On the first day of Australia Week we are looking back to two bands that made their appearances in our inaugural year of 2009. And unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything from either of these guys since. Black Knight and Highway Blonde (formerly Smart Artists) are both solidly in the rock genre. Highway Blonde is a bit more modern rock while Black Knight is a bit more on the post-punk side of things. Over the years I’ve found myself humming a tune or two from these guys. It’s always a testament to me whether a band is good or not if one of their songs can find their way into your head just out of the blue.
So, without anything new since 2009 from either, check out a couple of videos from their glorious pasts….
I’m announcing this coming week as Australia Week here at Froglix Radio. From Australia’s pristine beaches to its rugged outback, this island continent holds a rich diversity made evident in its music. Over the last few years on Froglix we’ve heard everything from alt-rock to folk to electronica. From the hard-edged to the comfortably heart-felt. From the sincere to the quirky.
So this week we’ll take a look at some of that musical diversity. Take a trip way back to our launch in July of 2009 and revisit some of the artists on our very first broadcasts. Get an update or two on artists in our current playlist. And check out a couple of bands yet to be heard on this venue.
So make sure and get your fix of Aussie everyday this week. It’s no farther than your Froglix Radio.
Arguably, one of the most underrated alt-rock bands of the 80’s & 90’s, The Smithereens, to this day goes down as one of my all-time favs as I quite literally have every album and know most every song, even the deep tracks, by heart. So, naturally, when they came to the Northern Virginia’s State Theatre a while back I just had to go. Some may say that the band has long since passed their prime…and they’d be right. However, these cats still rock out loud. They are not even the least bit pretentious. In fact, they are far from it. While most of the alt-rock veterans would rather play their “brand new” stuff (that nobody cares about) the Smithereens plastered the filled to capacity crowd with their most notable tracks from every album in their arsenal. It was epic.
I was fortunate enough to actually meet and hang out with the band a little bit after the show (that’s me with drummer Dennis Diken) and they were the epitome of cool. In fact, I talked with bassist Severo “The Thrilla” Jornacion about playing the bass line to “Blood and Roses” featured above. His response? “The first time I played it I thought I my fingers would bleed…it is such an honor to play that song.” With all the nit-picking in the music industry today it’s somewhat refreshing to hear someone give deference to their predecessor, in this case, former bassist Mike Mesaros.
We could have picked any number of tunes from The Smithereens catalog…“A Girl Like You” or “Only A Memory” would have been the more than obvious choices…but “Blood and Roses” was one of the tunes that was instrumental in my alt-rock conversion. Thusly, I pay homage to the song and the band today on the Friday Flashback. Enjoy my friends
Check out all the stuff by The Smithereens on [itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-smithereens/id529246?uo=4″ title=”Smithereens on iTunes”] !
The very first line from the bio on their own web sites goes, “Out Like Pluto is not here to revolutionize music, but they do want to make you dance.” And to that I say, “Thank you!” We all know fun music when we hear it. We want to sing along to our music. We want to tap our feet. We DO NOT want to have to think about it to appreciate it. With a couple years of writing music reviews under my belt, I’ve decided that whenever somebody describes their music as “experimental” what they mean to say is, “Here is some crap for you to waste five minutes of your life listening to.” No thank you! Out Like Pluto is NOT experimental. As they self-describe themselves, they deliver on the tried-and-true. It’s foot-tapping, catchy, but super strong alt-rock. From watching some clips on YouTube of them performing live, you can tell they are just having fun, and it’s contagious. And there is nothing wrong with music just being fun. In fact, it’s what makes me like these guys so much.
The latest album Take Cover came out last January from this Seattle five-piece. First formed by Andy (drums) and Kari (vox), the Out Like Pluto lineup is flushed out with Mike and Ben (guitar) and Jeremy (bass). The first single off the album, “Bridge”, is featured in the video above. My other favorites include “Placebo (Turn Me On)” and “Starring John Stamos”. “Papercut” also stands out as it showcases a softer side of Kari’s voice accompanied by strings, and in the process shows just how strong her singing really is. Every track on the album will make you feel good though. So, yeah, it’s nothing earth-shattering, and it’s very nostalgic of alt-rock from the 90’s…. but we all love the alt-rock from the 90’s, and besides, feeling good is exactly what I want in 2012.
Labour Day is fast approaching likewise, coincidentally, the end of Summer 2012. If they haven’t already done so, young chitlins, angst ridden teens and future college drop outs all around the world will soon be starting their Fall classes and, thus, ending life as they know it. Fortunately for these wayward yutes there is a new album dropping from Oregon’s Attack Ships on Fire that should help in tiding them over until…well…with their limited attention spans Thanksgiving might be a stretch but I think Halloween is in the bag for sure. The (12) tracks that encompass the Pride of Portland’s third album entitled Vegas Soul were actually inspired by a new book from author P Moss called VegasKnockout that is due to drop on Sept. 6th as is album #3 from the aforementioned ASoF.
We got a sneak peek…err listen…to the album’s title track and it’s delovely. Driven doesn’t even begin to describe it. This one, my friends, comes at you fast and furious with a musical double tap that is true pandalerium. I freaking love it…sounds a bit like Coheed and Cambria meets the Sex Pistols but that’s what I dig about it.
“Sick Of It All”, the title track from Leaving Venus’s most recent EP made me smile right from the get go. You know the moment in the movies when a fledgling band in the late 1950’s excitedly listens to their song on the radio for the first time… and then it quickly cuts mid-stream to them playing it live? Well yeah, that’s the exact vibe you get at the 30 second mark. And the style of music in this track fits the image as well… a rockabilly styled tune, simple chord changes, but catchy and lyrically clever. Then right at the 1:20 mark you get a refreshing 10 second change in tone that brings to mind something you’d hear from The Connells, maybe like from the “All Sinks In” track off of One Simple Word. In fact it’s a glimpse of what the other tracks on the EP are like.
I had a hard time choosing which other track from the EP to add to the broadcast. Ultimately I chose “Comfortably”, mostly because it had me tapping my foot halfway through my first listen, and had me wanting to sing along by the second. I suppose that’s as good of a test as any. “Comfortably” probably also does the best job in showcasing Michael Miller’s mellifluous voice. Sometimes I do wish he’d do just a bit more vocally, but in this track it feels just right, well “comfortable” actually.