Results for garage rock

interviews

Twin Peaks

Our guests this week are garage rockers, Twin Peaks. This 5-piece up-and-coming band from Chicago consists of singer and guitarist Cadien Lake James, bassist Jack Dolan, guitarist Clay Frankel, drummer Connor Brodner and recent addition, keyboardist Colin Croom. They started the group back in 2009 as high schoolers and later decided to drop out of college to pursue music full-time. Some of their influences include The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Stooges, which you can hear in their debut album, Sunken, released in 2013. Last year, they released their second album, Wild Onion, to critical acclaim and in 2015 performed at Lollapalooza. Their youthfully energetic performance style, guitar-based rock and roll and playful song lyrics make them a draw for young adult music fans looking for something other than EDM. Jim and Greg spoke to them a few weeks ago at the Goose Island Barrelhouse in Chicago and gave a performance afterwards.

Go to episode 516

Japandroids

This summer three hundred fans joined Jim and Greg for a sold-out live taping of Sound Opinions at Chicago's Lincoln Hall. The night's special guests? Canadian garage rock duo Japandroids. Drummer David Prowse and guitarist Brian King were in a feisty mood, taking Jim to task for his characterization of their music as“wonderfully ugly.”"Is that a back-handed compliment?" Brian wanted to know. The two also performed tracks from their sophomore album, Celebration Rock (a Buy It for both Jim and Greg). Dave and Brian met as students in Victoria, British Columbia. (If you're thinking of visiting, Brian recommends the Wax Museum's "Chamber of Horrors.") They launched Japandroids in 2006 and tried to make a go of it in the Vancouver music scene, already home to bands like Chet and Atlas Strategic. Despite the fact there's only two of them, Japandroids make quite a roar, and they quickly made a name for themselves as an exhilarating live act. But they found frustratingly few venues to play in Vancouver. By the time Japandroids released their debut, Post-Nothing, in 2009, Dave tells Greg they thought it would be their farewell. That didn‘t happen. Internet fate intervened, Post-Nothing blew up, and Brian and David embarked on a year and a half of touring. As its title suggests, Celebration Rock is really a party record. But Greg detects a note of melancholy amidst the boozing. Brian’s response: "If this is the last record we're ever going to do, let's make sure it's the best record we're ever going to do."

Go to episode 357

Top Albums of 2005

The“Best Records”list: It's“a sacred thing”in pop music fandom, says Jim, requiring a discerning ear and laser-like focus. Thankfully, our hosts are here to help. After sifting through hundreds of records, and countless days spent listening (perhaps to the discontent of their wives), they‘ve managed to pick out their absolute favorites. Here’s what Jim and Greg say they'll still be listening to in 2006.

Go to episode 2

Ty Segall

Knowing Jim and Greg's affection for pop melodies smothered in noise, it should come as no surprise that Ty Segall's music hits them right in the sweet spot. The 24-year-old musician was born in Orange County California, but made his name in San Francisco's thriving garage rock revival scene. Ty is nothing if not prolific. Since 2008 he's released eight albums, including three this year: Hair in April, Slaughterhouse in June, and now Twins in October. Shortly after Slaughterhouse's release Ty and his band joined Jim and Greg onstage at Lincoln Hall in Chicago for a live taping of Sound Opinions. He talked about the MTV reality show that ruined his hometown, his early punk influences, and his love of old garage rock. And of course, he and the band performed a raucous live set (we've only just regained our hearing).

Go to episode 360

The BellRays

California garage rockers The BellRays join Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Some listeners may be hearing of the band for the first time (as our hosts explain, they are a group on the rise). The BellRays gained attention at festivals like SXSW and through their appearance in a Nissan Xterra commercial, but many people may only be familiar with lead singer Lisa Kekaula's side projects: Her powerful voice has been lent to Crystal Method, Basement Jaxx, and a recent MC5 reunion tour.

No one should doubt that The BellRays is a collaborative effort, though. The band's fifth album, Have a Little Faith, was produced by bassist Bob Vennum (who happens to be Lisa's husband), and most of the songs were written by guitarist Tony Fate. These three are joined by drummer Craig Waters to achieve a sound that is hard to describe. Many clichés have been attached to the group's music, which our hosts decided to call "part Tina Turner, part MC5." It's all fine with the band; just don‘t say they’re from Detroit.

Go to episode 35
reviews
...For the Whole World to SeeFor The Whole World To See available on iTunes

Death For The Whole World To See

The final review this week is a reissue from Detroit punk band Death. …For The Whole World To See took thirty years to see the light of day, but now Chicago label Drag City has resurrected the album, and Jim and Greg are thrilled. It was groundbreaking for three African Americans from Detroit to play punk and garage rock instead of soul and R&B. Listening to this album Jim can easily picture the group on a bill with Iggy and The Stooges and the MC5. Greg admits the music is somewhat primitive, but finds it aggressive and packed with ambition. …For the Whole World to See gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 202
It's a Bit ComplicatedIt's A Bit Complicated available on iTunes

Art Brut It's A Bit Complicated

This week is an all out reviews blowout beginning with the sophomore album from British rock act Art Brut. Jim and Greg were both Art Brut fans from the get-go. They saw them at last year's SXSW Festival and invited them on the show. And once the band's debut album Bang Bang Rock and Roll was released in the States, it immediately soared to the top of both critics‘ Best of 2006 lists. So it’s no exaggeration to say that this follow-up has been highly anticipated. On It's A Bit Complicated, the band sticks to their three-minute garage rock formula that, ironically enough, isn't very complicated at all. But, Jim and Greg explain that Eddie Argos and the band have stepped up their game and amped up the hooks. Argos' earnest and self-deprecating lyrics are still there, making his stories completely relatable, especially for fellow rock obsessives like Jim and Greg. It's A Bit Complicated gets two Buy Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 84
Dodge and BurnDodge and Burn available on iTunes

The Dead Weather Dodge and Burn

The Dead Weather formed in 2009 as a supergroup of sorts, sporting a lineup of Jack White, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age, and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs. Now the band has returned with its third album, Dodge and Burn. White is taking a literal and figurative back seat here as he remains behind the drum kit, and Greg is grateful for the showcase of Mosshart's excellent vocal talents. He also cites Fertita as the band's secret weapon, using distorted guitars and keyboards to bring an element of pure nastiness to the record. Despite a couple of missteps, including the odd closing piano ballad "Impossible Winner," Dodge and Burn is a Buy It for Greg. Jim concurs – the dirty blues garage rock may be nothing new, but its swampy, southern Gothic flavor is perfect for Halloween season. It's a Buy It for him, too.

JimGreg
Go to episode 516
MosquitoMosquito available on iTunes

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Mosquito

During the 2000s, two bands forged a New York garage rock revival: The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Two weeks ago, Jim and Greg eviscerated Comedown Machine, The Strokes' fifth studio effort. This week, they take on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' latest, Mosquito. Is this yet another case of early promise and later disappointment? Jim says“no way.”The album art might turn his stomach, but he's digging Mosquito, which shows the band experimenting with musical styles from gospel to hip-hop. Unlike The Strokes' similar genre experiments, Jim says Mosquito sounds organic, not contrived. Greg agrees. He was a big fan of lead singer Karen O's 2003 song "Maps," so he's glad to hear more of her emotional vocals on this record. Mosquito gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 385
HorehoundHorehound available on iTunes

The Dead Weather Horehound

Another year… another Jack White project. After The White Stripes and The Raconteurs comes The Dead Weather. This time White has a more behind-the-scenes role as drummer and producer. Alison Mosshart of The Kills is the lead vocalist. Jim was let down by the second Raconteurs record, but he was blown away by the knockout, raw garage rock on Horehound. He gives it a Buy It rating. Greg is surprised to hear this. While he likes the sleezy, b-movie sound and vibe, he needs great songs to go with it. Greg looks forward to seeing the group live, but on record it's a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 191
ManipulatorManipulator available on iTunes

Ty Segall Manipulator

Prolific San Francisco garage rocker Ty Segall has released an abundance of material during his 27-year lifetime. From cassette tapes to EPs to singles, rarely does a year go by without the songwriter starting a new band or collaborating with another. Occasionally, though, Segall does step into the spotlight with a solo release, and his latest, this month's Manipulator, is a real stand-out. Jim thinks all 17 tracks on the album are uniformly great with their refined blend of lo-fi psychedelic pop that harkens back to the best of San Francisco's 1980's psych rock revival. Greg loves it, too, notably for Segall's precise production and successful expression of all his musical personalities. Manipulater is a sprawling album full of loving melodies, great guitar playing, and contemplative lyrics; both critics say Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 458
Elephant Shell (Remixes) - EPElephant Shell available on iTunes

Tokyo Police Club Elephant Shell

After getting raves with their 2006 EP, Tokyo Police Club have finally released a full-length album called Elephant Shell. The four-piece band from Ontario signed to Saddle Creek Records to record 11 songs, but don't expect a denser album. This effort is still a quick jaunt into garage rock, power-pop, and new wave that ends before you know it. But, neither Jim, nor Greg, is complaining. Jim loves their great sense of melody and high-energy enthusiasm. His only quibble is with the band's minor diversion into indie-rock pretension. But, overall he gives the record a Buy It. Greg also loves the tightly constructed arrangements, but notes that the band's lyrics still haven't developed much. He appreciates their exuberance but thinks they still have room to grow. He gives Elephant Shell a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 125
The Black and White AlbumThe Black and White Album available on iTunes

The Hives The Black and White Album

The second album up for review this week is The Black and White Album by Swedish rockers The Hives. The band had a hit in 2000 with "Hate to Say I Told You So," but have yet to really break through to mainstream audiences (despite obvious attempts by their record company). This album is a change of pace for the garage rockers and has more soul than listeners heard previously. They even teamed up with hip hop producer Pharrell Williams for a couple of tracks. The result works for Greg, though he wishes they'd edited down the number of tracks. Jim agrees that the merging of sounds is really successful. They have a credible groove. Both Jim and Greg give The Black and White Album a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 103
Underneath the Rainbow (Bonus Track Version)Underneath the Rainbow available on iTunes

Black Lips Underneath the Rainbow

The incendiary live shows and southern punk sound of Black Lips have been hallmarks of the band for over a decade. With their latest album, Underneath the Rainbow, the Atlanta, GA rockers take a turn for the mature. Patrick Carney of The Black Keys and Thomas Brenneck of The Dap-Kings were recruited to take turns producing, and Jim notices the difference. The sound is cleaner than previous Black Lips outings, but still retains the same killer garage rock melodies. Underneath the Rainbow wins a heartfelt Buy It from Jim. Greg thinks cleaning up is the last thing the band needs to do. They're at their best when they are raw, loud and are not playing nice. Greg hears the compromises Underneath the Rainbow, and says Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 435
Lust Lust Lust (Deluxe)Lust Lust Lust available on iTunes

The Raveonettes Lust Lust Lust

This week's final review is of Lust Lust Lust, the third album from Danish pop duo The Raveonettes. Jim and Greg both agree that one of the primary influences of the band is The Jesus and Mary Chain. Just like the Scottish group, The Raveonettes's music is full of heavy, feedback-drenched guitar. It's a sound Jim describes as "Velvet Underground meets Phil Spector." Greg is impressed by guitarist Sune Rose Wagner's minimalist technique; he understands the importance of not overplaying. But, over a dozen tracks he thinks the sound is a little“samey”and can only give Lust Lust Lust a Burn It. Jim finds the album entirely too derivative. He explains that if he wants to hear sexy, dark garage rock, he might as well get out his Jesus and Mary Chain record. Jim thinks there's no reason to own The Raveonettes' album and gives it a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 119
Ty SegallTy Segall available on iTunes

Ty Segall Ty Segall

San Francisco's Ty Segall is one of today's most prolific rockers. Since his 2008 debut, he's collaborated with bands like Traditional Fools and Fuzz, in addition to his own solo work. For his most recent self-titled album, Ty Segall, he recorded with his touring band. Jim thinks that this album is extraordinary, combining elements of glam rock, psychedelic sounds, and fiery garage rock a'la 13th Floor Elevators. Jim particularly enjoyed "Orange Color Queen", an ode to Ty's girlfriend that he called "a touching love song". Greg says that this is an album to love, his most song-focused and diverse record in his catalog, right up there with 2014's Manipulator. Both critics say Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 584
dijs

Greg

“Final Solution”Pere Ubu

The Breeders' home state of Ohio inspired Greg's Desert Island Jukebox song choice this week. One of his favorite bands to emerge from the“fly-over territory”is Pere Ubu. Greg describes their unique sound as avant garageart rock combined with garage rock. But, the band created their own scene and didn't care what categories they did or did not belong to. In fact, even though they set a template for punk and post punk music, front man David Thomas denies the band has any relationship to punk. According to Greg, the best example of their sound is in the song "Final Solution," this week's DIJ addition. When the band was on Sound Opinions they also performed“Final Solution”live. You can listen to that performance and their entire interview here.

Go to episode 124

Jim

“Out of Control”Lime Spiders

Usually Jim and Greg take inspiration from something in the show or something in the news for their Desert Island Jukebox picks. But this week, Jim is inspired by nothing more than a desire for an injection of high energy rock. He chooses a song by Australian garage rockers the Lime Spiders. Jim thinks their second single "Out of Control" is one of the best garage revival songs he's ever heard, and that's why he can't live without it.

Go to episode 200

Greg

“Viet Nam War Blues”Oblivians

Memphis garage rockers Oblivians recently released their first record in fifteen years, Desperation. Greg's had it on heavy rotation along with the group's post-punk-inspired back catalogue. With two guitars, two chords, and a stripped down drum kit, Greg says Oblivians married punk's“last moment on earth intensity”with Memphis's rock ‘n’ roll tradition. He chooses "Viet Nam War Blues" off the band's 1995 debut album Soul Food for his Desert Island Jukebox pick. It's a Lightnin' Hopkins cover about a mother whose son goes off to war. Whereas Hopkins brings a jazzy, poetic sensibility to the track, Greg says Oblivians bring rage.

Go to episode 397

Greg

“Teenage Head”The Flamin' Groovies

All this Grateful Dead news has Greg thinking of San Francisco in the 1960s. And in the era of peace and love, The Flamin' Groovies were wildly out of step. In the midst of psychedelia, the group drew on '50s rockabilly and garage rock. The band has also often been called a progenitor of punk. The Flamin' Groovies even had a song about sniffing glue years before The Ramones did. The title track "Teenage Head," from their third album, channels teenage angst into three minutes. The song cites how they are the children of“atom bombs and rotten air and Vietnams.”Greg notes that in a predominately "hippy" music scene, the Flamin' Groovies were doing something completely unique both lyrically and sonically.

Go to episode 497

Greg

“Sister Surround”The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Riding a wave of nostalgia for the early 2000s, Greg washed up onto the shores of the dessert island in search of a fix for his Scandinavian garage rock craving. While bands like The Helicopters and The Hives can sometimes do the trick, Greg turns to his favorite Scandinavian invaders: The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Led by Scott Lundeberg, these Swedish music mavericks culled their favorite elements of the classic rock, post punk, and grunge to create a distinct sound from“the best of the best.”Greg plays the track "Sister Surround" from their third album Behind the Music.

Go to episode 457
rock doctors

David & Family

The Rock Doctors' patient this week is David from Minneapolis. David's“ailment”is that he has a tough time finding music that both he and his kids will enjoy. As the father of four boys between the ages of three months and 10 years, that's quite a challenge. So far he's had luck with The Decemberists, Earth, Wind and Fire and Sugar — basically anything with great pop vocals and harmonies, as well as a good beat for dancing. And of course, some of his sons have fallen under the spell of tween pop star Kelly Clarkson.

Greg's prescription is New Magnetic Wonder, the latest album from Apples in Stereo. The Robert Schneider-fronted band that emerged out of the Elephant 6 collective offers a perfect mix of sunny, exuberant vocals and sophisticated arrangements. Plus, as Greg explains, Schneider is just a big overgrown kid (something that listeners who heard his interview on Sound Opinions can attest to).

Jim prescribes a dose of Smash Mouth. A couple of years ago the California garage popsters, who Jim thinks of as the male equivalent of No Doubt, released a greatest hits album called All Star Smash Hits. Jim explains that, as a fan of garage rock, David will appreciate their edgy aesthetic and punk covers. In addition, his kids are certain to enjoy the more bubble gum aspects of Smash Mouth's music and covers of songs like "I'm a Believer" (which they might already know from the Shrek 2 soundtrack).

A week later David returns to the doctors to report on his health status. He relays to Greg that he and all his sons really enjoyed the Apples in Stereo. He describes the band's music as fun and upbeat, as well as weird and experimental. David's wife was another story, but these doctors only agreed to please five patients… six might be pushing it.

Smash Mouth was something the whole family could agree on, especially for road trips and casual listening. The six year old described it as "a lot like rock and roll." But, David and his boys found the Apples in Stereo to be“meatier”and more interesting. Perhaps we've got four young rock critics in the making!

Go to episode 76

Jessica

Once again, it's time for the Rock Doctors to put on their white coats and stethoscopes. During this appointment, Jim and Greg attempt to treat a fast spreading musical virus. Their patient is Jessica from Montreal. Jessica comes to the Rock Doctors Clinic with a bad case of“musical mailase, lyric lethargy, and beat fatigue.”Jessica has become uninterested in the rock music of today, which she perceives as redundant and insincere. The doctors' job is to help her reignite her passion for her favorite genre.

Jessica is well-versed in rock music, and spends a good amount of time listening to independent radio station WFMU with her husband, a rock DJ. Jessica loves rock music's focus on instrumentation, and her favorite album of 2014 was Brand New Day by The Ugly Beats, a young garage rock band out of Texas.

Greg's prescription is the album MCII from San Francisco multi-instrumentalist Mikal Cronin, while Jim recommends the album Slow Gum from Australian singer-songwriter Fraser A. Gorman. During their follow-up appointment, Jessica shares that she really enjoyed both records. She appreciates the balance of honest, personal lyrics with dynamic instrumentation, and found that both artists avoided the musical cliches that once plagued her. Greg and Jim decide that Jessica's knowledge of rock music would make her quite the rock critic.

Do you need to see the Rock Doctors? Or know someone who does? Fill out new patient form and send to interact@soundopinions.org.

Go to episode 508
news

Music News

Last week Jim and Greg discussed the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. But the news surrounding Jackson's death has not stopped. Neither has his impact on the music industry. Just this week Billboard announced that 9 out of 10 slots on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart are Jackson titles. But, while his estate continues to make money, concert promoter AEG stands to lose millions. They will be refunding fans that purchased tickets to Jackson's fifty London shows — $85 million worth of tickets to be exact.

In other sad music news, Sky Saxon, leader of the garage rock band The Seeds, also passed away last week. The news of his death was largely overshadowed by Michael Jackson coverage, so Jim and Greg wanted to pay tribute to Saxon during this episode. He was not a great musician, but had a tremendous attitude and a great impact on punk music. They play "Pushin' Too Hard" in his honor.

Go to episode 188

Music News

Pop music invaded the Academy Awards last week. Veteran singer/songwriter Randy Newman won the Oscar for Best Original Song. It was Newman's twentieth nomination, but only second win. Despite that, it is revenue from soundtracks like Toy Story that have enabled him to be so prolific. You can‘t count on the music industry alone, which Newman compared to a“bank that’s already been robbed.”Another rocker, Trent Reznor, went home with the Best Original Score prize for The Social Network. That category is usually dominated by composers like James Horner and Hans Zimmer. Zimmer, for one, was hopeful that Reznor's win would open doors for more non-traditional musicians in film.

If you've never heard of The Seeds, chances are you've heard their tunes. The garage rock band's music has been featured in a number of movies and commercials and covered by tons of artists. But according to lead singer Sky Saxon's estate, no royalties have been coming in. Saxon died in 2009, and now his estate is suing his former label and music publisher for royalties.

Go to episode 275
world tours

New Zealand

The Clean

Lorde is just the biggest name in a long line of important musicians coming out of New Zealand. So this week, Jim and Greg fire up the jet to take the Sound Opinions World Tour to the other side of the world. As a guide, they're joined by Wellington-based critic Nick Bollinger, host of The Sampler on Radio New Zealand and author of several books including the recent memoir Goneville.

They focus on an influential era in kiwi rock emerging in the early 1980s known as the Dunedin Sound that's closely associated with the legendary New Zealand indie label Flying Nun Records. Based around the southern university city Dunedin, the Flying Nun bands drew upon early psychedelia, American garage rock, and The Velvet Underground to create a distinctive jangly guitar-based sound, much of it released on lo-fi 4-track recordings. But while the key bands like The Clean, The Chills, and The Verlaines shared an aesthetic, Nick argues that their musical approaches actually were varied. By the late ‘80s and early ’90s, the Dunedin Sound had fully evolved to incorporate the shoegaze of Bailter Space and even the dance beats of Headless Chickens.

A key part of New Zealand's culture is its indigenous population. Maori, Samoan, and other indigenous groups make up nearly 20% of the population and have had a major impact on the island nation's pop music. Nick traces the history of Maori music from the Hendrix-esque guitar styling of The Human Instinct to the reggae boom of the '70s to the embrace of hip-hop. He also makes recommendations for great contemporary kiwi artists, including singer-songwriter Aldous Harding, power-poppers Kane Strang, electro-soul artist Electric Wire Hustle, and the eclectic producer Lord Echo.

Go to episode 605