subscribe before you leave.]


Rewind Review: Gaby Novak – Pjeva Gaby Novak (2003 reissue)


I first discovered the sultry jazz voice of Croatian singer Gaby Novak while watching the excellent Croatian film H-8… from 1958. Her song “Sretan Put” is used to stunning emotional effect in the final act of the film. I was hooked and had to track down more of her music.

Pjeva Gaby Novak (“Gaby Novak Sings”) from 1959 is a great place to get on board if you want to experience her lovely vocals. “To Je Blues” (“Learning the Blues”), with a big band behind her, immediately puts her in the ranks of Nancy Sinatra. You can’t help dancing during this; or during “Karavan,” which has sharp, almost Latin percussion throughout it.

Her cover of “Netko Bdije Nada Mnom” (“Someone to Watch Over Me”) has the soft jazz piano and saxophones you’d expect, but her Croatian vocals are the sound of underground jazz clubs fueled by vodka and clove cigarettes. It’s over too soon. “Prodavacica Uspomena” (“Souvenirs”) is as peppy as fun as the previous track is bittersweet. You’ll want this on every late night cocktail party mix tape you make from now on until the end of time.

“Ponesi” (“Oh Venus”) is a little bit trippy and sounds like a lost cut from a Matt Helm movie soundtrack. I’m sure “Ljubav I Poljupci” (“Love and Kisses”) is still played on jukeboxes across Eastern Europe, as its infectious melody and goofy fun saxophones are a great mix with Novak’s vocals. “U Proljetno Vece” (“In the Spring Evening”) has Novak’s sexy voice keeping the band rooted, as they seem to want to burst into swing jazz any second.

“Mjesec Kao Igracka” (“Month as Toy” – roughly) is another sexy tune that sounds like it was fun for the band to record and Novak to sing. It reminds me a bit of Japanese jazz-pop from the same time period, really. “Sretan Put” (“Have a Safe Trip”) is the haunting, beautiful song that hooked me on Novak’s work, and it’s perfect for rainy late night drives and dropping off your lover at the airport. “Malaguena” is big, bold, and could’ve been a Bond theme in another life.

I’m sure “Ljubav Ili Sala” (“Love or a Joke”), with its exquisite horn section floating like a cork on the moonlit stream of Novak’s voice, was the soundtrack to many romances in Croatia in the mid-1960’s. The album smartly ends with a real swinger – “Draga Djevojka” (“Dear Girl”). Big horns, groovy drums, and Novak’s playful call and respond vocals with her band all add up to a song that will settle in your hips.

Gaby Novak had a magnificent career in Croatia and Europe, but she’s little known here. She deserves to be up there with your favorite jazz singers from the west, so do yourself a favor and give her a listen. You won’t regret it.

Keep your mind open.

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