Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

SAM LLANAS IS BACK WITH A SURPRISE CALLED “RETURN OF THE GOYA, PART 1”

March 30, 2018

You can’t beat a personalized copy of the new Sam Llanas CD Return Of The Goya, Part 1. In the name of political correctness, no international grocery aisle comments please. Photo courtesy Sam Llanas

It’s great to have Sam Llanas back on the blog! We’ve covered Sam since his debut solo album 4a.m. which remains one of my favorite pieces of work to date. I think I need to break it out again as I need to get a lot of things in the studio done (midi up live tracks, finish writing the last song on my last album…) and I LOVE to work late at night.

Llanas first came to my attention through Gary Tanin, whom I became associated with through the Roger Powell album Blue Note Ridge and then again with Fossil Poets. (Don’t go on your anti-Utopia 2018 reunion tour, Jeff, we know Powell isn’t participating and you doubt replacement Ralph Schuckett, while an extraordinary player with Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, this tour promotes the newly released box set of material with Powell, NOT Schuckett, the harmonic sensibilities employed by Powell will be long lost and they are an integral charm with the REAL Utopia. Don’t be fooled by imitations! Save it for another blog…) Then Tanin had the idea of getting me involved with both Llanas and a project Llanas became involved in, a two man show with Doug Vincent detailing Vincent’s own tragic encounter with addiction and suicide, punctuated by profound performances by Llanas from his solo works.

I identified with the author of the show, Doug Vincent, so much, it became a labor of love to promote his show A Day For Grace. Check the blog search field to see if I migrated them from the syndication to the new site. I am pretty sure they are there. You can also search Sam Llanas, and see all the reviews in our history. Needless to say, Llanas is a favorite here. A particular favorite of ours here at the blog is the Absinthe album. Those songs are so dark, they immediately draw in a death hag like me (even learned a couple of tunes on guitar, fun stuff!).

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BOULEBLOG OPENS A NEW PATHWAY TO ALTERNATIVE REVIEWS WITH OFF THE RECORD; THIS TIME, THE VAPORS LIVE AT THE GUILDFORD CIVIC HALL

March 9, 2018

The cover of this illusive release. Photo courtesy LiveGigRecordings

This is a thrilling new opportunity for us here at BouleBlog. With the creation of this new category, Off The Record, we can bring you reviews of unique recordings not found at Amazon or your local record store. In essence, yes, these are what the population may call bootlegs. But during the listening process I will determine if the recording is WORTH reviewing and if not, you will be alerted that what was promoted through my Facebook equivalent to this blog, BouleBlog the group: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bouleblog/) is, in fact NOT worth reviewing. I find it tiring to just type over and over “The audio is unintelligible due to a poor live mix”. I usually post photos of the upcoming acts there, to give a tip-off to those who know about the Facebook group and are members. If you’re on Facebook, request membership to the group and I will approve it unless you are a bot.

However, I can guarantee the recordings I review the first few times will be quality as the source (to be revealed later) has proven to be a reliable one for board recordings (again, for the uninitiated, board recordings are made from a recording that went straight from the concert’s mixing console directly into a recording device) so the next few of these Off The Record reviews will be quality.

We begin this feature with a band who left a distinct mark on the zeitgeist with their breakout single “Turning Japanese”. The pity behind this band is they had such important deep cuts on both their albums New Clear Days and the moving Magnets. The title track for Magnets was a powerful ballad-turned-anthem that details an assassination, even right down to the exit line of one of the later choruses ‘Kennedy’s children are magnets…’.

Then there was the effervescent “Waiting For The Weekend”, a song every working person can relate to. They even give a nod in the direction the United States is taking with the song “Civic Hall”, about being harassed by bobbies (on this side of the pond, we call them cops, pigs, fascists, Nazis, bacon, donut munchers, fat-bags, militant douchebags, oh how I’d love to go on) outside the local civic hall (ironic that this live show was recorded at the Guildford Civic Hall, hometown of the Vapors and most likely the location for the story in the song).

I am not going to go into part-by-part analysis of this performance. I will highlight spots within the songs, maybe even do some (much feared) interpretation of the songs like those examples above. The point of these reviews is to cue the readers to music they may never have known existed before.

It’s not like you can advertise unauthorized recordings too loudly even though most of the major labels no longer have the teeth to fight over royalties, copyright, ownership. Thanks to the spanking Robert Fripp and Sid Smith gave the record label(s) over the illegal distribution of King Crimson downloads.

All the major labels are welcome to sue me if they feel I have violated their copyright reserve. They can have 50% of my bankruptcy.

Now let’s do up our shag mullet haircuts and get out our Gibson SGs  and our Rickenbacker bass and jam out to some Vapors!

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THE TUBES LOVE BOMB LEAVES A TIMELESS, LASTING MARK ON MUSIC PRODUCTION

January 12, 2018

The Todd Rundgren produced Love Bomb by the San Francisco band The Tubes. Photo courtesy Capitol Records.

We are reviving a feature on BouleBlog, the Friday Flashback. This gives us a unique opportunity to take a look at albums that were released in the distant past, but still have musical, technological or even social impact on the music horizon, some that even last years later.

This entry is not of any social consequence, but it has technological brilliance unequaled even today. For its time in 1985, it was leaps and bounds beyond anything that came out in that time period. Before things get too convoluted, perhaps some background will put things into perspective.

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DEVO TOIL THROUGH SADNESS AND ADVERSITY TO BRING THE SPUDS SOMETHING ELSE FOR EVERYBODY

December 30, 2017
Bastardizing the cover for Something For Everybody, Devo once again poke fun at themselves while delivering cutting room floor songs. Cover photo courtesy of Devo Obsesso

Bastardizing the cover for Something For Everybody, Devo once again poke fun at themselves while delivering cutting room floor songs. Cover photo courtesy of Devo Obsesso

This may be one of the saddest reviews I’ve ever written about Devo. This upcoming February will be the four-year anniversary of the death of Robert Casale, better-known to Devotees as Bob 2. Devo have named his live performance replacement as Josh Hager. While Hager may possess certain self-destructive tendencies, and feels free to use them onstage with the band, no amount of broken limbs will replace the every day contributions Robert Casale made to Devo. He was more than just the fourth member of Devo. He was instrumental with instrument sounds. Programming patches (voices) on keyboards, being of service not only to Devo, but also Musika Mutato, Mark Mothersbaugh’s commercial music production company.

But even more disheartening, Devo, at its core, is formed by the combining of two sets of brothers and a drummer. Robert Casale’s brother is bassist, vocalist and co-pioneer, Jerry Casale. The other brother duo is lead guitarist extraordinaire Bob Mothersbaugh, and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist/visual artist/film maker/eye glass designer/painter/cultural wunderkind Mark Mothersbaugh.

The add-a-drummer position is alternately filled by former Nine Inch Nails and current Vandals drummer Josh Freese. When Freese is unavailable (we can most likely presume from prior commitments), Devo call on Jeff Friedl of Ashes Divide, Filter and two Maynard Keenan groups, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle. (Is it me or does that band have a revolving door in its rehearsal studio? Friedl, Freese, Troy Van Leeuwin of Queens Of The Stone Age, James Iha formerly of Peter Pumpkinhead’s band Smashing Pumpkins, Danny Lohner ex of Nine Inch Nails and Tim “Herb” Alexander of Primus. Makes me think Maynard J Krebs is as big a douche with Billy Howerdel’s Perfect Circle as he is with his other  band, Tool. Grow yer grapes Maynard, stick with your vineyard and let all the musicians you suck into your quagmiric vortex do meaningful things with their lives… Like play in Devo!!!)

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PHOTOBLOG: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE AS MARK MULCAHY RETURNS TO THE BOOT AND SADDLE WITH ENOUGH POWER TO BLOW THE DOORS OFF THE PLACE!

November 20, 2017

Mark Mulcahy returns to the Boot And Saddle this time with his new band. Photo by Lynn Vala

“Aw fuck, seriously?” That’s what I said when I was informed that Mark Mulcahy would be returning to the Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia. Not that the Boot and Saddle is a bad place, it has a lot of charm and most of the folks who work there are really nice. Although, when we were there for Miracle Legion last April, the waitress totally forgot our order. So this time I knew better not to even ask. We went over to the Broad Street Diner before going to the venue. Pretty good food there!

Also, not a big fan of the “exhibitionist” bathrooms at the B and S. Who puts a weighted sliding door on the entrance to the restrooms? Most of the people who went into them didn’t close the door all the way! Nobody wants to see that.

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FUCK YOU, FUCK THIS, FUCK THAT AND FUCK THEM. NOW THAT I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, FATSO JETSON’S “IDLE HANDS” IS WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR!!!!

August 8, 2017

If you see this disc on sale anywhere, buy it and play it everywhere. Photo courtesy Fatso Jetson

I have long been fascinated by the Desert Rock scene emanating from the Palm Desert area in California. So many quality acts have come out of there, Queens OF The Stone Age (QOTSA) most notably. But there are more acts, Kyuss made a mark, The Dwarves, and some of the names read like a who’s who of music: Nick Oliveri, Blag Dhalia, Alain Johannes (who is currently on tour with P.J. Harvey), and everyone knows this band’s name thanks to global terrorism, Eagles Of Death Metal (if you live under a rock, this was the band that was targeted at the Bataclan massacre in November, 2015).

But there is one band I have not mentioned. Fatso Jetson (FJ). Out of all the bands that rose out of Palm Desert, FJ have to be the heaviest, most groove oriented of the lot. Yes, I know QOTSA are quite heavy on their new album, Villains but I can’t make any judgement on that, it’s not out yet, save for the few songs that have been leaked. I prefer the whole package…

It can be told that I got my hands on the latest disc from Fatso Jetson called Idle Hands. It would seem that all the time spent in the desert ingrained in these guys a rough, take no prisoners approach to song crafting. It comes through during the entire disc.

I know these guys aren’t household names. But they should be. Maybe it’s that familial connection that makes these guys so tight. The lead vocalist and guitarist is Mario Lalli, guitar is also played by Dino Von Lalli, bass is played by Larry Lalli, and drums by Tony Tornay with the addition of Mathias Shneeberger keyboards, guitars, bass and vocals. As it turns out my favorite lyrics on this album were in fact written by Sean Wheeler who also wrote words for “Portuguese Dream” and “The Vincent Letter” (later on in the album).

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BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA, TRANSCENDENCE WAS TO BE! POPTONE BRING TECHNO-GOTH-SHRED TO THE LAND MARK AT LAND’S END!

August 4, 2017

The good people of Asbury Park had NO idea what to expect when POPTONE rolled into town! Photo by Lynn Vala

It was an unusually strange weekend. Coke-fueled mostly. I do remember worshipping at the porcelain alter. I mean we’re talking projectile vomiting of epic proportions. A few smokes settled me down enough to realize that I would be coming down just in time for POPTONE to play at the Stone Pony, THE Stone Pony, in scenic Asbury Park, NJ. The Atlantic ocean just over a sand bar separating the pay area of the beach, and across one street. The point being as we stood on line, we could see the ocean. Can’t say it’s the best beach concert experience I’ve had, Utopia did one at the Pier in Atlantic City. The sea washed ashore under the seats!

Imagine a lovely day strolling down the boardwalk only to hear POPTONE sound checking and warming up for the Stone Pony show across the street. Photo by Lynn Vala

You gotta admit, that’s pretty fucking cool…

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THE MUSICAL COMET THAT IS LORD RUSS RETURNS WITH FUTURISTIC VISIONS OF THE PAST. HAVE YOU HEARD???

July 17, 2017

The newest take on some established songs, done Lord Russ style! Photo courtesy Russ Brooks

Lord Russ has a past with this blog. That sounds so sordid, doesn’t it? But that ‘past’ is a good one! Lord Russ found me while I was still with Princeton Record Exchange. He took advantage of my open position that “if you have the balls to accept what someone who knows something about music has to say about yours, bring it!” and brought me his first delightful album Heir Of Mystery! Easily the best “indie” (in the truest sense of the word, Lord Russ’ neighbor, Mark Mulcahy and his band Miracle Legion roadied for themselves on their recent reunion tour, set up, tore down, and loaded out, here’s a band that’s been on TV, David Letterman, Adventures Of Pete and Pete, too numerous to list, having to roadie their own shows because that’s how the record industry is now) disc to come my way this year. The fortunate part of the Miracle Legion show was the availability of two new releases, two double live CDs, one from Miracle Legion, and one from Polaris. The difference being, no Ray Neal in Polaris, his place was filled by another Lord Russ neighbor, Henning Ohlenbusch who played lead guitar and allsorts. The CT/Mass music scene is a very intriguing one. If what Fatso Jetson leader Mario Lalli claims is correct, the High Desert/Wonder Valley scene is dead.

But I digress…

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MARK MULCAHY FOLLOWS HIS PATH TO BEING HIS VERY OWN TRUE STAR AS THE POSSUM IN THE DRIVEWAY SOARS INTO NEW TERRITORY

May 28, 2017

The newest from Mark Mulcahy “Possum In The Driveway” Photo courtesy of Mezzotint

Mark Mulcahy and I have something in common. We both like the music of (the newly indoctrinated) Dr. Todd Rundgren. A while back I remember reading an interview with Mulcahy in which he expressed dismay over Dr. Rundgren’s initial comments upon taking the stage: “If you came to hear the hits, you may as well turn around and get your money back…”. Much akin to the Doc’s recent position on Donald Trump.

It seems I was in that audience with Mulcahy the night Doc said it. This means little as I am (or was) in a lot of Rundgren’s audiences.

Now keep in mind, Mulcahy is Mulcahy, Rundgren is Rundgren. What that means in at least one aspect, the Rundgren’s time is soon to end. He looks old, he claims to be blind (but I’ve heard that before), and I have yet to purchase or analyze his latest album White Knight. But I know he no longer has the time or patience to make another A Wizard A True Star.

Enter Mark Mulcahy…

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THE END IS HERE! BOULEBLOG GOES ROGUE TO BRING YOU THE LAST OF THE MIRACLE LEGION!!

April 21, 2017

One of the last hurrahs of Miracle Legion. Photo by Lynn Vala

Life is too short. Sometimes certain events cause you to rethink what you had previous thought. The farewell tour of Miracle Legion is an event that should not be missed. I would have liked to bring you this revue earlier but they did not come my way until last night, April 20, 2017.

The waiting was worth it. I have been into Miracle Legion since the mid 90’s when Polaris, (their fracture group formed at the request of the producers of Nickelodeon’s The Adventures Of Pete And Pete, who wanted to use Miracle Legion music in the show) was first seen romping about in the Pete’s front yard. I researched into Polaris and found the hidden treasure that is/was Miracle Legion.

Miracle Legion’s downfall was no fault of their own. They are a tight band. Once the lineup of Mark Mulcahy (vocals, winds, guitar) and Ray Neal (guitar) was solidified with the addition of Dave McCaffrey (bass and vocals) and Scoutt Boutier (drums), this band became a killing machine! Rage Against The Machine? Outside the obnoxious angst RATM offered, Miracle Legion was a better oiled machine. Mulcahy’s lyrics carried more weight in controversial areas than Zack de la Rocha could ever dream of. During the show’s “encore” (the band could not leave the stage due to the bizarre location of the stage in the venue) Mulcahy related how, after the release of their song “Snacks And Candy” about the killing of Yusef Hawkins, and how they were invited to and did meet Al Sharpton.

The super-sized Sharpton.

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