Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Sunday, August 26, 2012

From The Shelf: JC Brooks And The Uptown Sound - Want More (2011)

JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound
Want More
Bloodshot Records

I haven't listened to a soul album this good since lying on my parent's living room floor, one of my father's Motown records spinning on the turntable and the world illuminated only by the dim light of the stereo.  Somewhere between James Brown and Otis Redding the music of JC Brook and the Uptown Sound is a fresh take on a classic sound. With moments of aggressive blues power and sweet soulful tenderness Want More is filled with songs that blessedly capture the feel of all three decades that defined Soul's musical supremacy. With the tender 50's croon of "To Love Someone (That Don't Love You)", the danceable 60's blues strut of "Everything Will Be Fine" and a groovy 70's funk in " Bad News" this album has all the bases covered. There's even a little gospel thrown in there, which has to make Momma Brooks proud.            

Having successfully captured a powerfully raw live sound this album is filled with amazing instrumentation and tremendously awesome vocals. Without a single bad track in the bunch you're going to find yourself listing to this album over and over. If it doesn't make you dance, please see someone because there might be something seriously wrong with you. Trust me when I say this: You Need This Album. So whether you pick up a CD or digital copy or get it on sweet sweet vinyl, don't let another day go by without it.

10 Questions: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

The amazing retro soul sound of Chicago's JC Brook and the Uptown Sound is some of the best music out there right now. Still gaining momentum from 2011's Want More this band is sure to be a household name in no time.  Guitarist Billy Bungeroth and bass player Ben Taylor took some time to sit down with BLS and answer our questions. Make sure you catch them at our own Mississippi Studios this Friday.

BLS: JC you have a love for acting and the stage. What dramatic elements have you been able to incorporate into the band's live show?

JCB:  Heightened sense of emotionalism or playing emotional extremes when it suits the build of the song. I also play JC as slightly mentally disturbed...

BLS: The rawness of your live show is one of your strongest selling points. Do you feel you were able to better capture that raw feeling in Want More compared to the Beat Your Own Drum Album?

JCB:  I feel that Beat is far rawer production-wise and content/performance-wise. We were just feeling our way through our sound at that point and we recorded it in 2 days.

BLS: What were some of the studio techniques used in the making of Want More that gives it that live feel?

 JCB:  We all played live in a room together for starters. Revolutionary concept, right? As far as studio trickery goes, we mic'd the drums through the heating duct for Sister Ray Charles.

BLS: Having grown up on my father's Motown LP's I can understand the power of soul. Can each of you remember the first soul album you ever heard?

 JCB:  I remember watching the Motown 25 special on TV, and later on, my high school jazz teacher teacher lent me James brown's greatest hits, which I taped on the other side of my Public Enemy "Nation of Millions" cassette

BLS: Chicago is a large part of your bands identity. Can you describe what it's like to be a band from Chicago and what is it about the town and specifically the Uptown neighborhood that has shaped your sound?

 JCB:  Curtis Mayfield and Wilco are both major influences. We have also had the pleasure of playing with Chicago Soul Men Syl Johnson and Renaldo Domino. Outside of that Chicago has great venues and a very encouraging music scene.

BLS: Your music has gained the attention of the blues audience, which is known for loyalty and passion. What has it meant to the band to gain this sort of attention?

 JCB:  The blues have the first and last word in all modern music. Being from Chicago the blues are incredibly important to many of us. If blues fans dig it were honored by the compliment.

BLS: If it was 1980 - who would win in a cage match between James Brown and Rick James? Would it make any difference if it was officiated by Prince and Bootsy Collins?

 JCB:  This is irrelevant both parties would be coked to the gills so the outcome would be erroneous.

BLS: Why did you choose to make Bloodshot records, a label more well know for Alt-country, your home?

JCB:  Good music transcends genre. So does a good label.

BLS: What can we expect from the band for the second half of 2012?

 JCB:  More touring, then recording in the fall/winter


BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?


JD McPherson


Josh & Mer

Aaron Novik

Freddie T & the People

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Triple Crown: 08/20 - 09/02

Friday, August 24th 
Night Beats
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors: 8PM /Show: 9PM
Adv.: $10 / Day Of: $10
21 & Over

The Go-Go freak-a-delic groove of the Night Beats is a wonderfully sinful treat. Rich in fuzz coated guitars and a sultry pulsing rhythm that can make you ache this Seattle band will be tearing at the wall of the Doug Fir this Friday night. Like a dreamy trip of graphically vicious proportions their garage flavored rock is instantly addictive. A great way to start off your weekend and embark on an awesome Triple Crown.    

Saturday, August 25th
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House
Brothers of the Last Watch / Root Jack / Burn The Stage
350 W. Burnside St
Doors: 8PM / Show: 9:30PM
Adv.: $7 / Day Of: $7
21 & Over

What more can I say about this band but that they are one of the hardest rocking working class bands in America . Next to Otis Redding their one of my favorites and believe me when I tell you that they have earned it. With the songwriting mastery of Micheal Dean Damron translated the way God intended through the ensemble of Handsome John Burbank on guitar, Mole Harris on Bass, the drums of Flapjack Texas, and the sweet  harp of David Lipkind; SOB is truly one of the greats. Their recorded material is amazing but it's their live show that truly shines. Like a hard rock tent revival a night with this band is unforgettable. Word from the band is that this will be the last Portland show in a while so make sure you don't miss it.

Sunday, September 2nd
McMenamins' Edgefield
2126 SW Halsey St; Troutdale
Doors: 5PM / Show: 6PM
Adv.: $49.50 / Day Of: $52
All Ages

You would have to have lived in a very deep cave not to have heard Gotye's song "Someone That I Use to Know" sometime over the last year, but there is so much more to this artist. With diversely stylized and boldly imaginative music that's reminiscent of  Peter Gabriel and The Police era Sting, Gotye is a master of crafting the auditory medium. The way he sees sound and is able to form it is like Picasso and his paint brush. Having spent the last few years making a name for himself internationally, it's nice to see that here in the states we're coming around to see the light of his genius. This concert on the lawn at the wonderful Edgefield should be a perfect way to finish out the last few days of summer.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

About Last Night:Thundering Asteroids! @ Kaite O Brien's 08/10

Last night I saw the Phoenix rise in the form of the Thundering Asteroids!. Having taken a hiatus to gather strength and to find a new drummer. Portland's funnest troupe of Punk rocking nerds has returned with a Wrath of Khan worthy vengeance.

With a revitalized energy and  a bonafide DC Punk Legend on the skins the Thundering Asteroids! took no quarter and tore with full force into their set at Katie O'Brien's.  Stacked with true believers elated to hear the band live once again, the small room almost vibrated with excitement. Like the rest of the crowd I found myself either chanting the lyrics or basking in the wonderful geek brilliance of songs like the Labyrinth inspired "I Have a Thing for the Goblin King." Playing as tight as I've ever seen them, it was as though they had never missed a step, blowing the crowd away with their signature fun loving energy. 

It's apparent, that the time off seems to have done the band well, their music sounded amazing as they plowed through one crowd pleasing song after another. Minn was a ball of hyper speed movement throwing herself into each song. It wasn't until after the show that she confessed to waking with a cold that morning, but you wouldn't have know it by the way she belted the lyrics and hopped about like Frogger on a speed level.
The addition of CS-DU3(Colin Sears of Dag Nasty fame) on the drum seems to be a perfect match, melding seamlessly with Scott Starkiller's bass and Dwight Solo's guitar. This amazing show straight  off the bench has got me excited about what we can expect next form the gang. Word from the band is that they're looking to catch up with their current catalog with official recordings and to then turn their attentions towards working on new materials. No matter the plan you can be certain that I'll be keeping a close watch on them with fingers crossed that their next musical tribute might be to The Monster Squad or the video game Rampage.
I unfortunately had to head home early for work the next day and didn't get to see The Anxieties play, but the the opening slot was a wonderfully emotional set by the 42 Ford Prefects(sorry guys that I miss spelled your name in the Preview). Powerfully abusive I love the drive of the band but admit that I think it would have been more powerful if I could have understood the lyrics more. This would have allowed me to become more invested in their songs. Over all though, it was a great night at Katie O'Brien's and I'm glad I was they to see the Thundering Asteroids! shake the ashes from their wings an sore once again..       

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Double Feature: Pony Boy "Not In This Town" & My Morning Jacket "Out of My System"

For the return of  the Tuesday Double Feature, I've collected some fairly odd videos for you viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Pony Boy - "Not In This Town"

Pony Boy is the seductive Marchelle Bradanini who's music is a sensually smokey hybrid of blue hazed jazz joints and broken down honk-tonks.  The latest single,"Not In This Town" is sure to be the continued slow build to Bradanini's future success. Like a  mind blowing game of foreplay, she seems to be stoking the fires until we beg for the release of more material. Either she's a marketing genius or a sadist, either way it seems she's incomplete control. I just hope she'll tell us the safe word.   

My Morning Jacket - "Out of My System"

It's been a great summer for My Morning Jacket. Having returned from Europe to a string of great US dates, it seems that the band that's worked so hard for so many years finally gets to reap the rewards of their labor. Additionally, the band has release their Out of My System EP this last week and will be playing a a busy schedule of shows  to finish off the summer and start the Fall. Here in Portland, we'll be treated to a concert at our own wonderful Edgefield in early September. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Living Room Performance: Ms Mr "Hurricane"

For You busy people who might not be able to make it To concerts or just need a little fix of music BLS now brings you short shot of some great performances.

Ms Mr - "Hurricane"
Electric Lady Studio
New York New York
June 8th 2012

New York based Ms Mr have spent the summer supporting Marina & The Diamonds and will be making their first trip to Europe in the Fall. Enjoy this performance of their single "Hurricane" form a recent session at New York's famous Electric Lady Studio.

A special thanks to my Daughter Cassidy for her help choosing this video and launching of a new column.

A Cure for a Case of the Mondays

Here's a little something upbeat to get you through your Monday.

Mika - Celebrate

Having recently preformed at the Olympics and his latest album The Origin of Love out in October Mika is spreading some Pop-tastic tunes for the whole world to enjoy.
So I hope it can get you through your Monday.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quick Pick: August 10th

Friday, August 10th
Thundering Asteroids!
The Anxieties / 42 Ford Perfect
Katie O'Brien's
2809 NE Sandy Blvd.
Show: 9PM
Cover: $3
21 & Over

I haven't anticipated something this much since 1983 with the original release of Return of the Jedi. Like the Empires Strikes Back, I've been  filled with unanswered questions since the unexpected hiatus of Portland's Nerd-puck outfit the Thundering Asteroids! earlier this year. Will the band return to continue their blessed Geek-core? Will the new drummer be able to fill the shoes of his predecessor and bring something of his own to the table? Me, I feel like The Six Million Dollar Man, this band has what it takes to rebuild themselves. They have the technology. They have the will. To be better, stronger, Faster than they were before and this show at Katie O'Brien's will be the first time for them to prove it. Fan boys of the world, prepare yourselves to once again to bow at the will of Minn and her warriors of 16-bits.
Filling out the rest of the bill is fellow Portland conspirators The Annxieties with their self-professed three cord sass and the 42 Ford Perfect, who will be celebrating the release of their album on, believe it or not, glow-in-the-dark vinyl. What ever the reason or obstacles you might have to over come, make sure you make it out for this great return show. It's the perfect chance to let your geek flag fly. You know you want to.