Lock Down This Rock!! – 16 – White Wires/WWIII

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

I should just give up the battle. I play “punk” music, right? Everyone plays punk music. All music is punk music. The word embodies a very strict set of rules the includes AND excludes all bands.

So yeah, saying White Wires is a punk band is a completely useless descriptor. I’d say that underground, hook-filled rock is better. Not much, but at least it presents a ballpark to reside in.

I came around to the White Wires. Here’s a peek into my particular music mania: during the week, I listen to several different internet radio stations, and jot down tracks for further investigation. Come payday, I investigate. For the White Wires, I passed the first time around. Then I heard them live on the Cherry Blossom Clinic with Terre T on WFMU. Changed my mind. They have a great attitude.

What does attitude have to do with anything? Sometimes everything.

I love it when a band is overjoyed with the music their playing. According to the mission statement that came with the vinyl, WWIII was conceived to be their big pop album, with hooks, and guitar, and singles, and everything. The White Wires are just happy to be here, and just happy to be playing their songs. That’s infectious.

Check ’em out!!


On Payday, I like to exchange money for musical goods and services. This is what I bought!

Hey, it’s a two post day! Rare!

This time around, I picked up:

And I have to give a shout out to Green Noise‘s mailorder prowess. Free USPS shipping for orders over $25. Order shipped within hours of order. Records appeared THE VERY NEXT DAY.

Whereas, I’m still waiting on some orders from last Payday from other, not nearly as together sources. Tsk, tsk!

Lock Down This Rock!! – 15 – Redd Kross/Researching the Blues

I am guilty of many crimes. One of which is not liking the right bands.

Are there ‘right’ bands to enjoy? I find myself fascinated with the bands I should like. The Pavements* of the world. The Roxy Musics**. The Spoons***. All of these bands should be in my wheelhouse. In theory. But only leave me cold. Why can’t I love the Replacements****? People with the same taste in music, people whom I respect, they love them unequivocally. It must be my problem.

As a result, I’ll revisit a Clash***** from time to time. This time around it’s the new album by Redd Kross. To my surprise, I liked half of it! That’s the half I’m going to talk about.

I have a theory about the musical Rosetta Stone. It’s the one song that allows you to suddenly decode a band’s output. More on that later. Much more. But on this album, that song is Choose to Play. It’s a fantastic bit of distilled, euphoric power pop. I think it’s the euphoria that elevates my favorite songs on this album. Almost psychedelic in it’s scope. The songs without this I skip.

Also interesting about this album, is that the good songs are bottom loaded. Most bands cram them at the beginning, and then lose steam after the midpoint. Maybe I don’t know what the goods songs really are?

So yeah, check it out!! But I doubt that I needed to tell you, the world, that. You’re already clued in.

**The Hell you Say!
****Heresy!! Burn the Heretic!!
*****Against God and Nature!

Lock Down This Rock!! – 12 – Mind Spiders/Meltdown

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

What is a Mind Spider?

I’m not quite sure. But from piecing together referencers from the songs on this album, I can safely say that it’s some manner of invisible creature that invades the brain, causing an elevated state of rock consciousness.

So, I played this at game night, and Rich said it sounded “retro”. Which is an interesting choice of words in these times. Nostalgia always has a place in the music underground. Bands longing for musical genres and individual bands long since forgotten by everyone else… these are the building blocks of scenes. These days, “garage rock” is a movement. I have bands in my collection that sound like they swept the cutting room floor of the James Gang. Or Sabbath. Or The Sonics. Circle of life.

I’m not saying this is bad or good. I’m just sayin’.

Back to the Mind Spiders and their album Meltdown. They start off by proclaiming that us, the listener, are dead. And then proceed on to fastidiously power garage-y pop, with nu-wave flourishes. Nu-wave is code for keyboards.

Here’s the thing with keyboards in bands: often disappointing. The curse of the rock keyboardist is that they must find a place in every song. And much like the dreaded saxophone, keyboards simply don’t fit in every rock song. Luckily for the Mind Spiders, the keyboards are never out of place. Even the throw-away final track is jaunty. I like jaunty.

I find this album solid. It may lose a little steam near the end, but that’s endemic for the medium.

Check ’em out!!

Lock Down This Rock!! – 11 – Young Governor/A Love Too Strong

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

These Canadians and their rock collectives! Perhaps all this meritocracy is keeping rock alive!

But today, I’m not going to talk about that. i’m going to talk about the “solo” incarnation of a Canadian band. In particular, Young Governor.

One of the giant guitars in Fucked Up (collective), Young Governor has a very particular notion of “keeping it real”. He only releases singles and extended play records. Scattered like seeds on the wind of the underground. I pre-ordered his latest, A Love Too Strong, which he released under the moniker Young Gov & The Scuzz.

This here is 10 inches of lovingly crafted power pop. Not skinny tie type, more Big Star type. The crispy sizzle from the treble knobs being cranked permeates all of these upbeat, catchy numbers. I can’t help be reminded of the 70’s AM dial. This songs make way too much noise to be from that era, but the feeling is the same. These are the songs that play on the 70’s AM station in Young Governor’s mind.

As expected, this release leaves me wanting more. For better or for worse*, I’m not sure. I do like singles, but I’d like to hear the mythical full album.

Check ’em out, and try to ignore the unfortunate blog title.

*A Canadian pun? You decide!


On Payday, I like to exchange money for musical goods and services. This is what I bought!

Everything this pay period I heard on Evan “Funk” Davis’s show. The more you know…

Woollen Kits – Shelley / Down Your Street 7″
Australia is blowing up y’all! Woollen Kits, down under label mates with Royal Headache.

Cuffs – Private View 7″

Warm Soda – Reaction 7″
It’s a 7″ payday! Blowing my budget! Yeah!

Today’s Lesson in Keeping An Open Mind:

Red Kross – Researching The Blues (mp3 Album)
Okay, so those familiar with things underground will know the name Red Kross. A band’s band… beloved and championed by much more successful acts. And even by non-band people!

Over their long career that started as tweens opening for Black Flag, nothing I’ve heard of theirs has done anything for me. And now with this, their umpteenth album, I like a few songs! Granted, I still think they’re only hitting a little over half of the time, but that’s great for baseball, right? Maybe the rest will grow on me.

If I end up hating it, I can always give this to Rich. He’d eat this up. With a spoon.

Lock Down This Rock!! – 10 – Where The Music Lives

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

Do you know where the music lives in this Brave New World? I know where some of it is. Here are some great sources for discovering all the kool bandz before the kids do! These are the shows I currently listen to.

Want to hear me rant about today’s infinite access? I bet you don’t. Let’s just say, you kids don’t know how good you have it. Back in the day, all you had were sporadically published ‘zines, that one cool dude’s opinion, and evaluations of the cover artwork to guide you in choosing your next music purchase. All of which I kinda miss.

The Evan “Funk” Davis Show
Evan’s show is a mix of obsessive 70’s crate digging, and gems pulled from the new bin at WFMU. Available live, and archived on the inner web, which is how I listen. Evan introduced me to Pujol, Ready Stance, The Shoppers, and many more. A great supporter of up and coming bands.

The Best Show on WFMU
Tom Scharpling’s long form comedy radio program is almost impossible to explain. It’s a strange, alternate world where music trivia informs slow burn parody, live callers get shot down in flames, and a place where Tom can take gripe about subjects both profane and obscure. And he kicks off each show with about half an hour of prime music that needs to be evangelized.

Portland has has a hole in its local radio scene for many moons. But KZME is the closest station we’ve got to WFMU on this coast. They take playing local bands seriously. I could do with some more rock and less sensitive beard music, but it does reflect the current underground in PDX.

The Cherry Blossom Clinic
Sense a pattern with all these WFMU shows? The station is a lesson in listener supported, free form radio done right. Terre T plays dabbles more in the garage-y side of rock, and often has local acts perform in studio.

Rock the Nation with Dr. Stahl
New show that showcases much of the rock and punk side of Portland, which has been woefully under-represented as of late. Now here is a program that you would NEVER find without the limitless possibilities of the innerweb.  Classic, straight up big hair metal and great local punk/rock releases. It’s kinda irresistible, even for butt rock non-fans. Here’s to hoping it sticks around!

The End!

Lock Down This Rock – 09 – M.O.T.O.

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

Jack White has a new album out that critics are predictably swooning about. It’s about as inspired as you’d think from a superstar well along in his career.

He’s certainly not writing lyrics like: “The moon in the sky kicks the ass of the stars. They all fade, they all fade, so it goes.”

Which is my way of saying… why don’t more people know M.O.T.O.? This is the age of the Internet!

Pedigree? Established as contemporaries of Guided by Voices, and Flaming Lips (so, circa 1983 or so) and they’ve been active most of that time. Released a ridiculous number of albums that mere mortals cannot buy. Why? They were released in obscenely small quantities. Some only exist in cassette tape form. The only sane way you can buy M.O.T.O. music is by buying mp3 albums from CD Baby. They’re not even on iTunes! And they are obsessed with anthemic power punk with sing along choruses such as “Flipping you off with every finger on my hand”.

I’ll admit. I’m not a fan who’s been following them for years. I’m not nearly that cool. They played a local gig (which I couldn’t attend), Rich knew a bit of their backstory, and we checked out their tunes on Myspace. Talk about opening a Pandora’s Box. There was even a local cover band devoted to them. Internet, why don’t you know about M.O.T.O.?

For the record, the two albums I procured were Raw Power, and Kill MOTO. And for a rock band to name their album after a very, very, very famous Iggy and the Stooges album? Brass balls.

Oh, and for the record, it’s short for Masters Of The Obvious. Ironic, eh?

Check ’em out!!


Hey, it’s a new feature!

I’m not one for massive indulgence, but when it’s payday, I like to send some of my cash to bands. This is to celebrate me having a job (a traditionally iffy proposition), and motivation to keep it!

Anyway, I’m going to tell you who I’m buying every payday. I may not be able to give a proper review to everything (aka: having a job), but I can at least tell you what I heard during the pay period worthy of my further investigation.

So, what did I buy?


Lock Down This Rock – 08 – Wussy/Strawberry

I like music. I have a band. I’m gonna tell you all about it. 

 What I look for in rock: guitars, melody, guitars, energy, guitars, and guitars.

This is a pretty goddamn fantastic album. And to think I didn’t want to write about Strawberry!

First of all, it came out in 2009. Old news! Secondly, I learned about it from a shameful source. A local paper. One that 99 percent of the time only reviews bands that have friends in them. You know… THAT local type of paper. Luckily we have two local papers. I’m sure one is good and angelic. That’s how the universe works. Yin/Yang. There couldn’t be TWO horrible local rags, could there?

Anyway, Wussy appears to have been formed in the wake of the Ass Ponies, a band that I only know from the prestigious amount of used CDs I used to see in the cut out bins. I listened to some on the innerweb, and it appears to me they were one of the many bands snatched up by Big Music, only to have their talent pissed away in the search for the next Crazy Town.

But this review isn’t about any of that stuff, cuz I don’t know it. Wussy is one of the few bands that have two strong vocalists covering the male and female spectrum of gender. Americana tinged indie rock lovingly sculpted around thin metaphors for dreams and love. Rich thinks they sound like Uncle Tupelo. I would never be that reductive. Never!

And they’re from Ohio. What is it about those Ohio bands that I can’t shake?

Check ’em out!!