Considerably less radical than hard psych bands of the sixties, less conceptual than the Dead and not as bookish as the Beatles, the Zombies appreciated a bit of Stateside appreciation, despite relative uncaring at home in the UK. The few singles making it into the charts—everyone’s heard “Time of the Season”—weren’t enough to keep the band from breaking up by 1968 and issuing its farewell recording, “Odessey and Oracle.” Before bidding the music biz goodbye for a few decades, the Zombies, led by singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent, distinguished themselves from Brit beat bands by smoothing out the bluesy edges of their compositions, which frequently featured reasonably complex keyboard lines and solos—at least when compared to the Pretty Things’ early thuggery. Read the rest of this entry »
By David Witter
Like San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore, the Jazz Record Mart has survived for fifty-five years not only by selling art, but by becoming an integral part of the social, artistic and inspirational fixture that supports the creation of it.
Today, the store at 27 East Illinois features a selection of more than 15,000 jazz, blues, folk, big band and world music CDs. It also contains another 15,000 records, cassettes and DVDs. Jazz fans regularly arrive from as far away as Japan, the Ukraine, France and England, coming to look through the aisles of bins denoted by an uncorporate array of white plastic sheets featuring the artists’ names scribbled in magic marker, selling for as little as ninety-nine cents.
But the Jazz Record Mart did not gain its worldwide reputation by simply selling records. During its heyday, the JRM’s bulletin board and aisles served as a more socially interactive precursor to Craigslist: The store was a place where musicians found gigs, bandmates, business contacts and even a place to stay. Sixties rock icon Mike Bloomfield, harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite, Alligator Records’ founder Bruce Iglauer, and dozens of other musicians, writers and critics all worked behind the store’s counter. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Matt Jencik
I went to high school in the mid-nineties, during the heyday of Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam—and I didn’t care. My interests were much, much less cool: The Beatles, The Stones, The Doors and Tom Petty. So, yes, while my classmates were rocking out to The Beastie Boys, Flaming Lips and Green Day at Lollapalooza ’94, I was watching the reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd knock out a killer sixteen-minute rendition of “Free Bird” at the old Rosemont Horizon.
I grew up just blocks away from the old Reckless Records on Broadway and, as much as the preferred narrative here would be how I was introduced to a nascent indie culture by proto-hipster record-store clerks spinning “Wowee Zowee” and “Bee Thousand,” I was probably ignoring all that playing in the background with “Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits” on my Discman while rifling through their CDs looking for a used copy of The Beatles’ “Anthology 1.” Read the rest of this entry »
In Soviet Russia it was hard to put your hands on any decent vinyl records, so you pretty much bought anything you could get, be it folk songs, classical concerts or speeches of our revered leaders recorded at some party session.
When Indira Gandhi was prime minister of India in the 1980s, our countries became friends and Bollywood movies gained tremendous popularity. Soundtracks to them were some of the most desirable vinyl recordings around. My mom, who worked at a radio station at the time, managed to get quite a collection. As a result, I spent a big chunk of my childhood wrapping myself in a blanket and dancing around our apartment, doing the moves of what I thought were Indian dances and listening to the sentimental lyrics sung by Bappi Lahiri and Mahendra Kapoor. Read the rest of this entry »
That Jerry Lee Lewis’ 1957 debut long-playing album includes a song Elvis did and a version of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene” as well as Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” says a lot about the pianist. And American music in a broad sense. Hailing from a Louisiana town west of Natchez, Mississippi and not too far from Vicksburg, the country’s historical problem with consistency pertaining to race and proper justice in general must have been pretty evident in the forties during Lewis’ formative years as a kid. Read the rest of this entry »
By Dave Cantor
“Larry Coryell was an interesting case,” says vibraphonist Gary Burton from a twenty-fourth floor room at a New York City hotel. The sixty-eight-year-old jazzbo ties his onetime guitarist into a group of players, who like himself, strove to again make jazz a popular music during the sixties, a time when rock bands sturdily held the attentions of younger audiences. “He also played with rock groups in clubs and developed this interesting schizophrenic style of playing,” the vibesman says. Coryell’s ability to spit out a few jazz-based ideas, quickly followed by a procession of notes slathered in reverb and a hint of distortion, was an indispensable part of what made Burton’s quartet from 1966 onward an important precursor to bands like Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew crew and the following Mahavishnu Orchestra. Read the rest of this entry »
Music geeks should really be thankful that festivals like All Tomorrow’s Parties and Lollapalooza are able to toss around interesting sums of money, coaxing would-be disbanded acts out of the shadows. The Olivia Tremor Control, which was briefly summoned back to the stage in 2005 for ATP, has become another revival act of sorts after its ten-year hiatus. As a part of the Elephant 6 Collective, a wide ranging association of pop-psych bands including everyone from the Apples in Stereo to Jeff Mangum’s Neutral Milk Hotel, this group gained underground acclaim during its initial run between 1992 and 1999. Releasing a few long-players brought out the major-label vultures and, with reasonable suspicion, the group decided to take a break for a bit in lieu of signing away the rights to new music in order to pull in a big, corporate payday. Read the rest of this entry »
In the years that British Invasion bands dominated the music scene around the world, a group of young Brazilian musicians with a keen eye on the possibilities of rock music began spreading the seeds of what would become the Jovem Guarda (“Young Guard,” as opposed to old guard), a movement that conquered the country’s teens.
Like their British counterparts, those performers wrote their own songs (unlike Brazil’s early rockers, who simply recorded Portuguese versions of American hits), and with a little help from the media, they quickly became Brazil’s first bona-fide rock stars.
At the helm of this group was Roberto Carlos, who was introduced as “Brazil’s Elvis” during live radio broadcasts, and would soon be dubbed “the king” of Brazilian music.
A proof of his appeal at the time is the fact that his 1965 single “Quero Que Va Tudo Para o Inferno” (“I Want Everything To Go To Hell”) topped The Beatles’ “Yesterday” in sales that year in Brazil. Read the rest of this entry »
San Francisco’s The Morning Benders recently released their second full-length record, called “Big Echo,” a swift West Coast collection of chamber-pop with sunshine melodies and beach-bum serenity. Throughout their previous releases—the debut and a bunch of EPs—the band has continually maintained a sweet Sunday-morning sound, relaxed and assured, Shins-like in execution but not at all coy. In fact, one could make the argument that The Morning Benders have more in common with The Beatles than any other pop band; the group’s embracing of that specific pop sound keeps it separated from other West Coast peers. (Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor produced “Big Echo,” and you could immediately tell his impact.) With these types of records it’s difficult for a band to avoid growing tiresome, and The Morning Benders aren’t immune to this—the consistently midtempo tracks blend together after a while and you struggle to keep your mind turned on. Strangely, the melodic haze works, however, and “Big Echo” breathes alive like a breeze felt on an afternoon on the sand. (Tom Lynch)
April 12 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, (773)525-2508, 8pm. $12.
<img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-6232" title="Nouvelle+Vague" src="http://music.newcity.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Nouvelle+Vague-300×202.gif" alt="" widt
h=”300″ height=”202″ />With a hefty dose of coquettish charm and bossa nova kisses, Nouvelle Vague was the feel-good crossover hit of 2004. The release of the French band’s self-titled debut album delighted newfound fans with their penchant for turning seminal punk and new wave tunes into stripped-down acoustic jams, with a parade of international chanteuses adding their worldly flavors to each respective tune. Coupled with their beguiling live show, the band’s playfully refined concept spawned two successful follow-up albums with 2006’s “Bande à Part” and the aptly named “3,” released last June.
The juxtaposition of Nouvelle Vague’s jazzy, bossa nova style and subversive source material, like the Sex Pistols or Violent Femmes (both covered on “3”), might seem central to their appeal, but the actual concept was much simpler.
“I think [Nouvelle Vague is] kind of a tribute to these people, just to reveal their songwriting,” Marc Collin explains from the phone in his Paris studio. “I can always do covers of the Beatles or Prince, but you’ve got to do something about these bands who aren’t that well known for their songwriting—we’re going to try to prove that!” Read the rest of this entry »