Monday, February 18, 2019

THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A


PLEASE DON’T CALL US CRAZY:

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A 
with
THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS’ 
Page Burkum and Jack Torrey


STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: EASY WAY is now ready for release. How are you feeling about the project and the reaction you’ve had to it so far?
PAGE BURKUM: Getting a new record out in to the world is a great feeling. People are playing “Please Don’t Call Me Crazy” on the radio and our new songs seem to get a good reaction at our live shows, so hopefully that’s a good sign!

Friday, February 15, 2019

TEENSVILLE RECORDS: Excursions into Sunshine Pop!




If you aren’t familiar with the term Sunshine Pop, chances are you’ve experienced a dose of it without being aware you were listening to it. The genre itself is carefree, breezy, and upbeat – feel-good music that would most certainly brighten up your day. While the name may conjure up images of The Beach Boys or itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikinis, Sunshine Pop is something different. With lush harmony vocals (inspired by Brian Wilson & Co.) and light musical arrangements akin to Folk Rock, Sunshine Pop has also been referred to as Soft Pop but shouldn’t be confused with the sillier (but equally delicious) Bubblegum Pop.

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: DALE WATSON/CALL ME LUCKY


DALE WATSON
CALL ME LUCKY
(Red House Records)

2.15.19


The term ‘Honky-Tonk’ means different things to different people. For some, Honky-Tonk is raw and raucous sub-genre of Country Music. For others, it is a smoky bar with beer-stained floorboards, rowdy patrons, and the constant flow of Country Music. From juke boxes to live music performed by local and traveling musicians, Honky-Tonk bars gave birth to a distinctive style of Country Music. Then again, one can say that Honky-Tonk music helped establish the spirit of a Honky-Tonk bar. So, in this case, it doesn’t matter which came first – both the music and the drinking establishments are now intrinsically linked to each other. However, a bar cannot easily hitch itself to a truck and move from town to town like a Honky-Tonk musician can. This means that the spirit of Honky-Tonk must exist within the music and it is up to the many traveling minstrels to spread its ‘gospel’.  And this brings us to a man who preaches that gospel better than anyone out there: Dale Watson.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

999/THE ALBUMS 1987-2007 (4CD box set) reviewed!

999
THE ALBUMS 1987-2007
(4CDs)
(Captain Oi/Cherry Red Records)



The original British Punk scene rose from the underground in 1976 and turned the music industry upside down… at least temporarily. By the following year, Punk was a cultural phenomenon. However, Synthpop and the commercial side of New Wave dominated the charts just a few years later, sending many of the original bands back underground. Some of the lucky ones - The Clash and Sex Pistols in particular - became the ‘faces’ of Punk, still held in high esteem over four decades later. Alongside Stiff Little Fingers, Buzzcocks, The Damned, Sham 69, and The Adicts, 999 has been unfairly considered a ‘second tier’ band here in the U.S., beloved by the fans yet overlooked when music critics discuss the impact of BritPunk ’77 here in the states. So, it may come as some surprise to casual American fans that 999 is still very active in the UK, playing most of the Punk-oriented festivals each year. More surprising than that, the band is still 3/4ths intact – Nick Cash (guitar/vocals), Guy Days (guitar/vocals) and Pablo LaBritain (drums) are still playing it like they mean it. The Lurkers’ bassist Arturo Bassick is the ‘new kid’, having joined the band 26 years ago. Needless to say, 999 were and remain one of the UK’s finest yet underappreciated original Punk bands.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

SPAZ reviews the two CD deluxe edition of FREIHEIT'S Fantasy!





FREIHEIT
FANTASY
(Expanded 2CD Edition/Cherry Red Records)



Thirty-one years ago, much of America ignored FANTASY by German band Freiheit when it was first released. At a time when New Wave was dying out and Big Hair Metal was on the rise, the album cover’s photo of the group with finely coifed hair didn’t connect with the Synth or Hard Rock kids so it was passed over in the record bins. With little radio airplay, the album looked to be a failure in the U.S. At least for the moment…

Friday, February 8, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BOB MOULD/SUNSHINE ROCK

BOB MOULD
SUNSHINE ROCK

2.8.19

Forty years ago, a Rock artist’s longevity was not something that was guaranteed. The first Rock ‘n’ Roll boom of the ‘50s had been swallowed by the late ‘50s/early ‘60s teen idols. Then those heart throbs were dethroned by the British Invasion. That joyful racket was overcome by the Summer Of Love/Hippy scene of 1967. And so on… Like any industry, the new kids were constantly replacing the old guard, who would then reluctantly slip into the shadows and wait for nostalgia to make them momentarily relevant again. The four Beatles (among others) made it work but a lot of their contemporaries had been left behind, lost in a time warp and destined to play the oldies circuit for the rest of their careers. By 1979, artists and the industry were more understanding when it came to making hit records and extending an artist’s career. However, the Punk movement was initially viewed as a novelty by the bigwigs and while the industry capitalized on Punk’s commercial appeal, they certainly didn’t expect any of the artists to last beyond a two or three-year window, just like any other musical movement that came along since the days of Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. Over time, we have learned that nearly every artist from every genre was capable of something much more than their “15 minutes of fame”. As for the unruly Punk kids, Bob Mould was going to break the mold (semi-pun intended)…

Thursday, February 7, 2019

COCK SPARRER: Ten Reasons


Ten Reasons Why You Should Love:

COCK SPARRER


Apart from a few hiatuses over the years, Cock Sparrer is the UK’s longest-standing Punk outfit.  Formed in 1972, the band’s unique take on raw Rock ‘n’ Roll and Glam evolved in their early years, eventually becoming a melodic blast of energy that coincided with Punk’s emergence in 1976. Although they did not align themselves with the first wave of notorious UK Punk bands (The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned, etc.), Cock Sparrer become one of the most popular Oi/Street Punk bands of the era. And 47 years after their formation, they are still as relevant as they ever were, if not more so.

And why didn’t they hit bigger in the U.S.? Well, perhaps they were ‘too British’ for the average American. Or maybe it was all in the band’s name… 


At their core, Cock Sparrer is a great Rock ‘n’ Roll band. In many ways, they are the bridge between early Status Quo and classic Buzzcocks with some UK Subs and Sweet thrown in for good measure. On the other hand, they are entirely unique. The quintet features four original members – vocalist Colin McFaull, lead guitarist Micky Beaufoy, bassist Steve Burgess and drummer Steve Bruce – plus ‘new kid’ Daryl Smith on guitar, who joined the line-up 27 years ago. Cock Sparrer may be part of the Oi and Street Punk movements but, to be honest, it is extremely difficult to pigeonhole the band. Luckily, if you are not yet a fan, you can start anywhere in their catalog and work your way backwards or forwards (or both).

Cock Sparrer’s songs are melodic anthems that speak TO the people. Without any pretentions whatsoever, the band has always presented themselves as equals with their audience because they ARE equals. They sing about real issues that affect us all. Instead of always giving the government the finger, they offer their audience a sense of hope. They deal with global issues as well as personal politics straight from the pub. Many of their songs are hook-filled anthems that will stick in your head long after they are done spinning on your turntable/CD player/iPod. And in the 41 years since their debut recordings on Decca Records were released, they’ve offered listeners top quality songwriting and energetic performances right up through their most recent album FOREVER (2017).

One of their most recent songs, “Every Step Of The Way,” may not have been written with their own music in mind, but it is safe to say that Cock Sparrer’s recorded output could easily offer the encouragement that many of their fans need in tough times: “I'll be there, every step of the way/The voice inside that gives you hope to face another day/I'll be there, every step of the way/The strength to give you courage to fight another day.” Long live Cock Sparrer.


Captain Oi/Cherry Red Records released TWO Cock Sparrer boxsets in 2018 containing the band’s entire studio output (plus a live set) and both boxes are essential additions to your collection. The first box – THE ALBUMS 1978-87 – contains the albums COCK SPARRER (1978), SHOCK TROOPS (1983), RUNNING RIOT IN ’84 and LIVE AND LOUD (1987), all with bonus material. The second box – THE ALBUMS 1994-2017 – includes the albums GUILTY AS CHARGED (1994), TWO MONKEYS (1997), HERE WE STAND (2007) and FOREVER (2017), all but FOREVER including bonus tracks. The band may not have been as prolific as their contemporaries but we’ll take quality over quantity and day. Bear in mind that most of these are out of print separately so this is a great deal.


If you’ve never heard Cock Sparrer, here are ‘Ten Reasons’ why you should love them. With so many great songs to choose from, I’ve chosen 10 tracks that should serve as a proper introduction to the band. Longtime fans may find many great songs missing and/or disagree with my choices, but I choose these in hopes that they will attract the unconverted to the mighty Cock Sparrer catalog. They are in random order...


1. "Every Step Of The Way"

2. "A.U."

3. "Because You're Young"


4. "Runnin' Riot"

5. "We're Coming Back"

6. "Nothing Like You"

7. "Take 'Em All"

8. "Working"


9. "England Belongs To Me"


10. "Too Late"


Keep on truckin',
Stephen THE CHANCELLOR Schnee