Flashlite #8

Jonathan RichmanOne of the first things you probably noticed when you opened up our webpage is the new design. You might think I decided to switch for easier editing. That’s not the case, I had a very quick and painless way of editing my old site. The reason was searchability of the site on the Internet crawlers and also within the site itself. I hope it will not be too confusing. Also, I will slowly transfer some of the old articles and perhaps this will make me want to write more. We’ll see. In any case, the eight episode of the Flashlite edition is ready for your downloads. We have a brand new album The Evangelist for the former Go-Betweens member Robert Forster. In some ways it’s a return to the quirkiness of his nineties solo efforts. Another quirky artist, Jonathan Richman is also back with a new record called Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild. Check it out, he’s again fascinated by painters. The Nits from Netherlands continue 30 years of steady record making with the new album called Doing The Dishes.

Bettye Lavette – It Ain’t Easy;
Wayne County And The Electric Chairs – Fuck Off;
Coachwhips – That Bitch Is Gonna End Up Dead;
Thee Oh Sees – Quadrospazzed;
Kak – Lemonaide Kid;
Kak – Flight From The East;
Jonathan Richman – I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar;
Jonathan Richman – No One Was Like Vermeer;

Rickie Lee Jones – It Hurts;
Pieta Brown – Sonic Boom;
Bob Dylan – Lay, Lady, Lay;
Robert Forster – Tell Me That It Isn’t True;
Robert Forster – Demon days;
Go-Betweens, The – Wait Until June;
The Nits – Tutti Ragazzi;
The Nits – Five & Dime;
The Nightingales – Paraffin Brain;
Umjetnici Ulice – Humana revolucija.

March 20, 2008

SalvationWe have two bands with exciting new albums for the first time in The Little Lighthouse: Thee Oh Sees and The Intelligence. Another thing that ties the two bands together is also the song Block of Ice, which appears on both LPs. We also have Slavic Soul Party for the first time in our show with a cover of Toussaint’s Occapella fusing the Gypsy brass sound with New Orleans, which is something I always wanted to hear. Also, while we’re waiting for the new Ian McLagan’s album, we check out three different versions of the Faces standard Glad and Sorry.

Blondie – Dreaming;
Cobra Verde – Don’t Burden Me With Dreams;
Willie Nile – She’s So Cold;
Iron City Houserockers – I Can’t Take It;
Golden Smog – Glad & Sorry;
Ian McLagan & The Bump Band – Glad and sorry;
Billy Bragg – Glad & Sorry;
Thee Oh Sees – Block of Ice;
The Intelligence – Block of Ice;
Blossom Toes – Peace Loving Man;
Salvation – Think Twice;
Salvation – GI Joe;
Michal Kahan – Baby Escapo;
Lee Dorsey – Occapella;
Slavic Soul Party – Occapella (Have a Beer);
Bluto’s Revenge – Good Friday.

March 13, 2008

Mark LaneganThis time we bring you Dirtbombs with the new album We Have You Surrounded. Mark Lanegan takes the front page. We feature him in two fresh incarnations, as a member of band/project entitled Soulsavers and in duet with Isobel Campbell.

Steaming Beast – Jesus, Satan, Gene Beeman, His Car and Pizza Hut;
Compulsive Gamblers – Bad Taste;
Reigning Sound – Drowning;
Dirtbombs – I Hear The Sirens;
The Sirens – High School;
MC5 – High School;
Jackie DeShannon – Too Far Out;
Soulsavers – Kingdom of Rain;
Mark Lanegan – Back Burner;
DR John – Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya;
Evangelista – Lucky Lucky Luck;
Waylon Jennings – She’s Looking Good;
Chuck Prophet – She’s Looking Good;
True West – Throw Away The Key;
Pylon – Feast On My Heart;
Death of Samantha – Roses Rejoice;
Hosnfefer – K.M. (Give Me Some Air).

Rickie Lee Jones

(Written long time ago for the old site). The story of Rickie Lee Jones starts in the late seventies, when she appeared on the cover of Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine. At the time, she, Tom and saxophonist Chuck E Weiss were unseparable friends sharing everything – talks, music, poetry, booze… One day Waits phoned Rickie saying, “Hey, babe, Chuck E’s in love…”. That was the end of trio’s close friendship, but the start of Rickie’s fruitful career. After Waits hung up, she sat down and wrote Chuck E’s In Love one of the most beautiful anthems of the seventies singer-songwriting scene in Los Angeles. One other Rickie’s song, Easy Money caught attention of the famous slide guitar player Lowell George (ex Little Feat, huge influence on Dixie Chicks). George’s reccomendation assured Rickie a contract with Warner Brothers and her first phenomenal album called simply Rickie Lee Jones was out. It included both Chuck E’s In Love and Easy Money and other 10 excellent songs, each better than the other. Rickie charmes everybody with her songs and her very sensual voice. Her singing includes a unique type of miaowing, wich makes her sound in moments like a little girl, and like a sexy diva at the same time. Rickie Lee Jones had an open road to have career as a popular singer, but she took some other roads

Her second album, Pirates surprised evrybody, as her songwriting technique achieved full maturity. Album included lengthy odes to the bohemian street life, full of wonderful images and great instrumentation by the old wolves of the Los Angeles scene, Nick De Caro, Russ Titelman, Lenny Waronker and Donald Fagen. The result was one of the artiest and most rounded records of Laurel Canyon scene.

After that point, Jones established herself as an respectable artist, and she stopped publishing records regularily. Two years after the Pirates, Rickie published a 10″ record Girl At Her Volcano, mostly filled out with covers, and audience waited one more year for a regular album Magazine. Critics never accepted the album, but I think that they were too harsh. The “A” side of the album contained Rickie in a little more easy listening manner, and “B” side was most complex Rickie’s work up to that time, and those two sides made a nice little contrast on the aestetical canvas of this album.

One of the interesting characters with whom Jones colaborated closely throughout the career was Sal Bernardi, who contributed in some of the structurally most interesting Rickie’s songs Western Slopes from Pirates and song triology Rorschachs out of the Magazine. Strangely, I’m not familiar if Sal worked with anyone else or if he had some solo projetcs, but I’m curious about his work

Five years after Magazine Jones made another master piece Flying Cowboys which reminded many of us on Laura Nyro’s work. This was a great way for Rickie to pay a tribute to one her obvious influences. This time, Jones worked with Walter Becker behind boards, so the goregous sound was guaranteed.

Rickie Lee Jones likes to play other people’s songs, but she pretty much keeps a straight line between her own songs and covers. After the Girl At Her Volcano, she made two more cover only albums Pop pop and the most recent one It’s Like This. It is always a big pleasure hearing her strange performances and unusual sellections.

Jones’ moves are hard to predict. In 1997 she published her last album consisted of her own songs, Ghostyhead, which was a strangest little thing that came out in 1997. Rickie likes exploring music, so after listening to a lot of Bristol based trip hop bands, she made a trip hop album full of great poetic pastiches. I heard people calling her a trip pop beatnick, which was a great characterisation. Rickie also colaborated with Mike Watt on several of her live shows, and I’m very unpatient to hear more from two of them…

Mark Lanegan: Bubblegum

When Lanegan left us early this year with his mini album called Here Comes The Weird Chill it was just for a brief period to quickly hint what might be a creative peak of his career. On this new album he took only one song off of the Here Comes The Weird Chill (Methamphetamine Blues) and added a busload of new ones. Sonically, Bubblegum is an immediate continuation of Here Comes The Weird Chill, but with even more focus and even more great songs. His past solo albums were all somehow downbeat and it seemed that the crazy rocking days of early Screaming Trees (where he was a singer) were long gone. But, this one changes it all! If songs are not raw full with energy a-la The Stooges, then they are full of suspense, waiting to burst out of your speakers. Production is raw and Mark did it himself. I can’t help thinking that Mark was influenced by the new blues scene and all those crazy garage rockers from Memphis along with obvious influences in Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart. But don’t be scared – this album is good for everyday listening in every place, every occasion, suitable for any mood – bubblegum in one word! Another interesting appearance is backing vocal of PJ Harvey. I was never too impressed by her solo albums, but whenever I heard her as a backup singer (here and recently on Giant Sand and Gordon Gano records), I totally love it. http://www.marklanegan.com/ is his official site, but much more interesting stuff is on his fan page http://www.onewhiskey.com/. His label streams his latest video on-line – it’s really worth checking out.

Mark Lanegan: Here Comes That Weird Chill

(Written in January 2004). The year just started and we already got an album that will definitely play an important role in the year’s best selection! This is a new one by Mark Lanegan and it’s louder and stronger than any Screaming Trees album, let alone his solo albums. It’s rough, it’s tough, it’s experimental, but still it rock and moves just like it should. His voice is still recognizable even though it often distorted by various studio effects. Drums are raw and guitars cut like razor blades. This is for the first time in years that Lanegan doesn’t collaborate with his long time companion Mike Johnson, so that in itself indicates a significant stylistic move. This is a unique represent of this loud new blues style that can be found for example on Christ Whitley’s album Terra Incognita, or Tarbox Ramblers, but it also has a favor of raw garage sound such as we know from Detroit and Memphis scenes – but perhaps in a little nicer package plus Tom Waits poetics. The album runs for only 30 minutes, but that’s cool – it just makes you wanna play it again. New cd-albums normally last too long anyway. LPs used to be much more carefully thought of. They say this is only a teaser before the full length album comes out! Woohoo!

Mark Lanegan

(Written for the old site.) SST in the eighties was home for every punk-rocker in USA. And they aslo grew their special breed of longhair punkers who drew their influences not only from early punk, but also from hard rock and psychedelia. One of the most notable bands of that breed were the Screaming Trees. Three chubby guys and a babe magnet Mark Lanegan gave us a little bit of fresh air when they in late eighties made great three albums for SST. That part of their career is also wonderfully compiled on Anthology: SST Years.

But then came 1991, Nirvana and grunge… Of course, Screaming Trees were a perfect grunge band already and CBS signed them and they really hit it big with Sweet Oblivion in 1992. Paradoxically, Sweet Oblivion was lyrically their weakest album up to date. Moreover, Lanegan started his deep exploration on more traditional forms like country and blues and decided to start a parallel career as a solo artist.

Actually, in 1990. came out firt Lanegan’s album entitled The Winding Street, but his career really started to overshadow Screaming Trees when he came up with Whiskey for the Holy Ghost in 1994. That was a delicious album full of bluesy bar atmosphere.

Like after a big hungover, his album I’ll Take Care of You came out in 1999. Here we find Lanegan performing his favorite standards like Little Sadie. You can find there many cool songwriters, Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Bobby Blue Blend and Buck Owens. The nicest surprize is a wonderful bluesy cover of Carry Home, which was originally done by a death punk band The Gun Club.

Just now, Lanegan came up with a new album, and a new hairdo and he’s more than welcome. Album is entiled Field Songs, and represents Mark in a new light. It all looks like Lanegan got influenced by gypsy music, and there’s much of that nomadic feel in his new songs. However, the list of guest musicians is quite interesting… Except for his old buddy Mike Johnson (ex Dinosaur JR), also Duffy (ex Guns’n’Roses) delivers some quite impressive drum attacks, Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden also shows she can play some serious guitar. Duffy is also now a part of Mark’s new touring band, so god help us… Anyway, great low key records and a nice bluesy break in usually jolly good atmosphere of The Little Lighthouse.

One Whiskey Website

Cobra Verde Live @ The Parish

21st Century Boys

(Written in March 2001)
It was a real pleasure to see Cobra Verde live at the Parish in New Orleans on Sunday March 17th, 2001. This Cleveland band is led by John Petkovic. Wider audience had several chances to hear about them. They never fail to get four stars at The Rolling Stone, and it was a big news in 1997 when Robert Pollard of the Guided By Voices decided to fire all of the original members of the band and hire Cobra Verde to finish his visions on the Mag Earwig album. Cobra Verde had some personnel changes because of that, but they fell on their legs and continued even stronger. Album Nightlife came out in 1999, brought a large variety of sounds and styles. Some bands go through less changes throught their career then Cobra Verde in only one album. In a better world, Nightlife would set completely new standards for rock’n’roll.

All of the Cobra Verde qualities were confirmed live on this concert. Although the problem with sound in The Parish is ongoing and for some reason voice always gets burried behind instruments, one could fully enjoy in the sound they offered. Amazing coordinace between the drummer and the bass player made possible for the guitar player (who looks like a Ron Wood miniature), to play over the rhytm together with the thereminist and keyboardist who was really wild on the stage. Everything was under Petkovic’s supervision and he as
a frontman is something that is not an everyday sight.

Stylistically, Cobra Verde owns a lot to the glam rock of the seventies, but there the sound of the live performance is much more straight forward, the way it really is supposed to be in a rock’n’roll band. Much of the sound is quite original, which really makes these guys the first and the best band of the 21st century. Really! We’re talking about the future of rock’n’roll here…

In the middle of their original songs they played on of the jewels of the past, an extremely important song Treat Her Right written by Roy Head, and performed by hundreds of others throught the history. The song went specially for your lighthouse keeper, which is one of the biggest honors that anyone ever did for me.

Cobra Verde
John Petkovic stuff

The Dirtbombs: Dangerous Magical Noise

(Written in February 2004) There’s nothing dangerous about this album, perhaps the title it’s just a way of making it sound cool. But what’s really cool about this album is not its cover, it’s not the title, it’s not the fact that the dude behind the sound is legendary garage face of the Detroit rock scene, Mick Collins. What’s cool about it is the music. In modern rock scene, often when you peel off all the hype, somewhere in the moment when the cellophane of the cd is taken off, and the cd enters into the player, that’s when the magic stops. It’s different with this kinda noise. It’s magical from the ironic crowd cheer in the openingStart The Party, over all the crazy guitars and screams far in VU’s red area to the lengthy boogie of FIDO. Somewhere in the middle of the record you get the real jewel, Motor City Baby – Patti Labelle and George Clinton wore the glam outfits, but in this song Mick Collins is the only black artist who came dangerously close to glam aesthetics. Of course – that can only be a good thing. This album is a hot item, perhaps the most exciting thing Collins did since the revolutionary days of The Gories. He knows rock’n’roll – he’s a guy who you should trust. http://www.thedirtbombs.net/.

March 6, 2008

Jim JonesIn this episode, we heard one song from the new album by Chuck Prophet where he covers Waylons Jennings’ Dreaming My Dreams song by song. It’s a very interesting project in which Prophet not only celebrates Waylon’s songwriting talent, but also twists musical genres and brings out surprising arrangements in each and every song. We quickly flip through the Manchild 3, graphic novel by Brian Walsby and hear songs by his band Double Negative and from the Melvins CD that comes free with Brian’s new book. We also have a brand new album out of Cleveland area, Introducing… by Living Stereo. Today’s show is dedicated to Jim Jones, Cleveland musician who was responsible for the mid-eighties sound of Pere Ubu. Jones died on February 25 in his home after a cardiac failure.

Metak – Ona voli strip junake;
The Rings – I Wanna Be Free;
Tarbox Ramblers – Hey Mr Straight;
Chuck Prophet – Bob Wills Is Still The King;
Danny and Dusty – Cast Iron Soul;
Quiet Melon – Engine 4444;
Double Negative – Techincally Disfigured;
Melvins – My Small % Shows Most;
Melvins – The Ballad of Dwights Frye;
Alice Cooper – The Ballad of Dwights Frye;
Dream Syndicate – The Ballad of Dwights Frye;
Living Stereo – Stop Now;
Pere Ubu – Race The Sun;
Willy DeVille – So So Real;
Paul Kelly – Right Outta My Head;
Textones – Vacation;
The Stems – Get So Bad.