Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Garage Rock Op-Ed - Fleshtones, Jarvis Humby, The Blues Vans

Garage RockSunday, July 31, 2005

Critically a sonic line exists: PN (PreNirvana) and AN (After Nirvana). After a dirth of hodge, “rock” seems to be cool again; that wonderful sound of energy & exhalation. During the ‘60’s a niche of rock, adored by critics, was born called Garage Rock (GR). GR came about in the ‘60’s when kids, listening to their AM transistor radios, began to emulate the sounds they were hearing. Generally, GR is simple songs that are propelled by heaps of enthusiasm, a dash of talent & finesse, strong keyboard presence, heavy bass, an occasionally harmonica, flailing drums and slashing yet simple guitar riffs. Having rock n’ roll hearts Jim Morrow (The Front), Jim Fleming (The Confidentials), and in some instances Homer’s Manager Charlie Burton are fine local examples of GR.

Recently three GR albums came out that reinvigorated my lumbar - the best of which is;

Artist: Jarvis Humby,
Title: Assume the Position It’s Jarvis Humby,
Rating: Better than Very Good.

Not since the debut album by Jamie Cullem album have I rated an album this highly. Other than it’s basic sound this record has nothing to do with blues. Recorded in the bustling backwaters of Stockton-On-Tees in England this band demonstrates an ample understanding of the history of great rock albums. Throughout the album they tip their hat to the bands that made rock an artform. In their liner notes they thank, “Dylan, Muddy Waters, The Animals, and The MGs” (as in Booker T). The montage on the cover includes a pimply young Keith Richards, a Sgt. Pepper era Ringo Starr & a psychedelic George Harrison, a photo of Who bass player John Entwistle in his Mod London finest, the cover of the Small Faces’ Nut Gone Flake album, and the Grateful Dead’s Mr. Natural cartoon figure. From the onset this bands throws all the furniture in a heap in the corner in order to make room for their powerful, danceable, short songs. On the second track, ‘These Eyes’ Jarvis Humby plays a smokin’ Sitar solo that makes Brian Jones roll over to tell Tschakowsky the news. I adore this album.

Artist: The Blue Vans,
Title: The Art of Rolling,
Rating: Good + / Niche

Hailing from Scandinavia The Blue Vans have delved back into Rock’s Heyday via’ Paul Weller’s Jam to dig up the spirit of Pete Townshend’s Who. This is a band that is full of the swagger of youth. Their lyrics speak of teenage angst, social revolution and all those idealistic things that a young man believes yet an old man knows better. From the cover artwork to the tracks inside this is a high energy GR album that evokes ‘Live At Leeds’ with shorter jams and borderline mayhem. The album’s last song, New Slough’ includes an extended jam that brings the listener onto the stage and into the fold. Without being voyeuristic this is a beautiful album and lacks the pretense that similar “indie” rock titles seems to thrive on. This is simple bash & pop destine to be a hidden gem that a listener takes out once or twice a year and marvels in its pop-art.

Artist: The Fleshtones
Title: Beachhead
Rating: Good / Niche

Sloppy, aggressive, gobs of guitar fuzz and very New York Dolls-ish, The Fleshtones are back: which brings up Mr. Hartsock’s joke (usually associate with Barbara Streisand), “How can we miss you when you won’t go away?” (I am joking!) Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, The ‘Tones have been around for decades and seem to linger on the brink of shooting up to the next level and a larger audience. This is a band that rocks because it’s members probably don’t know what else to do. Their new album, Beachhead, is remarkable in that it’s better than most of their previous efforts and with their label’s (Yep Roc) growing presence in the market it leaves me hopeful that with the apparent resurgence of the GR sound they may bring this band to the forefront. As the title suggests this band may be landing in a spot from which to begin taking over the world! Group chanting, harmonica breaks, heavy guitar riffs, and bowery heartaches this is a band that sounds very East Coast and ripe. It’s hard not to love an underdog. The Fleshtones are never going to be mainstream but then that adds to their mystic.

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