Recommended Album: Mozes and the Firstborn

Mozes and the Firstborn

Mozes and the Firstborn take a dip somewhere in Germany.

Mozes and the Firstborn play a brand of Garage that’s equal parts California, Pop, and Stoner. While their sound carries a West Coast vibe the band hails from the Netherlands – and their excellent self titled debut was recently released in the States by Burger Records.

“I Got Skills” is the stand-out single with an undeniable sing-song hook that just seems destined to play in a future Volkswagen ad or something – however, it’s tracks like “What’s Wrong Momma” and “Skinny Girl” that give Mozes real depth and hopefully show these Dutch cats may stick around for a bit. Mozes will be playing at the Brighton Music Hall with other label mates from Burger (Cherry Glazer, Pangea, & more) on 10/29.

Recommended If You Like: Jeff the Brotherhood, Wavves, Harlem

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New Music: Shintaro Sakamoto – Let’s Dance Raw

Shintaro Sakamoto

Shintaro Sakamoto

Shintaro Sakamoto, best known for his time fronting the Japanese psychedelic band Yura Yura Teikoku, has ventured out on his own for what’s become an equally exciting journey. Let’s Dance Raw, which is set to be released via Other Music Recording Co. (distributed by Fat Possum) on September 19th takes a further step into the lush soundscapes Sakamoto’s been exploring since going solo. He combines 70′s AM radio mixed with Japanese Pop and Tropicalia rhythms making for a verdant musical landscape.

Recommended If You Like: Ariel Pink, Donnie & Joe Emerson, John Maus

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Always Dress In Black – The Too Soon Funeral of The Blackjacks

The Blackjacks

The Blackjacks burned too fast, and as a result are grossly under appreciated.

The Blackjacks should have been to Boston what The Replacements were to Minneapolis – a revered, influential, flawed, and cornerstone band. Instead they went off the rails too soon leaving two killer records as their epitaph wrapped in a whole bunch of what-if’s. Playing snarled rock in near drag was not normal in mid-80′s Boston, and despite some moderate local success, the band never got past their own demons or insecurities. Both Basic Blackjacks and Dress In Black are absolutely essential albums – and as far as Boston rock goes, should be mentioned in the same breath as The Real Kids and Modern Lovers, but they’re not because they let substance derail their junk train – total bummer.

Reading Boston Rock Archives biography on the Blackjacks is another must – where quotes like the below bring into focus why their music was so potent, raw, and short lived.

After the gig, Angel was out-of-control enraged, and his bandmates dosed his beer with Valium to try and sedate him, not knowing he’d already downed a handful of the benzo’s. Out for three days.

Recommended If You Like: The Replacements, Mid-70′s Stones, MC5

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New Music: OVENS (Tony Molina) 7″ via Melters

If Tony Molina's playing guitar, I'm listening.

If Tony Molina’s playing guitar, I’m listening.

The first time I heard Tony Molina play guitar it was something of a revelation. His song’s are written, played, and structured like a curt and finely crafted Hemingway sentence. There’s all power, zero bullshit, and certainly no filler. He leaves you wanting more while also being thoroughly satisfied with what you’ve had. This type of editing will power and control is a rare feat to pull off, and his ability to fit so much into so little is a testament to both his Hardcore roots as well as his pop orientated ear.

Molina’s 2013 LP Dissed And Dismissed clocks in at just under 15 minutes and it’s one of my favorite albums of the past few years. OVENS was recorded by Kurt Bloch from The Fastbacks back in 2005 and is the second recording they ever did as a band, and like his other work – it totally slays.

Recommended If You Like: Metal face Weezer, Short Attention Span Thin Lizzy

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New Music: Susan Debut first 7″ on Volar

LA power-pop trio Susan bring it on their debut 7"

LA power-pop trio Susan bring it on their debut 7″

The LA based trio Susan will be debuting their first 7″ via Volar Records this coming September, and you can hear the first of three tracks – “Just Call It” – below. Susan recently completed a West Coast tour and will be back at it this Fall to support the Volar 7″ as well as a cassette to be put out via Burger Records. Susan’s gorgeous three part harmonies drive their songs with bright sun soaked tones masking some cloudy commentary. This dichotomy of conflict make for some memorable tunes, and this 7″ is hopefully the first of many memories.

Recommended If You Like: Cherry Glazer, Speedy Ortiz, Fat Creeps

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Think Summer In The Milky Ways – Review of Guided By Voices at Paradise Rock Club

Guided By Voices in swagger on the Paradise stage. (Photo - D. Hixon)

Guided By Voices swagger about the Paradise stage. (Photo – D. Hixon)

Guided By Voices
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, 07/14/14

This more tome than setlist. (Photo - K.Gartland)

This is more tome than setlist. (Photo – K.Gartland)

Bam. Boom. Pop. Crackle.

My right arm is extra tender these days. There’s a deep, dark, and ugly bruise that extends from my forearm to the middle of my triceps. It’s embarrassingly large, yet I have no clue how I came to acquire such a mark. All I know is that there was Saturday. There was Guided By Voices. And there was me with no voice come Sunday.

Nearly 50 songs were played in a set that included three encores, multiple Uncle Bob kicks, and a crowd that was fervently lucid. It was constant, loud, and well received. This show was different from the last time GBV were in Boston. That was at the apex of their classic lineup victory tour. That was a show to celebrate days gone past. This was a show to celebrate days still here – and with a killer mix of both yesterday and today they achieved just that.

The sun will rise. The sun will set. And Guided By Voices will be playing and putting out great music. To think, I thought the 4th of July was eight days earlier  – and like bright lights dimming in the sky, it’s a shame this bruise is gonna fade.

Bam. Boom. Pop. Crackle.

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Episode 62 – The Song Sounds the Same

The Song Sounds the Same - (D. Hixon)

The Song Sounds the Same - (Acrylic – D. Hixon)

“The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief. He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” - Othello (Act I, Scene III)

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

All music is derivative. Science has shown for centuries that in order to move forward you must advance what those before you have accomplished. You stand on the shoulders of giants, make footprints on virgin ground, and raise the bar for generations that follow. This rule also rings true for musicians.

Recorded Music is in it’s infancy, clocking in at just under 140 years old. That’s not a very long time given proper perspective, but in this brief period we’ve reaped the benefits of influence. Each genre and sub-genre of music is the result of different styles, experience, and taste colliding together. Jazz, Rock, and Hip-Hop would not exist without the Blues, America’s great art.

That said, you should give credit where it’s properly due – especially when you’re grossly profiting from those whose shoulders you’re standing on. I believe all four members of Led Zeppelin are some of the most technical and accomplished musician’s at their respective instruments – but the lack of credit given to those who laid the mason work for the mansions they now roam gives haste to my praise. I’ll never doubt their influence or talent – but I’ll always question their originality, integrity, and truth in perception.

  1. Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie - When the Levee Breaks (1929) – Originally recorded in 1929, all four members of Led Zeppelin took equal writing credit along with the true author, Memphis Minnie, on Led Zeppelin IV in 1971.
  2. Muddy Waters - You Shook Me (1962) - Led Zeppelin covered “You Shook Me” on their 1969 self-titled debut. They took no writing or arraignment credit on this track.
  3. Lead Belly – The Gallis Pole (1939) – Popularized by Lead Belly in the 30′s and covered on Zeppelin III in 1970 as “Gallows Pole” – Page & Plant took arraignment credit for a traditional song that was over a hundred years old.
  4. Howlin’ Wolf - Killing Floor (1964) - Zeppelin covered this five years after the original on their 1969 sophomore album Zeppelin II as “Lemon Song” – and took equal writing credit with Chester Burnett, aka Howlin’ Wolf, aka The Guy Who Really Wrote The Song.
  5. Blind Willie Johnson - It’s Nobody’s Fault but Mine (1927) – A traditional song first recorded by Blind Willie in 1927. Plant and Page released their cover of  “It’s Nobody’s Fault but Mine” nearly 50 years later on Zeppelin’s 1976 album Presence. All credit was given to Page & Plant.
  6. Moby Grape - Never (1968) - Zeppelin borrowed this song from Moby Grape two years after the initial release. “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, for all intents and purposes is the same song, and was credited to only Jones, Page, and Plant on Zeppelin III – two years later in 1970.
  7. Jake Holmes - Dazed and Confused (1967) - Jimmy Page settled out of court with Jake Holmes over copyright infringement in 2010. Holmes version of the song was released two years before Zeppelin’s.
  8. Bert Jansch – Black Waterside (1966)Jimmy Page borrowed heavily from Bert Jansch’s version of this traditional song on “Black Mountain Side” which was released on Zeppelin’s 1969 debut.
  9. Bobby Parker - Watch Your Step (1961) – Page ripped this riff and used it on “Moby Dick”, released in 1969. No credit was given to Bobby Parker. To be fair The Beatles also ripped this riff on “Day Tripper” and “I Feel Fine”.
  10. The Plebs - Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (1964) – Originally written by Anne Bredon in the late 50′s (performed by The Plebs here) – Page and Plant gave no credit to Bredon in 1969 and took arrangement credit for themselves, when in fact they were covering a Joan Baez version of the song. In 1990 Bredon received a substantial back-payment of royalties after becoming aware of the song.
  11. Otis Rush - I Can’t Quit You Baby (1956) – Another song covered on their 1969 debut, all credit was given to Willie Dixon, who wrote this blues standard. Rush was the first to record the song.
  12. Blind Willie Johnson - In My Time Of Dying Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed (1927) – This traditional gospel song’s lyrics were first Published in 1925 in A Chronicle of Unknown Singers, based on Louisiana street performers. Zeppelin took all credit on Physical Graffiti in 1975.
  13. Spirit - Taurus (1968) – In 1968 Zeppelin opened for Spirit and Page subsequently stole the open for the most famous (and lucrative) song in Rock and Roll history – “Stairway to Heaven”. Spirit are now seeking legal action for a song that reportedly has generated $526 million.
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