Tag Archives: Gentleman Jesse

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.

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.

Flashlite #163

Janiva MagnessGentleman Jesse is back with the new collection of perfect garage power pop tunes packed onto a new album called Leaving Atlanta. Jeannette, formerly of The Chubbies, now A Brokeheart Pro, has a new album out as well. It’s a companion to her first novel called Josephine The Outlaw King. Lee Ranaldo (ex Sonic Youth) is also back with a very nice retro styled psychedelic record called Between The Times And The Tides with a bunch of conventionally written tunes. The new names today is the blues singer with great vocal Janiva Magness, Tinko – new band from Cleveland and Pajaro Jack, Spanish alt-rock band. Kitty Daisy and Lewis are three siblings who’s mom Ingrid Weiss was in Raincoats and father Graeme Durham is a famous record studio owner and engineer from England. Rock on yall!

Jay Farrar, Yim Yames, Will Johnson and Anders Parker – Hoping Machine;
Gentleman Jesse – If I Can See You (You’re Too Close To Me);
Gentleman Jesse – Eat Me Alive;
Gentleman Jesse – Going Outta My Mind;
A Brokeheart Pro – Bullets Aint Brakes;
Janiva Magness – There It Is;
Holly Renee Allen – Let Love;
Stacie Collins – Jumping Jack Flash;
Royal Baths – Burned;
Tinko – Jaywalking Square;
Lee Ranaldo – Angles;
Mike Therieau – Holding On;
Kitty Daisy and Lewis – Don’t Make a Fool Out of Me;
Raincoats – Fairytale In The Supermarket;
Andre Williams – Hu-Matic Man;
Pájaro Jack – Desde el Tren.

Flashlite #109

Gerry RaffertyToday we have two obituaries. Jazz vibraphonist from Zagreb, BoÅ¡ko Petrović, better known as B. P, died on January 10. The Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty died on January 4. He is best known for his hit singles Stuck In The Middle and Baker Street, but he actually had a pretty consistently good songbook through the entire recording career. We pay tributes to B.P. and Gerry in today’s show. Bubblegum Lemonade is a new Scottish band that’s out to continue their countryman Rafferty’s work. They, however, roughly belong to the new 80s revival, with sound that’s resembles what once was on The Creation label or Paisley Underground, even a good dose of shoegaze. Jump Back Jake from Memphis are here again with yet another ep. Tim Lee has a new double LP called Raucous Americanus – the first truly (and literally) big record for 2011. Gentleman Jesse has yet another new 45. Kyle Thomas’ band Happy Birthday (he’s also in King Tuff) has an LP that came out quite a few months ago, but I only got it now. It’s a really phenomenal record with great pop tunes. Thomas’ proves again that he’s a very talented songwriter.

BP Convention – Mali djecak sa velikim srcem;
The Monkees – The Last Train To Clarksville;
Bubblegum Lemonade – Last Train to Clarkston;
Bubblegum Lemonade – A Billion Heartbeats;
The Parties – Suite: Feet Back On The Ground/I’m Sorry/Going Away Girl;
King Tuff – A Pretty Dress;
Happy Birthday – 2 Shy;
Gentleman Jesse And His Men – You’ve Got The Wrong Man;
Gentleman Jesse – The Rest of My Days;
Jump Back Jake – If I Ever Go Back;
Jump Back Jake & The Echo-Friendly – Flash the Lights;
Tim Lee 3 – Bigger;
Tim Lee – Speak Up Girl;
Eagles Of Death Metal – Stuck In the Middle with You;
Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle;
Stealers Wheel – Good Businessman;
Gerry Rafferty – Don’t Count Me Out;
Josipa Lisac and BP Convention Big Band – Nesto.

Flashlite #98

Billy RuaneBilly Ruane was a promoter and music event organizer in Boston. He had a huge impact on the Boston rock’n’roll scene and many Bostonians and others remember him fondly. Sad news came to us last Thursday that he has passed away in the age of 52. Today’s show is dedicated to him, as well as the beautiful song by Varsity Drag which bears his name. Besides this dedication, we also present some new music in this show. Gentleman Jesse has another 45 as well as the Memphis soul band Jump Back Jake. Croatian garage rockers Erotic Biljan and His Heretics have also a great new single. Jim Jones Revue are here for the first time, so we play two of their songs – one from the new album Burning Your House Down and the other from Mojo Magazine’s tribute to The Beatles album Let It Be. Underscore Adia sent us their song Buick. They come from Pittsburgh and they can really rock. Excellent Australian power-poper Dom Mariani is back with a new album and so is Susan Cowsill who calls her new album simply Lighthouse. I have a crazy fantasy that she named her album after my show… Am I right?!

Phosphorescent – Across The Universe;
Mission Of Burma – Fame And Fortune;
Varsity Drag – Billy Ruane;
Eamon McGrath – File Under Fire;
Gentleman Jesse And His Men – She’s A Trap;
Jump Back Jake – Call Me Your Man;
The Sadies – Another Day Again;
Electric Light Orchestra – Fire on High;
The Stems – Love Will Grow;
Dom Mariani – Melt;
Susan Cowsill – River of Love;
The Jim Jones Revue – Get Back;
The Jim Jones Revue – Burning Your House Down;
Erotic Biljan And His Heretics – R’n’R Revolution No.5;
Satin Gum – Flea Markets and Libraries;
Underscore Adia – Buick.

Flashlite #44

Palmyra DelranI finally saw Gentleman Jesse live and I loved the show. A snippet from that show is in today’s episode. Jesse played in Cleveland his new song Word Gets Around and a cover of King Tuff’s Connection. King Tuff is a new band for me, so we check out also their own version of Connection and we introduce them to the Little Lighthouse. Inspired by the new Obits version of Milk Cow Blues, we explore the history of this great song by hearing four different versions of it. Brimstone Howl has a new 45 out, they cover Neil Diamond’s song Solitary Man. New names for today’s show are Palmyra Delran – a powerpop singer-songwriter from New York City, Mark And The Spies, a powerpop band from Netherlands. Also we have DV Nikt art-rocker from Philadelphia and The Guilty Hearts, garage rockers from California. We finish things up with wonderful last year’s Boz Scaggs jazz standards album Speak Low. We caught it as it was slipping thorough the cracks of my forgetfulness.

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me;
Boye – Ja hocu te;
DV Nikt – Spirit of the forest;
Dead Moon – Milk cow Blues;
Sleepy John Estes – Milk Cow Blues;
The Kinks – Milk Cow Blues;
Obits – Milk Cow Blues;
The Guilty Hearts – 3000 Miles;
Brimstone Howl – Solitary Man;
Gentleman Jesse – Word Gets Around;
Gentlemen Jesse – Connection;
King Tuff – Connection;
The Jam – Away From The Numbers;
Palmyra Delran – You’re Loosing Me;
Mark & The Spies – We Fell In Love;
Boz Scaggs – Up to You;
Boz Scaggs – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me.

4. Gentleman Jesse And His Men

Gentleman JesseJesse Smith, a gentleman with a band, is a total retro. Their self-titled album is an excercise in stlye. This album sounds like it was recorded in 1979 on Stiff Records. And I didn’t know any better, I’d be totally fooled. After the first listen I wondered (and I still haven’t figured out) how they were able to draw such a convincing ’70s sound. Props to the producer Dave Rahn (from a little known Atlanta band Carbonas on Goner Records). And then you start noticing that Smith has a songwriting talent that can actually stand head to head with all those great works of Nick Lowe, Wreckless Eric, Clive Gregson, Elvis Costello…

myspace.com/gentlemanjesse

Flashlite #29

Holly Golightly After two shows when we reviewed some of the older “material”, in this show we have a chance to hear some of the hottest new releases of the current moment.  Gentleman Jesse from Atlanta, GA and Judge Bone from Finland rock the (Light)house hard for the first time. Brimstone Howl, exciting new band from Nebraska (of all places) has a new album called We Come And Peace. They’ve been around for awhile, but we have them at this show for the first time (mark the calendars!). Eagles of Death Metal have a brand new album called Heart On and while it’s not surpassing the previous one, it’s still very exciting. Lucinda Williams has a new record called Little Honey and it’s probably the most electrified LP she ever recorded. And Little Lighthouse appreciates electricity more than anything else. On the other hand, Holly Golightly has gone acoustic on her new album with The Brokeoffs and that’s cool with us too. And, last but not the least – The Replacements put out the final four of their re-issues, fully equipped with cool bonus track, three of which we sample today.

Eagles of Death Metal – Whorehoppin (Shit, Goddamn);
Eagles Of Death Metal – How Can A Man With So Many Friends Feel So Alone;
Gentleman Jesse and His Men – The Rest of My Days;
Endless Boogie – Gimme The Awesome;
Brimstone Howl – Damned to Judge;
Brimstone Howl – Easy to Dream;
The Greenhornes and Holly Golightly – There Is an End;
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Slow Road;
Lucinda Williams – Little Rock Star;
Hedwig And The Angry Inch – Midnight Radio;
Cobra Verde – Home In The Highrise;
The Replacements – Nowhere Is My Home;
The Replacements – Photo;
The Replacements – Ought To Get Love;
Judge Bone – 15.000 Heads;
Mona Lisa Overdrive – Never Fallen;
The Drones – The Minotaur.