Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bradley Wik and The Charlatans - Burn What You Can, Bury The Rest

I admit that I know near to nothing about the alt-country movement and wasn't even sure if I should use a hyphen or a full stop in the sub-genre's abbreviated name.  My knowledge starts with John Doe and ends right at Drag The River.  Uncle Tupelo and Wilco have largely gone ignored by this writer due to personal taste defining most of it as just plain boring.

    Both of my ears pricked up when I heard Bradley Wik and The Charlatans and it wasn't just because I thought the UK indie band had immigrated to the states.  There's an attention grabbing  gravelly raw country in the voice which melodically emotes "The Dark Lovely".  Just try listening to "66 Chevelle" without thinking of Springsteen, the Boss comes through in both Bradley's voice and the lyrics which resonate with fond remembrance of long gone younger days.
And many Night/s I’ve tried to go back to our younger days/
Listenin’ to the Stones in her daddy’s car/ Out on some Lost Highway
And we’d just pull that car off to the side of the road/
And we’d drink and we’d kiss and we’d talk about the future.

Bradley Wik represents the average working man from first hand knowledge in "Friday Night is for the Drinkers"  It's hard to fathom many who can't relate to the last lines even if it was many years ago:

Friday Night is for the Drinkers trying to shake off the
week/And Saturday Night is for all the Boys and Girls trying to
find someplace new to sleep.

"This Old House" and "I am Not Afraid" use the backing vocals of Brianne Kathleen effectively as the two voices interlock but it's still clear exactly who is the main player. There's a soul completely stripped naked in "Just Like John Fickes" demonstrating song-writing, which is capable of storytelling without getting lost in narrative and losing the song part.

I have been depriving myself if this is anything like what Uncle Tupelo and Wilco sound like and those punk bands I've heard who want to sound like Springsteen should listen to this and take notes.   Though I would suggest changing the name of the band  but that's only because I have prior knowledge of the UK indie rockers.  This album will strongly appeal to fans of Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen plus a lot of fans.  See, I'm still not sure about the sub-genre's shortened form.


There's a sneak peak of the album on this site.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iggy and The Stooges- In The Hands of the Fans DVD

Raw Power

Through an online competition six fans were sent to film and interview Iggy and The Stooges play the “Raw Power” album at Montocelli New York’s “ All Tomorrow’s Parties” Festival.  The competitors had to submit a HD video clip of themselves with probing questions and reasons for wanting to film that show a passion for the Stooges.

Fans filming a band could have led to dubious quality videoing with the camera operator getting carried with the music as on the average amatuer youtube clip.   However many of these fans come from a background in media and there has been some great editing work using all six cameras done by a non-contestant.

While the video opens with clips from the contestants are first up, of course the meat and potatoes material is the actual concert footage, which is uninterrupted.   Iggy Pop is all over the stage more like a toddler that discovered energy drinks whilst already on a sugar rush rather than a man old enough to be many of the camera operator/interviewer’s grandfather. It absolutely shows that he loves working the stage as Iggy manically twirls this way, that way and almost absolutely any other way that is humanly possible.  Even if he didn’t have his shirt off, it would still be apparent that the guy keeps himself in great shape.  Guitarist, James Williamson and bass player, Mike Watt are much more subdued and don’t move around very much.  Despite being the youngest band member and not displaying much movement Mike Watt smiles like he is having the time of his life and really why shouldn’t he be?

For the song Shake Appeal, Iggy asks for for dancers, spazzers and freaks to come on stage and The Stooges are swamped by a couple of dozen people but the band play on despite the stage resembling an overcrammed bus.  During the shows the frontman dives into the audience a number of times and the real reason security are on the stage is not to contend with overeager audience but to pick Iggy up and get him upright on the stage.  The ever-present primal rawness of The Stooges shows without raw camera work.  There’s more here than just the “Raw Power” material as there are eight other songs taken mainly from The Stooges early works.   It’s impossible to pick a best-performed song but there is a very short moment where Iggy is unhappy about the bass sound and lets everyone know it.

The interview questions in the bonus feature are asked to Iggy, James and Scott.  The fan’s questions provide some interesting answers and Iggy does most of the talking and comes across as a different character with articulate and revealing answers which contrast with onstage unpredictable wildman persona.  Amongst other things the band talk about their average audience in their early days, how they got a bunch of London schoolgirls to listen to their recordings of Raw Power before they released them and how timeless really isn’t a good word to describe their music. It would have been good if Mike Watt had been in on the interview. The other bonus features  are full submitted fan videos,  the original advertisement for the contest and the great touch of physical liner notes by Mike Watt.

The band’s live performance translates well to DVD and it may well have been because the people filming were already passionate about the band or just because the Stooges sizzle because  they are a crack band in a class of their own as Iggy is quoted as saying on the back cover.


The above review was originally written for dvdholocaust where you can find a few more of my dvd reviews and don't forget to check out the other reviews.

Beastwars - IV

After over a year off for various reasons, we have returned solely because we wanted to review the new Beastwars album. I really w...