Saturday, September 10, 2005

Living Off Sound and Light

It's the weekend, and here's a few songs to get you started, or to continue whatever buzz you've got going. Portland based Last of The Juanitas blend equal parts freak-out jazz and dense, sludgy rawk into a cacophonous stew that's all their own. The Juanitas spent a good amount of time in San Diego before heading north, and that shows in how the band takes some aural clues from such legendary bands as Drive Like Jehu and The Melvins. Slow-prodding guitar work, pummeling bass, and howitzer-style drumming make up the brunt of the Juanitas sound. As comfortable as they are with that, there are moments when their arrangements speed so fast by you, you've got to make sure your head is still screwed on afterwards. The tracks featured today are both from the band's 2002 release Time's Up, on Missoula's own purveyors of sonic sounds, WantageUSA. For an added dose of awesomeness, check out Juanita bassist Lana Rebel's sad-core country outfit, Juanita Family & Friends. You won't be disappointed.

Last of The Juanitas - Make You Cry
Last of The Juanitas - Look Bolt The Door

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Perfect Sound Forever

They say that all good things must come to an end, and late last week came news from the Rocket From The Crypt camp that they were hanging it up after 16 years of bringing the rock to the masses, with a final show set for Halloween in their hometown of San Diego. Largely responsible for the "San Diego sound" that was so prevalent in the mid-90's, Rocket From The Crypt (RFTC) were masters of making the audience realise that they were part of an event, not just attending a random rock show. Taking on stage names such as Speedo, JC 2000, Apollo 9, ND, Petey X, and Ruby Mars, they really made you feel that you were part of something special. I remember one show I saw was called "Tiger Feet Tonite", where they had jugglers, fire breathers, as well as a "wheel of requests"; quite literally they would spin a wheel and play whatever song it landed on. Rocket also understood that music has an inherent visual element, and to that effect, were kings of merchandising. Everything from including pogs with their records, belt buckles, and the idea of releasing a different single with different independent record labels (thus making them collectible), made up the whole "Rocket experience". There was even a time that a tattoo of the band's logo would get you in free to any club they were performing in. I was fortunate enough to live in San Diego when all of this was at it's apex, so members of the band were in my social circle, and I was able to see the band's progression. The songs I've chosen to feature today really capture that raw sense of emotion Rocket was so deft at putting forth. "Normal Carpet Ride" from their 1992 Sub Pop single, "Lorna Doom" from 1995's self-released vinyl-only Hot Charity album, and their 1996 take on the Real Kids garage rock anthem "Who Needs You?", showcase the band's immediacy, and punk-rock aesthetic. Hope you enjoy these.

Rocket From The Crypt - Normal Carpet Ride
Rocket From The Crypt - Lorna Doom
Rocket From The Crypt - Who Needs You?

Friday, September 02, 2005

R.L. Burnside 1926-2005

I'm speechless. I really don't know what to say, other than raise your glasses, folks. We've lost one of the masters.

R.L. Burnside - Shake 'Em On Down
R.L. Burnside - Rollin' & Tumblin'