Tag Archives: Greg Cartwright

Flashlite #274

Larry RamosToday’s show is dedicated to Larry Ramos, the singer who was a part of The Association, starting with their third album Insight Out. He passed away last week. We remember him with two tunes, but we also celebrate some new music as well. We introduce The Record Company, a band from Los Angeles. On the other band, in Brooklyn NYC we have a new really fun band called Screamin’ Rebel Angels. Greg Oblivian’s Reigning Sound have a new single. Los Puchos is a new name from Phoenix AZ. They put their music out exclusively on cassette tapes. Tame Impala have a new live LP. We also check out two recent LPs by Brimstone Howl. They were a great band from Omaha who broke up some 7 years ago, but before they split, they recorded two albums. One back home in Omaha and the other one in Detroit with Jim Diamond. Those albums were shelved and waited until recently only to show up in limited edition vinyl. John Ziegler, vocalist from that band also has a new band called The Lupines.

J Henry Burnett – Sliding By;
The Record Company – Baby I’m Broken;
Screamin’ Rebel Angels – Saved;
Elkie Brooks – Saved;
Oblivians – Pinball King;
Reigning Sound – Falling Rain;
Denney And The Jets – Darlin’;
Mississippi John Hurt – Here I Am, Oh Send Me (Blues Alphabet);
Brimstone Howl – Crosswind;
Brimstone Howl – Nothing New Under The Sun;
The Lupines – Maria (Where’s Yr Man);
Lawson And Four More – Halfway Down The Stairs;
Trashed Romeos- Halfway Down The Stairs;
Todd Rundgren – I Saw the Light;
Los Puchos – Sophie;
The Association – Are You Ready;
The Association – Like Always;
Natural Child – Train Coming Round The Bend (Live in CLE)
Tame Impala – Desire Be, Desire Go.

The Oblivians – Desperation (In The Red)

The Oblivians - DesparationOblivians are a band from Memphis, the godfathers of the garage underground scene in that city that just broke up when they were getting to be known worldwide in the late nineties. They called it quits after a great collaboration with Quintron in 1997. The band went separate ways, Greg Cartwright established himself as one of the most important songwriters with the new band Reigning Sound, Jack Yarber became the king of the minimalist garage and Eric Friedl was busy running the famous Goner Records label and playing gutter punk with True Sons of Thunder. This year they decided to ditch their real surnames again and return to The Oblivians.

It’s like all those years of separate careers did not even happen. The new record is a classic Oblivians chaotic mix of dirt and melody. Timeless quality comes form the fact that they recorded the whole thing on scotch tape, at least that’s how it sounds like. Inputs to the record are brotherly divided up by all three of them and among the excellent originals that already threaten to become classics, there are some hilarious cover choices: Paul Butterfield Band, Andy Griffith and probably the catchiest song on the record Call The Police which brings back Quintron and Miss Pussycat and it was written by Stephanie McDee – a popular local hip hop entertainer from New Orleans who mixes rap and zydeco traditions.

A few technical notes on the vinyl release. Cover on the font is a great photograph, but it’s a low resolution digital photo blown up to the 12×12″ record cover. Inside photography is beautiful. There is no clear information on the record or on the cover where it was mastered or pressed. I can’t say much about the vinyl cut, after all, the whole record sounds like it was recorded on a scotch tape. But that sort of visual and aural lo-fi chaos is what represents The Oblivians authentically. Anything more polished would be a disaster.

Eamon McGrath – Young Canadians

Eamon McGrath - Young CanadiansEamon McGrath comes from Canada. He grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canadian Western province, North of the US state of Montana, with lots of prairies. This is where he started to come up with his first songs, recording them in his house and distributing them around on cd-rs to friends and fans. There is about 15 to 20 of those proto albums that he made in very small amount of copies and it is unclear what exactly is contained in those releases. Perhaps some songs repeated in multiple versions, but what we can tell for sure, they were all recorded relatively cheaply in lo-fi technology.

Some of these first recordings appeared on McGrath first official release for an actual label White Whale Records in 2009 on a compilation record 13 Songs of Whiskey and Light. This is when I first heard of McGrath. Although 13 Songs of Whiskey and Light record is technically a compilation, it really flows as a normal release. All songs are fresh and show a great consistency and a talent of a new songwriter. This is also around the time when McGrath moved to Toronto to pursue his musical career more actively.

With a label, growing audience and extremely positive reviews from the British press, McGrath quickly established his name as the greatest new name coming from Toronto. The quality of the songs also showed that some of the current great songwriters, such as Greg Cartwright and Harlan T. Bobo from Memphis TN, got a new challenger from an unexpected place. The race for the greatest contemporary songwriter is on.

This year brought another release for McGrath. As you can see from the title Young Canadians, the record is a patriotic view on the Canada today and the generation to which McGrath belongs to. He is quite young, in his early twenties, and he can already claim to be the poet of his generation. Images of the Canadian life and landscapes fill the lyrics of the songs. This is not an idealized picture of the world around McGrath. It’s similar to Springsteen’s Nebraska or Born In The USA – it’s patriotism with consciousness.

Talking about Springsteen, this is a name that is often quoted as a strong ingfluence on McGrath. But, it is not the only influence. I can also hear a lot of Warren Zevon, particularly when some cynicism springs through some of the lyrics. On the other hand, McGrath also never hides some of the fresher influences. Paul Westerberg is often mentioned in his interviews and Bob Mould from his “poison years” is another one that I hear. Just listen to the screaming vocals of the closing track Saskatoon on this album, and you will understand what I’m talking about. The synthesis of all these influences in McGrath music is for one perfect. He is picking on some of the most wonderful songwriters in the history of rock’n’roll. Also, the synthesis is seamless. He wears the influences proudly, but also brings a lot of new things into the mix.

It would we wrong to understand McGrath purely as a singer songwriter, although this is pretty logical if you are basing your conclusion only on his records. However, the news comes to us that his live shows are totally rocking, and his live trio sounds more like Black Flag than the E Street Band. If you ask me, that’s kind of a surprise I’d love to experience!

McGrath is raw, unpolished jewel that is rare to find. He breathes greatness from every grove on this new record and we can consider ourselves lucky to be his contemporaries. He takes all from the life and experiences around him and fiercely returns it all to us on a record. May the spirit of Bob Stinson be forever with him.

First published on rockxs.com.

Flashlite #166

John McCauleyNew names in today’s show is the Portuguese duet called New Kind of Mambo and The Horrors from Cedar Rapids in Iowa. New Kind of Mambo has a new ep on their bandcamp page (free download) and Horrors have a new album called Vent produced by one of the heroes of this show Greg Cartwright. Tough Shits is another new band today with a self titled album. Deer Tick have new ep called Tim and we check it out in today’s show, by exploring connections between John McCauley and Paul Westerberg. Howe Gelb expanded the line up of his Giant Sand and now they are Giant Giant Sand – 12 people total in the new line up. Giant indeed. Freedy Johnston, Jon Dee Graham and Susan Cowsill put the record out as The Hobart Brothers and Lil’ Sis Hobart. We heard them all together for the first time a year ago in Flashlite 123 and now their first official album At Least We Have Each Other is out.

Mourning Sun – Benashaw Glenn;
The Hobart Brothers and Lil Sis Hobart – Ballad Of Sis (Didn’t I Love You);
Continental Drifters – Spring Day In Ohio;
Cheyenne Marie Mize – Wishing Well;
fIREHOSE – Formal Introduction (Live);
Mike Watt – The Glory of Man Anxious Mo-Fo;
The Horrors – Block Of Wood;
Reigning Sound – Since When;
Love Me – Sadly Beautiful;
The Replacements – Never Mind;
Deer Tick – Main Street;
Lee Ranaldo – Off The Wall;
James And Bobby Purify – I’m Your Puppet;
The Tough Shits – She’s a Loner;
Giant Giant Sand – Tucson;
New Kind Of Mambo – New Kind Of Mambo.

Flashlite #145

Kathleen EdwardsThe first block in today’s show is dedicated to the three (fake) brothers – Eric, Greg and Jack Oblivian. We know Jack has a new album Rat City, but the other two brothers are shaking the rock’n’roll scene with new records as well. Greg’s Reigning Sound has a new digital record called Abdication For Your Love and Eric has a really exceptional new record with his band True Sons of Thunder. Their older colleague from Memphis, legendary Steve Cropper has a tribute record, dedicated to Lowman Pete Pauling of The “5” Royales fame. New Jersey singer songwriter Neal Casal is back also with the new record. Canadian lady Kathleen Edwards is a new name for us, but we really like what she’s doing.

The Mamas and Papas – Dedicated To The One I Love;
Tony Joe White – Scratch My Back;
True Sons of Thunder – Tony Joe White;
AAAA New Memphis Legs – Wild About You;
Oblivians – How Long;
Jack Oblivian – Girl with the Bruises;
Reigning Sound – Lyin’ Girl;
The 5 Royales – Dedicated To The One I Love;
Steve Cropper – Dedicated To The One I Love;
Kathleen Edwards – Sidecar;
Ana Egge – Motorcycle;
Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story;
Neal Casal – I Will Weep No More;
Neal Casal – Let It All Begin;
The Masticators – With A Litte Luck;
The Action Is – My Hero;
Dave Davies – This Man He Weeps Tonight.

3. Harlan T Bobo – Sucker

Harlan T Bobo - SuckerHarlan T Bobo hails from Memphis and in the past several years, he established himself as the most consistent songwriter on the rock scene, with only his Memphis buddy Greg Cartwright to rival that crowning position. But, while Greg has a strong pop streak, Harlan T Bobo takes things more seriously it seems. I guess, what I’m trying to say here, it’s hard to imagine Harlan writing songs for anyone or anything else besides his albums. The approach is hundred percent personal and we can only be grateful to be in it for the ride. His first album recorded back in 2003 was a painful breakup story. Harlan T Bobo is now a married man and blissful intro Life is Sweet accounts to his new found peace in family life. First half of this short record (only 30 minutes), is mostly folk oriented, interrupted only with the perfectly twisted pop tune Hamster in a Cage, which indeed sounds written in the key of Greg Cartwright. But things get twisted later on with two uncompromising rockers back to back Bad Boyfriends and Energy. And then we have an epic Drunk which is by far the longest on the record and key that creates a perfect contrast with the disarmingly beautiful opening song. And then, at the very end, as if demonstrating once for all that Bobo is equally talented in multiple musical genres, the record officially ends with francophone chancone Mille Chatte. Yes, Bobo is definitely the strongest songwriter today.

18. The Parting Gifts – Strychnine Dandelion

The Parting Gifts - Strychnine DandelionGreg Cartwright has grown into one of the most skilful songwriters today. This year, he put his main band Reigning Sound on a break, reunited with The Oblivians for a few shows, and formed a new band Parting Gifts with Coco Hames of The Ettes. The resulting album, Strychnine Dandelion is a rousing pile of basic rock’n’roll fury with Strange Disposition standing out as an obvious favorite.

Flashlite #99

Mike WattThis is one of the heaviest shows with new materials if you consider what rockers we have with new records this time: Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Mike Watt, Steve Wynn and Greg Cartwright. What a line up, huh? So, let’s see – the Boss dug out old sessions for the Darkness at The Edge of The Town album and has them out now as a double disc called The Promise. Costello recorded an album called National Ransom with T. Bone Burnett in LA and Nashville. Mike Watt has a new conceptual record called Hyphenated-Man and it’s about his life as a middle aged punk. Steve Wynn gathered his Miracle Three over in Richmond to record a new album which they call Northern Aggression. That one’s somewhat of a loose concept too – Yanks belting out in the Southern man’s land. Greg is here with a new band called The Parting Gifts, apparently an one time gig for him and Coco Hames of The Ettes.

Paul Westerberg – Knockin on Mine;
The Ettes – I Can’t Be True;
The Parting Gifts – My Mind’s Made Up;
Reigning Sound – The Bells;
Doug Gillard – Only a Loan;
Underscore Adia – One Whole Week;
Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire;
Bruce Springsteen – Fire;
Elvis Costello – The Spell That You Cast;
Elivs Costello And The Attractions – Opportunity;
Scarcity of Tanks – Cardboard;
fIREHOSE – Mas Cojones;
Mike Watt – Wheel Bound;
Peter Case – Dig What You’re Putting Down;
Dream Syndicate – Dying Ambers;
Steve Wynn and The Miracle Three – Death of Donny B;
Aaron Spade – Certain Touch.

10. Regining Sound – Love and curses

Regining SoundGreg Cartwright established himself as one of the most respected rock’n’roll characters in the recent years. His records are consistently great and he took several bands under his wing to help out, produce and write a few songs. At the same time, he continues to put out great music with his own band Reigning Sound. Although I prefer the riotous stomp of their previous album Too Much Guitar, the new album Love and Curses definitely has its charms and as always, takes Greg into new places, a guy who keeps self-developing with every new record.

Flashlite #58

Reigning SoundToday we have three new releases by three regular acts here at the Little Lighthouse. Mission of Burma’s new LP The Sound The Speed The Light confirms that they are more than just another 80s reunion. I still remember vividly their amazing open air concert here in Cleveland this summer. Greg Cartwright’s Reigning Sound are also back with their new album Love and Curses, and it re-establishes Cartwright as one the greatest songwriters at this point in history. Another prolific Memphis punk, Jay Reatard has a new album called Watch Me Fall. This master of short form (singles and eps), proves that he can do a long player just as well. We also bring you a new attraction from Perth Australia – smRts, founded by Pedja Delibasic who we know from defunct Soviet Valves.

Stone The Crows – Keep On Rollin;
Python Lee Jackson – Turn The Music Down;
smRts – Lenin’s Funeral March;
Reigning Sound – If I Can’t Come Back;
The Oblivians – She’s a Hole;
Greg Cartwright – Better Man Than Me;
Greg Koons And The Misbegotten – New Boyfriend;
Ray Mason – Lunch Box;
Mission of Burma – Nicotine Bomb;
Mission Of Burma – SSL 83;
Messerschmitt – Ohio;
Jay Reatard – My Reality;
Jay Reatard – Don’t Let Him Come Back;
The Go-Betweens – Don’t Let Him Come Back;
The Chairs – Christopher Bell;
Big Star – My Life Is Righ;
Don Nix – Black Cat Moan;
Mudboy and the Neutrons – Hitler Lives;
Beatles – Revolution 1;
Laboratorija Zvuka – Oprostaj od magneta.