Tag Archives: Carbonas

Flashlite #693

Chris Bailey

Well tempered episode today with new international music from Big Stir Records proteges: Walker Brigade from LA, Bablers from Finland and Amoeba Teen from UK. We also have new music from Australian band Caroline No. Also from Australia, we have new collaborations of Rob Griffiths with his native band Little Murders and with a US band The Eddies. We finish with songwriters, Brad Marino from Rochester and Gentleman Jesse from Atlanta who we know well with his earlier bands The Men and Carbonas.

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Thin White Rope – The Man With the Golden Gun;
Little Murders – Wait ‘Til The Summer Comes;
The Eddies (with Rob Griffiths) – Show Me;
Leaving Trains – Any Old Time;
Death of Samantha – The Set Up (of Madame Sosostris);
Walker Brigade – Fallout;
The Bablers – You Are The One For Me;
The Shirts – Laugh And Walk Away;
The On and Ons – In and Out Of Dreams;
Lord Nelson – Drag Me Down;
The Windbreakers – You Gotta Go Away.;
Amoeba Teen – A Good Reason Why;
Caroline No – Anna’s on the Radio;
Pia Fraus – Summer Before Spring;
Linda Lewis – Spring Song;
The Bevis Frond – The Man In The Garden;
Brad Marino – (She’s) Doing Her Thing;
Gentleman Jesse – Lose Everything;
Green/Blue – Chicago.

Games (Hozac)

GamesOne friend of mine classifies albums that he likes into big and small records. Not according to the dimensions, but according to impact and depth of a concept laid out on the record. According to that classification, Games is a small record. Simple three minute love songs, no impact or concept whatsoever. Still, simple can sometimes be really great. In this case, Games reached a near perfection in my mind. Every song is super catchy and fun. Simplicity of the overall delivery here is disarming.

This is a bubble-gum, a candy. In my ears it sounds so dandy, lemonade and cotton candy. These lyrics lay the ground for this record. But it’s real sugar cane, no artificial sweeteners, no corn syrup. From the beginning, the record strikes you as something really fun, but things really take off with songs number 3 and 4 Different Times and Baby Put Down That Gun. This is when you realize that this record is really special. Urgency and whirl of Different Times take it to that different level. Baby Put Down That Gun keeps the level high with a great chorus, perfect harmonies and a bridge lifted straight from The Ballad of John and Yoko.

The highlight on the B side is When The Time, the only slow number with wonderful 70s retro keyboards and harmonies which are just right. Those harmonies are just slightly out of tune and weary, after all, this music is made by humans. It’s also the moment of the record where the lyrics become more ambitious then the rest of the bubble gum oriented song-smithery. In recent past, this record has the same retro feel and atmosphere as the debut album for Gentleman Jesse and His Men, which is not that crazy of a comparison having in mind that, just like Jesse, the boss of Games, Jeremy Thompson, was once in The Carbonas. Also, Dave Rahn produced and played drums on both records. Going further in the past, this record could easily stand head to head comparison to any of the Stiff, Rak or Buddah releases and maybe even win.

My pet peeve with record reviews in general is that whenever the writers hear some harmonies or power-pop attitude, they start comparisons to Big Star. I love that band, but this needs to end. Neither Games or Mikal Cronin have anything to do with power-pop or Big Star. In case of Games, this is your good old unadulterated, pure sugar-cane bubble gum and be ready for the rush.

The vinyl copy of this record is absolutely one of the nicest pieces of plastic out there. The sound of the record is absolutely flawless and it’s a great example on how vinyl should be done in this day and age. All major flaws are skillfully avoided – the sound is full, no inner groove distortion whatsoever, no sibilance problems, perfect groove centering. Just great. Credit for such a great job goes equally to all engineers involved in the pre-mastering process and Dave Eck from Lucky Lacquers in Midleton WI, who cut the lathe. United Press from Nashville did duplication. The record finishes with a sound of a soda bottle opening and a special treat on the B side is a neat locked groove which takes the carbonation all the way to the infinity. Locked groove is pulled away from the center, so it will lock even for the turntables with automatic tonearms.

Flashlite #233

Faye HunterSad news today. The news comes to us that Faye Hunter, bass player and a founding member of the legendary college rock band Let’s Active passed away this year on July 20th. Those that know her personally felt very deeply for her. Others, like myself, who know her through her music and work with Let’s Active remember her songs as highlights on those records. We also check out the new band for Josh Martin from Carbonas called Shocked Minds who have a new record on Hozac. Two Boston veterans are featured today as well. Bill Janovitz from Buffalo Tom has a new solo record and Ben Deily of the Lemonheads has a new 7″ with his most recent band Varisty Drag. Finally, Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark reunite after 40 years for another duet record, and we check that out at the end of the show.

Paul Westerbeg – Stain Yer Blood;
Carbonas – Journey to the End;
Shocked Minds – Kalamazoo;
Lorette Velvette – Don’t Crowd Your Mind;
Jim Keays – 125;
The Master’s Apprentices – Undecided;
Jimbo Mathus – Haunted John;
Jimbo Mathus – Haunted John Live in CLE;
Varsity Drag – Let’s Electrify;
Lemonheads – Postcard;
Buffalo Tom – Stymied;
Bill Janovitz – Walt Whitman Mall;
Bill Janovitz – Girl’s Club;
Faye Hunter – Blinded;
Let’s Active – Room With A View;
Let’s Active – Ring True;
Delbert McClinton And Glen Clark – Whoever Said It Was Easy;
Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark – I Received a Letter.

Gentleman Jesse – Leaving Atlanta

Gentleman Jesse - Leaving AtlantaJesse Lee Smith is a fellow that hails from the Atlanta rock’n’roll scene that gave us many interesting garage rock bands in the past few years. One of the bands that started it all was the Ramones influenced quintet The Carbonas and Jesse played bass in it. He had a somewhat more complex vision on what his music should be, so he started a solo career with a rotating line up of musicians simply referred to as “his men”.

His vision was first widely exposed on an excellent solo debut album from 2008 and now we have a sequel on the second album called Leaving Atlanta. The musical spectrum Jesse took on his solo albums is decidedly power pop oriented, but also informed with the English pub rock scene and Stiff records. Indeed, the cover art of the first album is a clear nod to Elvis Costello and his Last Year’s Model.

The new album doesn’t bring much new, which in this case is a very good thing. Leaving Atlanta is a collection of extremely catchy tunes on love, loneliness and going out and partying, just like the first record. Both albums remind me a lot on the 1980 Stiff records classic Where Are All The Nice Girls by Any Trouble.

The musicianship is heavily based on the jangling Rickenbacker guitar sound and perhaps one could argue that the digital version of the album (CD or mp3) is mixed a bit too much in mid and high frequencies. But, perhaps the Jesse wanted to have a nice sound on the vinyl, which is definitely achieved. The old plastic version of the record plays great and it sounds like something recorded in 1979. On Stiff I might add once more!

First published on rockxs.com.