Three Takes: Favorite Sonics’ Songs
The Sonics are coming to First Avenue tomorrow night (Sat)! We’re pretty excited about it and you should be too (that is, if you like Garage Rock and/or Punk, both of which this band had a huge influence on). To get ourselves in the mood for the show we are each contributing our favorite Sonics song, as well as a little piece about why:
I could have picked any song off of Here Are The Sonics, as it is one of those albums I can listen to start to finish over and over again, but side two opener “Pyscho” is hard to beat. A more deranged and scuzzy take on the same melody as “Twist and Shout,” it is classic Sonics. Equally bubblegum melodies and barbed wire distortion, it is both commanding and catchy. They are legends of garage rock and grandfathers to punk. They threaded the needle in a way few, in any, have done before or since. “Pyscho” is amazing, but so is just about every song on their classic 1965 debut. Long live The Sonics.
While The Sonics wrote and covered all the popular rock n roll topics of the time (girls, cars, etc) they came out of the gate pretty hard with a few dark singles in the mid 60s. A haunting little melody starts “Strychnine” before things kick into the finest fuzzed out garage rock song about drinking pesticide for fun. Add in a completely fuzzed out guitar solo and you’ve got yourself a good time.
The raucous guitar riff at the center of “The Witch” is one of rock and roll’s grittiest, most dangerous sounding riffs ever. I would put it up there with Link Wray’s “Rumble” as perhaps being the most immediately evocative of all the things I associate with rock and roll: danger, sex, effortless cool, and a rollicking good time. listening to it makes me want to put on shades, light up a smoke, and pocket a switchblade. I wouldn’t advise doing any of those things at First Avenue tomorrow night though – leave rock to the pros.
Queen of France: “She’s Got it Down to a Science” / Show Monday
Queen of France are a local quartet consisting of Iver Hillman, Mark Madison-Kennedy, Marshall Baltzell, and Nik Prenevost. They play indie rock/pop of a jangly, hook-friendly variety, but with hints towards more unconventional aspirations. They recently released a single The Wasted Numbers, consisting of the titular track as well as B-side “She’s Got it Down to a Science.” Personally, I prefer the latter tune, which I feel like I can hear shades of idiosyncratic influences along the lines of Devo and the Talking Heads. You can stream the track below and check out the band this coming Monday at the Turf Club where they will be opening for Fever the Ghost. — Jon
Listen: Drone Not Drones 28 Hour Drone
If you’re human like us you probably didn’t stay awake for the full 28 hours at the Cedar a few weeks ago. Luckily it’s all online now for your listening pleasure. Promises of mastering and a purchasable download are coming soon all benefiting Doctors Without Borders.
Rajjjar Septet: II / Tonight at the Cedar
The 416 Club series has been really excellent this year at the Cedar – we caught great sets from both Kyle Sobczak as well as Joe Horton (and missed some other ones that were excellent by all accounts). Sadly the series is coming to an end for the year, with the last performance happening tonight. This one should be the cherry on the cake though – the incredibly talented Jackie beckey (Brute Heart, Myrrh) has been commissioned to create tonight’s performance (which will feature Mar Harbine, Dreamweapon, Lungs Face Feet, as well as Beckey’s most recent project Rajjjar Septet. You can sample a slow-burning piece of Rajjjar Septet’s music below – and see you at the show this evening!
Web of Sunsets “Wildflowers” (LP release show TONIGHT!)
You’ve heard the outstanding debut 7″ and the first song “Foreign Body” from Room of Monsters, an LP that is now available to music fans in all of its ragged glory. The band have released another song, the somber and serene “Wildflowers,” just in time for their release show tonight (Sat 2/22) at the Turf Club. The local trio have proven adept at creating acid-tinged, hazy folks songs that are breathtakingly beautiful and full of life. If you get stuck in on one of these brutal winter nights, Room of Monsters can be your escapist soundtrack on a late, candlelit night.
While this is a great headphone album, tonight it is worth leaving your fortress as the group will be joined by a great opening lineup of Anonymous Choir, The Cactus Blossoms, and Invisible Boy. Only $10 and worth every penny.
Tribe Called Red (feat Das Racist): “Indians From All Directions” / Show This Saturday
Canadian producer/DJ crew Tribe Called Red are an innovative trio that combines electronic production and rapped lyrics with traditional pow wow chants and drum beats. Not only do they make some great music, but they are also outspoken activists for aboriginal issues and Native heritage. The Tribe will be performing at the Triple Rock Social Club this Saturday night with local rapper Tall Paul and Rez Rap (which is likely a representative/crew from Red Lake’s Rez Rap Records). Tribe Called Red will be supporting their most recent record Nation II Nation, which was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize for Best Canadian Artist. Their self-titled debut record is also available for download here.
PowerTakeOff “Some Gave All”
How do you like your post-punk? If you like it sludgy, obtuse and pummeling, have we got a treat for you. “Some Gave All,” the first song released from the forthcoming PowerTakeOff LP This is Late, out this spring on Learning Curve Records, is a commanding head-trip of ocean liner guitar riffs and obtuse, madcap vocals. Stream the track below and keep an eye out for more information on when the new LP will be crashing the party.
PaviElle: “Be Right There” (And Upcoming Show)
St. Paul’s PaviElle French is a young singer with an old soul – 70’s inspired soul specifically. The singer emulates 70’s R&B/Soul artists like Chaka Khan and in her music seeks to “[honor] the black aesthetic in soul music,” which she fears isn’t something a lot of younger artists care about this day and age. And she makes for an excellent torchbearer – French is blessed with an incredibly dynamic voice, which she has honed over the years as a singer/spoken word poet in Khalil Queen, Everyday People, and as an early member of EduPoetic Enterbrainment). French recently recorded her solo debut record Fear Not under Casey O’Brien’s production (O’Brien also plays bass, and Ted Godbout, Nick Dodd, Ahanti Young, Bryan Highhill, and Tony Beaderstadt round out the studio band, respectively). You can listen to a single off the record below, and check out French at the Icehouse this month where she will be performing on Wednesday the 19th. Fear Not has no release date as of yet, but should be out this coming Spring.
Morgan Delt: “Obstacle Eyes”
Morgan Delt is a young Californian who is clearly influenced by folky 60’s psychedelia (Zombies, Byrds, etc) though he also takes some cues from dream pop recording techniques to create complexly layered songs that evoke a sort of druggy haze. His single “Obstacle Eyes” is, like a total trip, maaaan to use the parlance of the times. Pretty guitar chords lazily float around Delt’s delicately understated vocal delivery, and everything is bathed in a wash of reverb to the point where you start to feel like the echoing is going on inside your head. Delt’s debut full length self-titled record comes out tomorrow via Trouble in Mind.