Recently, I had the opportunity to interview The Venetian, a Los Angeles music artist whose music emulates the theatrical rock of Queen. See for yourself.
The Venetian is currently working on a new EP that tells the tale of a man who comes across an abandoned town that is both familiar and strange to him. In the meantime, if you like the sound in the video, you can download the debut album I Wanna Tell You a Story available on Bandcamp.
Well loyal reader, here we are again. It’s our weekly Dudesday celebrating the ethos of one Jeffery Lebowski (at least that’s the handle his lovin’ parents gave him). Yes, I know I didn’t do a Take ‘Er Easy Thursday post last week, but that was only because I was working on publishing the May issue of the magazine. But enough of that. Let’s get on with takin’ ‘er easy.
Will you just take it easy, man?
The Dualers is a band I featured once upon a Ska Saturday, but this band has a song that fits right in there for our theme. Before writing about the song, I should say that this post is largely inspired by my four-year-old son who discovered The Dualers in my iTunes and really grooved to this song. “Take It Easy” (no, it is most certainly not a cover of The Eagles, man!) has the perfect combination of melody and message. The melody is a real easygoing one that is perfect for just relaxing. Then you get the message and it’s just one great line after another. The chorus states, “Take your time, no need to hurry. Take it easy, there’s no need to worry.” Is that Dudely or what? After a brief freakout in which The Dude and Walter don’t make the exchange for Bunny, The Dude realizes that the whole thing is out of his control and he just needs to take it easy.
Then chew on these lyrics:
If you fall from the race
there’s no disgrace
just pick yourself from off the ground.
Sure, those are words we should all live by. When you look at The Dude, he gets knocked out, drugged, and hit in the head with a coffee mug. But he just keeps abiding. And really, isn’t that how the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuating itself? You fall, you pick yourself up, and ultimately you abide. I take comfort in that. That about wraps ‘er up, don’tcha think? Until next time, you take ‘er easy. I know that you will.
Loyal reader, I hope you don’t mind that I’m doubling up on the funk this week. Yes, I have the weekly Funk Friday feature, but what am I supposed to do when a new album from Here Come the Mummies is available this week? Besides, can anyone legitimately complain about too much funk?
The album kicks off with “You Know the Drill.” This song begins with some funk that brings Average White Band to mind. It will get your head and your hips moving. Then it breaks into the sort of guitar solo you’d expect from Living Colour. It’s an interesting blend of funk, hard rock, and psychedelia.
Funk is the meat and potatoes of this band, but it does a good job varying the sound from one song to the next. “Chaperone” is a blend of 70s R&B with some hard rock guitar. “Devil Better Run” sounds like it should be the anthem for some underdog movie. It has that sound that would go perfectly with the underdog overcoming all odds to accomplish what seems impossible. “Cruel Old Sun” has a good funk base, but it also has a good reggae groove. So, just to recap, this band covers funk, hard rock, psychedelia, anthemic rock, and reggae. Did I mention that’s all in the first five songs of the album?
If you asked me to pick one favorite song on the album, I’d say “Petting Zoo.” As you might imagine, it’s not about a place you take the kids. The lyrics in this song are genius. Rather than detail the lyrics for you, I’ll just invite you to listen for yourself.
If you like to get funky, Cryptic from Here Come the Mummies is a must to add to your collection.
Pop quiz, loyal reader. One of my favorite kinds of musical groups is:
A. Barbershop quartet
B. Rock n roll duo
If you guessed B, you are absolutely correct. So when something like Peligrosos y Ruiduosos comes along, it’s a bit like Christmas for me. This compilation features four garage rock n roll duos representing: Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Spain. Now, there is one little catch. Normally, I would link to the album right here. And I guess in a way I am. Only it’s not in album form. It’s in a podcast that’s all in Spanish. I don’t understand everything in the podcast, but a lack of understanding of the words has never stopped me from enjoying some music.
Available now from Veneno Records
The podcast begins with The Sucks from Colombia. This band is everything you could want from a primitive garage rock duo. The guitar is fuzzy and the drummer drives the song with a rapid but primitive beat in songs that are both uptempo and short. I didn’t catch the name of the song, but if I didn’t know any better, I would swear the second song by this band was recorded in a basement in the 60s.
After three songs from The Sucks, the focus goes to Chiquita y Chatarra from Spain. The first song from this band is a primitive gem. The second song in this set is the first one sung in English. This definitely has the lo-fi garage sound, but it also has a little soul influence. The melody of “Naked on the Beach” sounds like it could be in a movie about a super-spy. I almost expect to see someone sneaking around a building when I hear this one.
Los Chicos Problema is the next band in the podcast and immediately you experience a song that’s like a sonic punch to your stomach that’s not as firm as it used to be. Geo’s vocals in this song bring both The Trashmen and Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! to mind.
The final band on the podcast is one of my favorites: Horror Deluxe. I will never complain about hearing the songs of this Brazilian duo. And why would I complain. Rogerio plays a wonderfully fuzzy guitar and provides vocals that would be perfect for a B monster movie. Prix provides the perfect beat for the fuzzy guitar and vocals that are heavy on the reverb.
Peligrosos y Ruiduosos is available now from Veneno Records. Do yourself a favor and add this to your record collection.
I’ve been featuring a lot of bands recently that straddle the line between modern rockabilly and psychobilly. And of course I dig the sound of those bands. But I also enjoy a band that has that classic rockabilly sound. Tennessee Voodoo Coupe definitely has the classic hillbilly-rockabilly sound with a touch of swing. It’s very clean, and pretty simple stuff that sounds like it was recorded decades ago.
The combination of swing and hillbilly sounds from this band immediately brings Pee Wee King to mind (minus the accordion of course). It’s easy to imagine this being a hit with both the cowboy hat and pompadour crowds. The guitar in “Teenage Boogie” reminds me a lot of Junior Brown. That can’t be a bad thing. I realistically can’t compare many people to Junior Brown.
This is music for your local honky tonk. The sounds of Tennessee Voodoo Coupe would get people two-stepping and swinging on the dance floor. I can also think of one old-time barber shop where I could imagine hearing this band playing while customers get their pompadours touched up. This is real simple. If you like old-fashioned hillbilly music, you’er going to dig Tennessee Voodoo Coupe.
It’s not surprising to learn that The Welch Boys is a Boston band. From the very beginning of the title track, you can draw comparisons to a couple other Boston bands. The lead vocals have the same deep and gritty quality you get from Dicky Barrett. The backing vocals on the other hand remind me a lot more of Dropkick Murphys with a lot of voices shouting loud and proud.
Speaking of Dropkick Murphys, you know how their albums are just one high-energy song after another? (OK, so the band mixes in the occasional ballad.) Well, The Welch Boys follow suit. Every song on the upcoming album Bring Back the Fight is a true punk song. In other words, all of these tunes are loud and fast songs that make you want to either blast the music out your windows or punch someone. OK, maybe not punch, but if you’re walking down the street with this on your iPod, chances are pretty good that you’ll want to jump into the nearest guy wearing a suit and hope to start a circle pit right there on the sidewalk. I’ll tell you this much: if “Hit It and Quit It” doesn’t get your adrenaline going, i’m not sure there’s a tune that will.
You know how some drinking songs are slow and others kind of play on words? Neither of those is the case with “Whiskey and Beer.” The band makes it pretty simple. “I want whiskey and beer.” It doesn’t get more straightforward than that. The song is only a little more than a minute and a half, so if you’re using this as a song for a bout of drinking, it’s definitely suited to shooting whiskey or shotgunning beers.
Bring Back the Fight will be available on 13 June from Sailor’s Grave Records. If you’re a fan of real punk rock made to be played at irresponsibly loud volumes, this album belongs in your collection.
I’m the first to admit that I don’t always get social media. I use them, but I’m not someone who spends a lot of time camping out on social media sites. That being said, I definitely find some use in social media. Earlier this week, The Screw-Ups followed me on Twitter and voila! now the band is the featured artist for Ska Saturday.
The band’s Bandcamp page states that this is a reggae/ska/punk band. It certainly is a reggae-ska band although I’d say this leans more toward Madness than a ska-punk band. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Madness after all, wrote a lot of catchy songs with just the right amount of pop. This band is pretty similar. It has ridiculously catchy melodies that are not only easygoing, but also easy to sing along with. If you’re looking for a real good Madness comparison, just check out “New Song.”
One of the great things about ska is that it is super-catchy. Well, if it’s catchy you want, The Screw-Ups have that in spades. Get out those two-tone wingtips and dance along to the cool sounds of The Screw-Ups.