Jukeboxparables

Sonic Youth – What We Know. Live on Jools Holland

Posted in Music by jukeboxparables on May 1, 2009

I’m declaring May: Sonic Youth month. Because after a few listens of their 16th album “The Eternal” …basically they’ve still got it. No other band in History has been able to pull this off in my opinion; that is not making rehashed or dull or just plain dinosaur music after 30+ years. Maybe Bowie… or The Beatles.

The Eternal is as fresh as their 15th effort Rather Ripped but rather than emitting a cleaner lighter vibe that album had it has memorable heavy/dirty hooks as if giving nods to albums like “Goo” and “Dirty”. Full review in the coming weeks.

But here’s the band playing “What We Know” on Jools Holland (above). Jools rightly mentions the band played way back on the shows debut in 1992. So I’ve tracked down that performance (below) 18years later, its all still there. Bravo.

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1991: The Year Punk Broke.

Posted in Film & TV, Music by jukeboxparables on April 29, 2009

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I thought I’d link a documentary I’m a huge fan of; 1991: The Year Punk Broke. It’s a tour doco by Dave Markey filmed in 1991 which follows Sonic Youth on a leg of their European tour. Nirvana were also on tour with them at the time so it features performances by both bands as well as a few others on a Festival leg of the tour; Dinosaur Jr, Babes In Toyland and Gumball. Also mentioned / shown are The Ramones.

It’s a bit of reminiscence for me because as a kid growing up, this scene was my first exposure to Alternative music (Not that I saw it, but all the songs and sentimentality) And not so much Sonic Youth because I basically couldn’t handle their Music at age 11, but I was a huge Nirvana fan and lived and breathed that Alternative vibe they gave off as best I could understand. Of course everything they ever said in Interviews about Pop-culture and Corporate-rock kinda went straight over my head. Though getting into Sonic Youth much later probably saved my young-self’s brain from… “turning into a continuous gelatinous ball of pepper” As Thurston Moore puts it in one of the backstage excerpts. Though one of the biggest Influences on me this all gave off was a curiosity about what they were talking about; distrust of mass-media, corporations turning art into consumerism and a firm anti-image stance on Music. Punk as an attitude may have “began” in the Early 70’s (at least its exposure) but I think it was refined by the movement of Music that this documentary features. Sadly a few years later I totally forgot about all this and started listening to some awful bands. But I think I’ve come good in the end.

Everything about this doco lives and breaths the atmosphere of Music in the early 90’s. Besides the music the random excerpts and Interviews by foreign journalists usually yield post-modernist or satirical responses from Thurston and onlookers. I just love the cynicism of it all It’s must see viewing. One question I had after seeing it the first time awhile back was; How the hell is Thurston Moore still alive?

The Intro says it all really; Thurston Moore holding a tape-deck recorder and waxing lyrical into a microphone whilst he and Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon frolic around some old railway tracks high on something good.

Besides it being on youtube, you can actually buy it on VHS I’ve been told. As for that crisp clean DVD version? It’s apparently been completed since 2006 and is in the hands of Universal to release. Oh the fricken Irony!!! Word from Dave Markey is that people should write in to get them to release it, its not in his hands!

Lastly, Check out the tour diary of the film maker Dave Markey right here. It’s great reading!

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Sonic Youth – New mp3 “Sacred Trickster”

Posted in Music by jukeboxparables on April 21, 2009

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Matadorrecords are hosting an entire track off Sonic Youth’s upcoming 16th album “The Eternal” You can listen to it right here. It’s a short 2:10minute song, punchy and melodic yet has that ‘void-esque’ feeling happening. Anyway check it out for yourselves.

I should re-iterate you can pre-order online via Matador starting April 28th. The album comes out on June 9th.

If you pre-order you get;

– a code to stream the album early, from April 28
– an exclusive live vinyl lp recorded in New York on July 4, 2008 (subject to availability)
– an exclusive poster
– exclusive additional mp3 downloads of outtakes & more live material
– early access to concert tickets in the US (especially if you sign up now)

/end promotion.

Review: The Gaslight Anthem – Sink or Swim

Posted in Music, Review by jukeboxparables on March 27, 2009

Picture sociopolitical old-new punk Canadian band Against Me! only with Bruce Springsteen on vocals. What do you get? If you said The Gaslight Anthem, your wrong that would be pigeonholing. But you are close. I felt compelled to review their debut 2007 album entitled “Sink or Swim” simply because it’s been on repeat in my car, at home and on the portable music player and more importantly I think I’ve discovered what makes it tick.

Besides it being on repeat, the other reason It’s being mentioned here is because I’ve never been put-off more by an album upon first listen and then subsequently caved to its sentiments upon repeated listens. The Gaslight Anthem hail from New Brunswick, NJ, USA and lead singer Brian Fallon’s vocals growl with working-man like intent. I initially took issue with this, It’s easy to be flippant with newer bands in our day and age and question their sentiments. If you are one for flippancy you’d probably find yourself (initially) filing this band under done-to-death mainstream rock. You might even group them with certain late 90’s group’s who are utterly gag inducing. But wait, you’d be wrong.

You’d be wrong because what The Gaslight Anthem do best is make it genuine. As already mentioned my first listen to Sink or Swim left me wincing at certain quips and turn of phrase. I was wincing because bands from the late 90’s who shall remain un-named ruined it for everyone. Swathes of Southern-baritone-growl mainstream rock made open and fragile lyrical prose cliche and it’s been passe ever since. I was so sure a few years ago that such song writing would never be credible again.

Sink or Swim has possibly turned this all around on its own. Which isn’t to say The Gaslight Anthem’s writing is anything like that, these definitely aren’t cheap throw-away lines and the actual lyrics tell stories with a Dylan-esque trail of thought rather than being in the style of 3minute pop songs. I think the key to the songs are; what actually separates them from the straight-up Mainstream Rock tag is liberal use of Punk rhythms and change ups yet you can’t classify them as a Punk band.

This use of rhythm can be put down to genuine local influence; the New Brunswick underground or “basement” Punk scene which has given birth to some impressive acts over the years. The band themselves have described their sound as “Bruce Springsteen singing for a Cure cover band, with a tinge more aggression.” I’m not sure about the Cure cover band citing. But the Boss (Bruce Springsteen) is of course from New Jersey, so there again; genuine local influence.

When you realise The Gaslight Anthem are basically a proverbial sponge of The Hub City absorbing all that surrounds them and they really don’t give a shit what style that happens to be, you start to like them more. It’s that blend of Punk sentiment over traditional topical song writing that makes you remember their songs. They’re signed to Indie Label SideOneDummy But band motives aside let’s get onto the music as that’s what matters.

Sink or Swim kicks off with opening track “Boomboxes And Dictionaries” and is a quick indication of song writing approach. Slightly left-of-center lyrically as are most of the songs on the album. Liberal use of lyrics to tell the story rather than falling over themselves desperately to get back to that catchy chorus.

And if you’re scared of the future tonight, we’ll just take it each hour one at a time.
It’s a pretty good night for a drive, so dry up those eyes, dry up those eyes.
Because the radio will still play loud, songs that we heard as our guards came down.
Like in the summertime when we first met, I’ll never forget, don’t you forget, these nights are still ours.

Kicking off with as sing along moment that also gets the blood flowing is a good thing. But then they go one better with “I Could’a Been A Contender” Which song has the better chorus I’ll let you decide. Either way you’ll find yourself coming back to these two tracks more often then not.

There’s a dirty wind blowing, there’s a storm front coming
There’s an S.O.S. on the seas tonight
Steady now, steady now, soldier hold fast now
It’s heads or tails on heart attacks and broken dreams tonight

The pace continues throughout the first half of the album. Yes this is your favourite new driving album. Just watch those speed limits…

Things take a turn on “The Navesink Banks” where the Acoustic guitar is brought out for a soft yet resilient reminisce of the past which probably pays some ode to Tom Waits. A nice break in the pacing just at the right time.

“I’da Called You Woody, Joe” is apparently a track about Joe Strummer no less or the story of Brian’s first listen to The Clash presumably. This song resonates if your a Strummer fan or perhaps if you’ve seen The Future Is Unwritten particularly one of the later scenes where Joe is handing out flyers to one of his solo shows to people on the street who ignore him.

“Angry Johnny And The Radio” has one hell of a rolling breakdown that makes it one of the highlights of the back end of the album. Though for me the last track is one of particular note. “Red At Night” is a folk/blues inspired Acoustic come-down of sorts. Featuring a nice lazy harmonica channeling Bob Dylan perhaps? It wraps up the album nicely and nails home your sentiments; Sink or Swim is an album worth the time not only for its sing-a-long driving songs but for it’s vivid projections and tales of life in New Brunswick.

Rating: 7.7/10

Tracklist:

1. “Boomboxes and Dictionaries” – 3:11
2. “I Coulda Been a Contender” – 3:22
3. “Wooderson” – 2:11
4. “We Came to Dance” – 3:34
5. “1930” – 3:48
6. “The Navesink Banks” – 2:48
7. “Red in the Morning” – 2:51
8. “I’da Called You Woody, Joe” – 3:21
9. “Angry Johnny and the Radio” – 3:00
10. “Drive” – 2:55
11. “We’re Getting a Divorce, You Keep the Diner” – 3:11
12. “Red at Night” – 3:07

The Gaslight Anthem
Sink Or Swim
Released: 2007
Label: SideOneDummy / XOXO Records

Blender gallery – rockarchive 10th anniversary exhibit

Posted in Music, Oldschool/Classic Things, Photography by jukeboxparables on March 23, 2009

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On Saturday I made a date with Paddington’s Blender gallery because they are hosting rockarchive’s collection of UK based limited music related photography spanning many decades. Hung prints included; David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Blondie, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie Sioux and many many more. All of the prints are limited releases available for purchase, ouch did I come close. Particular shots of Cobain and Sioux we’re amongst highlights.

It’s the first time the collection is running in Australia, it being based in the UK, It features dozens of portfolios of some of the worlds best music photographers and runs from Friday 20th March until Tuesday 21st April 2009 you can get all the info at either rockarchives website or the Blender gallery.

I was blown away by more than a few of the shots and more importantly the story behind them. I’ve borrowed the photo above as a means to get you all out there to take a look. If I’m infringing copyright please let me know.

I chose that shot because I absolutely love the story behind it. It was taken by and is the copyright of Ed Sirrs and the story behind it reads; The date was 20 Aug 1991.

“The support band had been ignored by an almost empty house, but the place is suddenly capacity rammed and heaving for headliners Sonic Youth. Four feet away from the side of the little stage, oblivious to the monumental racket, the support band’s singer/guitarist (Kurt Cobain) catches a few zzzs on a narrow wooden bench.”

That’s a moment in time. One of my all time favourite bands Nirvana did indeed tour/support Sonic Youth (another of my favourites) during the explosion of the Seattle sound in the late 80’s early 90’s. This photo of Kurt makes him look like a regular guy taking a nap, a roady perhaps? (though how you could fall asleep during the aural assault that is Sonic Youth, I don’t know) a few months on to a year later Nirvana became the biggest band in the world. 3 years later the combined effects of childhood scoliosis / undiagnosed stomach cramps -> various drug addictions / unrelenting & unwanted international media pressure, perhaps all combined to cause Kurt to commit suicide. But here he’s just a regular guy having a nap.

EDIT:: looky what I found. Yes it’s from the same show!

Sonic Youth – Happiness is a warm gun… Vinyl!

Posted in Music, Oldschool/Classic Things by jukeboxparables on March 23, 2009

I’ve been meaning to start a real vinyl collection for the longest while, It’s always been on the back burner because everything and anything else has kept me occupied instead. But yesterday I was in Repressed records in Newtown watching a friends band Royal Headache play and simply could not leave their vinyl collection alone.

Especially this 1991 Bootleg LP out of Germany entitled “Happiness is a warm gun…” It’s a Sonic Youth compilation of sorts and the track list is quite amazing;

1. Personality Crisis
2. Dirty Boots (demo)
3. Is It My Body
4. Flower (Anti Fuckword Radio Edit)
5. I Wanna Be Your Dog (live)
6. Song For Karen (live) [Tunic]
7. Computer Age
8. Burning Farm
9. Gum
10. Electric Pen
11. Disappearer (demo)
12. That’s All I Know (Right Now)
13. White Cross
14. Sister (live) [Schizophrenia]
15. Rewolf (Special Natas Mix)
16. It’s An Interview
17. My Friend Goo (live)
18. Cinderella’s Big Score (live)

* 1. from Sassy magazine promo 7″
* 2. from Sassy magazine promo 7″
* 3. from Sub Pop Singles Club 2×7″
* 4. from Flower 7″
* 5. live 6/4/87 London, England w/ Iggy Pop on vox (same as Screaming Fields)
* 6. live 9/17/90 Hamburg, Germany @ Docks
* 7. from The Bridge compilation
* 8. from Every Band Has A Shonen Knife… compilation
* 9. from Mirror/Dash 7″
* 10. from Mirror/Dash 7″
* 11. from Disappearer single
* 12. from Disappearer single
* 13. from NME’s Hat Trick 7″
* 14. live 6/4/87 London, England (same as Screaming Fields)
* 15. from Flower 7″
* 16. from 1990 promotional flexi interview 7″
* 17. live 9/17/90 Hamburg, Germany @ Docks
* 18. live 9/17/90 Hamburg, Germany @ Docks

Let the vinyl collecting begin. I suppose I should now dish out heaps of cash for a good system too. Oh the woes of liking oldschool things. This Sonic Youth LP is definitely worth it though. Bootleg goodness with songs off Daydream Nation, Goo and others and a track featuring Iggy Pop on vocals. All on a Blue Vinyl 12″ How could I not get this?

“Music/Books that make you dumb”

Posted in Books/Comics/Manga, Music by jukeboxparables on March 8, 2009

musicthatmakesyoudumsmall

A friend linked me to a recent beatcrave article about a statistical data compilation which has correlated Musical taste with SAT scores in the USA. For all those unawares the SAT is the standard college admission test in the United Sates. Anyway I thought It was possibly a bit of a joke however It’s actually been done quite professionally by a Phd. student at Caltech Virgil Griffith.

Basically the author compiled 133 of the most popular inputs of ‘favourite music’ using facebook (manually). Then correlated this with student SAT data. As is pointed out correlation is not causation so the title is perhaps misleading. But you can’t ignore the trends.

A large statistical sample was also used, SAT data was obtained from 1,352 schools.

So whilst browsing the graph outputs which you can view here: http://musicthatmakesyoudumb.virgil.gr/ I also noticed the author had previously done the same thing with books! You can view that here

So what’s the ‘verdict’? Indie/Alternative kids come out on-top whilst lovers of Beethoven reign supreme. Wow, I just had this strange mental image of a certain dystopian novel/movie character named Alex yelping “Not the 5th!”

Highest SAT scorers were lovers of Beethoven, Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, Ben Folds Five and Guster. whilst the lowest scores fell to (Sorry hip-hop/rap fans) Lil’ Wayne, Beyonce and T.I

I am surprised however that a band like Counting Crows scored so high. The Author explains this away however; “When UPenn Princeton, Duke, Williams, and Upenn make up ~20% of the weight you’d expect a high score.” No doubt some localized quip about the general makeup of attendees of that school that us International folks don’t understand. I’ll have to agree with the fact that Nickelback are near-bottom only outdone by Aerosmith, Haven’t we all suspected this all along!? Muse and David Bowie also registered slightly above average scores. Does this mean my SAT’s would rate somewhere between those two artists? haha hopefully.

In the other plot about Books; Catch 22, Lolita, 100 years of solitude scored highly whilst; Zane, The Colour Purple and The Holy Bible scored fairly low.

Note; this is all pretty tongue-in-cheek! Correlation doesn’t mean its some type of proven fact. Hence the use of inverted commas in the title.

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beeth

Sonic Youth – The Eternal, preorders March 24th

Posted in Music by jukeboxparables on March 8, 2009

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Sonic Youth’s 16th album “the eternal” is slated for release on June 9th. If you pre-order you get to stream the album starting April 28th. You also get an additional live LP of the bands July 4th NYC show. The album is the followup to 2006’s Rather Ripped however It’s their first on NYC label Matador Records (home to Liz Phair, Mogwai, Lou Reed and Pavement) which is their 8th label no less! I can’t actually believe an album like Goo is close to 20years old, It and Dirty were the two albums I initially heard songs off when I was starting to listen to music as a youngin’ Though it took me well into last year to pickup Daydream Nation. A travesty, I know. More on that another time.

You can hear a medly-style short-cut mashup of the album here

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More on these guys soon.

Posted in Music by jukeboxparables on March 5, 2009

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As the title states “more on these guys soon” that is a few retrospective album reviews and I’ll finally try and put into words why although successful and defunct they’re still even to this day wholly misunderstood. I still list them as one of my all time favourite bands to this day. I should probably state why! Stay tuned.

A classic oldschool photo though circa 1996? Credit to 10 Things Zine. Which I’ve now linked on the blogroll!