Thursday, February 14, 2019

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Alien Space Kitchen, Full Speed Veronica and King Shark

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 15, 2018



Nothing like some loud and local apocalyptic garage-punk space-pop to get your blood circulating on such a winter’s day. Who’s serving that purpose for me lately? It’s The Golden Age of Climate Change by an Albuquerque band called Alien Space Kitchen.

This seven-song, 26-minute EP is a refreshing blast of raunchy riffs, rump-shaking beats, simple but addictive melodies, and irreverent lyrics about planetary suicide.

Alien Space Kitchen has been around for nearly a decade. They started out as a duo featuring singer Dru Vaughter and drummer/vocalist Noelle Graney. (Originally they called themselves “Dr. Rox” and “Chiffon,” respectively, but those monikers didn’t last.) Their first album, Just ASK, was released in 2012. Sometime before 2016’s Some of This Is True, they picked up a permanent bass player, Terry “Mess” Messal, who helped solidify the Space Kitchen’s sound.

At the moment, my favorite track on this record is “In the Mud,” in which Vaughter sings matter-of-factly, “Back in swamp, deep in the water/Weather’s getting warmer, world is getting hotter.” Though other tunes here have similar messages — how to cope when the world is headed for a boiling point — Vaughter never seems preachy. It’s like he’s conjuring troubling images with a smile on his face, while his guitar screams in rage.

Another worthy one is “Who Controls the Weather,” which unabashedly veers down the conspiracy rabbit hole. Of course, they’re being tongue-in-cheek here … I think … (Remember, this is the same band that did a song called “How to Fake a Lunar Landing” on Some of This Is True.) The song ends with Vaughter and Graney singing, repeatedly, “The world is run on gasoline/I’m gonna destroy your weather machine ...”

Also impressive is “Down in Flames,” a crunching — and rather paranoid — rocker with the grim refrain, “It’s all going down in flames/It’s never going to be the same/God damn, ain’t that a shame?” Though the lyrics are dire, there’s a strong glimmer of hope just in the way Vaughter and Graney sing it. Maybe I’m nuts, but I think I detect a knowing wink in the delivery.

Like most good EPs, The Golden Age of Climate Change leaves a listener wanting just a little more. The good news is that more might be just around the corner. This record has a subtitle: The ASK EP Project – Volume 1. “This series of themed EPs will cover a broad range of topics and styles,” the website says. “ASK’s current mission is to release a new volume with a new theme and new songs approximately every 3 months.”

Here’s hoping the Space Kitchen crew follow through on that.

Some other recent New Mexico records:

* June 31 by Full Speed Veronica. It’s another rocking little trio that hails from this Enchanted Land. Guitarist Malcolm June and drummer Matt Worley started the band as a quartet with bassist Nathan Hey and someone named Brandon back in 2008. Hey left the group in 2016 and was replaced by Sarah Meadows. Like June, she’s an alumna of early 21st-century New Mexico rockers The Hollis Wake (and a former arts editor of the Santa Fe Reporter).

Though definitely guitar-centric, Full Speed Veronica is less punky than, say, Alien Space Kitchen. Their melodic sound actually is closer to folk-rock, though they don’t sound much like The Byrds. Fortunately, they also don’t sound much like Three Dog Night or Billy Joel, both of whom are included in Veronica’s lengthy list of influences on their Facebook page. (But I would kind of like to hear them do a version of “Mama Told Me Not to Come.”)

Among the standouts on June 31 are the opening song, “Barnburner,” which has hints of Byrdsy jangle and Dinosaur Jr. roar; the slow, minor-key “A Month of Sundays,” which starts out with June on acoustic guitar; and the soulful “The Great Escape,” which features Meadows on vocals.

Check out Full Speed Veronica's Bandcamp page. You’ll find June 31 there as well as their previous two albums — Always Play the Part and Been Known to Lie, which are available for “name your own price.”


* Walk in the Light and Dub to the Ite’s by King Shark. Alphanso Henclewood, the man behind the Shark, has lived in these parts for most of the last couple of decades, but he was born in Jamaica, the Greenwich Farm district of Kingston, to be exact. And it’s there where Henclewood returns every so often to record himself and his friends playing old-school reggae.

According to a story in the Jamaica Observer last March, King Shark was there for “his most ambitious recording sessions to date” for which he “assembled a crack team of musicians to cut tracks for an album he hopes to release this year.”

The story mentioned two songs — “Walk in the Light” and “Love Revolution,” which he recorded at the famous Tuff Gong studio. That “crack team” included guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith, who has played with too many major reggae musicians to list here, and who is a boyhood friend of Shark’s.

Walk in the Light consists of several versions and mixes of the two songs mentioned in the Observer. So a listener gets to know both songs inside out. My favorite tracks are the “Straight Mix” of the title song and the stripped-down Kete Drums mix of “Love Revolution.”

The other new album under the King Shark banner, Dub to the Ite’s, features ten instrumentals with Smith and other stalwarts of the Shark’s impressive stable.

But wait, there’s more.

Shark also has a new various-artist compilation, Kingston 13,  which he produced, including singers like Pretty Rebel, U Mike, Peter Rankin, and Candyman. My favorite tunes here, though — “Got Feelings 4u” and “I Like to Know” — are love songs performed by a sweet-voiced female duo, Amanda & Queen Lydia Garcia.

King Shark’s albums can be found at CD Baby, The Kingston 13 compilation also is CD Baby.

Here are some videos

Unfortunately I couldn't find any of Alien Space Kitchen's new songs. But here is one called "Alien Agenda" from their previous album:



Here's Full Speed Veronica doing "Barnburner" on the Santa Fe Plaza last May


All hail King Shark!



THROWBACK THURSDAY: Rollin' 'round Heaven


Sorry, I couldn't find the version "Lucky Old Sun" by this Japanese surf band. 

When I was just a kid, while listening to the radio one night, way past my bedtime, I heard a song that shook me because it was just so sad -- the saddest song I'd ever heard up to then.

It was Ray Charles' 1960s version of a song that had been covered by many major singers for more than a decade before. "That Lucky Old Sun." It was from his 1963 album Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul.

Remember, I was just a kid, and wasn't familiar with previous versions by several major artists. Brother Ray made a huge impression that's lasted nearly 60 years. I could feel depths of sorrow and frustration as Charles sang, "I fuss with my woman, toil with my kids/Sweat 'til I'm wrinkled and gray/I know that lucky old sun has nothin' to do/But roll around heaven all day."

Note: In other versions I've heard, the lyrics are "... fuss with my woman toil for my kids ..." But by singing "toil with my kids" made it sound like the singer was so depressed that even playing with his kids was a burden. That's just one of the things that hit me when I first heard Ray sing it.

But man other artists have recorded the song, which was written by   Beasley Smith (who with Owen Bradley co-wrote the Roy Acuff hit "Night Train to Memphis") with lyrics by Haven Gillespie -- who co-wrote "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town."

"That Lucky Old Sun" first hit the world in 1949 with versions by  by Frankie Lane,  Frank Sinatra, Vaughn Monroe and Louis Armstrong. Since then it's also been recorded by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Sam & Dave, Dean Martin, Sarah Vaughan and countless others.

Here are some other covers.

The Killer downright killed it



Here's Big Mama Thornton



The Velvets did a pop doo-wop version



The Lucky Old Sons of the Pioneers took it to the campfire



Brian Wilson in 2008 created a song cycle around the song.



Leon Russell recorded this on the last album he released during his life, 2014's Life Journey.



Still, none of these match the power and glory of the Ray Charles version that first shook me as a child.









Sunday, February 10, 2019

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, February 10, 2019
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Don't Try It by The Devil Dogs
One the One by Lonesome Shack
Love Handle by Jon Spencer
Cut Me Down by The Ar-Kaics
Last Peace by The Oh Sees
Pero te Amo (But I Love You) by Reverend Beat-Man with Izobel Garcia
Don't Run, We're Your Friends by The Scaners
Barrelhouse Queen by J.D. Hangover
Greasy Moves by Oh! Gunquit

Into the Sun / The Galaxy Explodes by The Mekons
Healy Wavin' by Mekons 77
The Great Escape by Full Speed Veronica
Who Controls the Weather by Alien Space Kitchen
Sharkey's Night by Laurie Anderson
All Men Are Liars by Nick Lowe

Love for Higher by Dirty Fences
Rhesus Christ by The Fezz
Old n Cold by A Pony Named Olga
Hide & Seek by St. Louis & The Walking Dead
Walk in the Light (Straight Mix) by King Shark
Beer, Broads and Brats by The Polkaholics
Punk Rock Girl by Philly Boy Roy

It's All Right / Sentimental Reasons by Sam Cooke
All I Wanna Do by The War & Treaty
Last Train to Sanesville by Martha Fields
Deerslayer by DBUK
Sand by OP8
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Want to keep the party going after I sign off at midnight?
Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast CLICK HERE

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

WACKY WEDNESDAY: The Shaving Cream Variations



Last week in Terrell's Tune-Up I reviewed the new punk-rock tribute to Dr. Demento, which contains not one, but versions of the Demento classic "Shaving Cream" by the late, great Benny Bell. East Coast kiddy-show host Uncle Floyd Vivino does both versions -- one with "punk rock lyrics," the other with original lyrics.

In case you are not aware of this masterpiece, here's the 1946 original:


But Bell and Uncle Floyd aren't the only ones to ever sing "Shaving Cream." And I'm not talking about Phil Winston aka Paul Wynn, who actually supplied the vocals on Bell's original. This song's been around the world.

It popped up in The Netherlands in 1969 by a band called The Cats.



The song gained a following in Jamaica, where in the '70s it was recorded by a group called The Fabulous Five. Then, in the late '80s, a band called The Jollys put the mento in Demento with this version.



American folk monster Dave Van Ronk did a funny take on this funny song. (You gotta listen til the very end)



Taking Van Ronk's interpretation a few levels beyond, a few years ago The Melvin grabbed the shaving cream and blew it to Smithereens.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, February 3, 2019
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Fishheads by Osaka Popstar
Do Yourself In by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Louie Louie by Iggy Pop
Haunted by The Sloths
Down i Flames by Alien Space Kitchen
Snake Drive by R.L. Burnside & The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Ain't Gonna Take No Mess by Cedric Burnside
Past the Ditch by Lonesome Shack
Telephone Man by Quintron & Miss Pussycat

10 Years Gone: R.I.P. Lux

Bend Over, I'll Drive by The Cramps
Garbage Man by William Shatner
Bikini Girls With Machine Guns by The Cramps

The Wedding Dice by The Flesh Eaters
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle by Lolita No. 18
Biff Bang Pow by Jake Starr & The Delicious Fullness
The Swamp by Slocks


Buddy, Bopper and Ritchie: 60 Years Gone 


(Winter Dance Party Commercial)
Reminiscing by Buddy Holly
Monkey Song (You Made a Monkey Out of Me) by The Big Bopper
We Belong Together by Ritchie Valens
Chantilly Lace by Jerry Lee Lewis
Changing All Those Changes by Buddy Holly
Framed by Los Lobos
La Bamba by Freddy Fender
Framed by Los Lobos
Hi-Tone by Ritchie Valens
True Love Ways by The Mavericks
White Lightning by The Waco Brothers
Peggy Sue by Lou Reed
Peggy Sue Got Married by Buddy Holly
Big Bopper's Wedding by The Big Bopper
Words of Love by The Beatles
Midnight Shift by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Oooh! My Head by Ritchie Valens
Crazy Blues by The Big Bopper
Learning the Game by Waylon Jennings & Mark Knopfler
La Bamba by The Plugz
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page


Want to keep the party going after I sign off at midnight?
Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast CLICK HERE

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Alien Space Kitchen, Full Speed Veronica and King Shark

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican   Feb. 15, 2018 Nothing like some loud and local apocalyptic garage-punk ...