Frank Gutch Jr: We’re Missing Too Much, You and Me (a look at music already slipping into the past), Plus Notes To Knock Your Socks Off…..

FrankJr2This past week I am working on two big articles, this column and have a stack of reviews waiting to be written and am wondering where I can find the time.  I need a good 48 hours in a day to even think about keeping up, but if they gave them to me I would more than likely use them napping or watching Howard Stern  make a judging ass out of himself on network TV  (No, I wouldn’t.  I hated him when he was doing his radio and TV shows.  After watching him embarrass himself brown-nosing some poor schlep who was lucky enough to make it to the end of some lame circus act of song or dance, it reinforced my initial judgment.

Howard Has TalentYou started low, Howard, my man, but look at how far you’ve fallen since.  And I know while writing this that many of my friends are going to take me to task for this.  They love the guy.  I just don’t get it).  My point is that time is precious and there isn’t enough, you know?  How do I write seven reviews, a column, two major articles and do research for a bio or two in one week?  I don’t.

What I have been doing, instead, is bookmarking.  Every time someone recommends something, I stumble upon a video or a song, I read an article applicable to my work, I bookmark it.  It should work, except when the hell do I find the time to dig through my bookmarks?  I swear, this world is Catch-22, beginning to end.  Or maybe it’s life.  Anyway, this week I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  I am turning my bookmarks into a column.  Set yourself.  This could get ugly.  Then again, this could be the column to end all columns when it comes to finding new music.  We’ll see.

The Incurables— I’m Cured!

I wish I could remember who turned me on to The Incurables.  Wait!  I can!  I was slogging my way through Facebook one day and the dude from Powerpopaholic had them listed.  Something about having listened to their new The Fine Art of Distilling album over the weekend and not being able to change the channel.  He was right.  I’ve been listening to the album for a solid three weeks and can’t turn it off either.  Not that I want to.  This album is full of some of the pop-rockin’est tracks I’ve heard since Big Star‘s Radio City.  It’s so good, I wish I could listen to it the first time all over again.  Solidly in the running for my Album of the Year pick.  Head Incurable is Jimmy Griffin.  It’s a name I promise I will not forget.

The Cell— Southern Rock From The Czech Republic—

thecellI had no idea that you had to go all the way to the Czech Republic to find good Southern Rock these days, but I guess I was wrong.  A long time ago, pre-DBAWIS, a lady from that country sent me a request for me to look at this band’s site, to listen to their music.  I did, and I liked what I heard.  All it got them was a short mention in a blog and I may have inadvertently mentioned them in one of my columns here, but no more than mentions.  Well, I found the link and visited their site today and am happy to report that the band is not only alive and well but producing rock of a Southern nature, though maybe not Southern Rock.  There is something about their attention to detail which makes their music both intriguing and odd.  Perhaps it is the slight accent on the vocals— just enough so you know they are not American.  Perhaps it is their version of The Willie-ettes, Wet Willie’s girl background vocalists, and the sound it gives each song they sing on.  Maybe it is just that I like good music because this surely sounds good to me.  Every time I hear them, I shake my head.  Southern Rock?  Southern Czechoslovakia, maybe.  And damn good, if I do say so myself.  Click here.  You can check out the band on their own website here.

Pal Shazar—  From Back Door Man to Shear Shazar—

My buddy Michael Adams, a musician himself, turned me on to Pal Shazar.  He loves her.  A lot.  While I had heard the name, I really had nothing to hang with it so I waited until Michael broke me down.  It took one video and a few tracks, then posted on MySpace (since, not so much).  When Michael mentioned that she was married to and collaborating musically with Jules Shear, I was in!  Shear, for those who don’t know, penned my favorite Bangles hit, If She Knew What She Wants, as well as fronted the eighties pop-rockers Jules & The Polar Bears.

And, yes, she is the same Pal Shazar who was a member of Slow Children.  Ah, the memories.  You can catch up with all things Shear Shazar by clicking here.

The Americans— Hiding In Plain Sight—

theamericansI don’t know where the hell I have been but I do know it was not watching Letterman.  In the first place, he comes on too late at night and he bores me to tears anyway.  The reason I mention it is that The Americans were musical guests one night this past February.  You would think that just appearing on such a program would give the band a bit of wind in their sails, but I didn’t hear of it.  I did hear of them later, though, though for the life of me I can’t think of where.  I would like to, though, because these guys are becoming a favorite.  They have a real roots base to what they do but they have a twist unlike any I’ve heard recently.  Watch the video, then head to their website (click here) to stream their one album— Home Recordings— which they recorded in a bona fide Los Angeles basement.  Worth it for that fact alone.

Randy Burns— Music History on the Hoof—

randyburnsRandy Burns is one of my favorite musicians and human beings.  He started out in New Haven Connecticut, a teenage folkie with a dream, and parleyed his talent into a fairly regular stint on New York City’s folk scene.  He is what I would call a second-generation folkie in that he moved into the places inhabited by the old-timers who made up the Bleecker & MacDougal crowd.  He recorded for a number of years before exiting the scene but couldn’t outrun the music in his blood.  He returned to the scene awhile ago and has graced the scene in NYC selflessly.  I found this short video in my bookmarks and wondered what it was.  It is marked March 19, 2012 and nothing else.  Finding it was a thrill because there are few musicians from the old days (my days) whom I respect as much.  Here’s a little a cappella folk for you, Randy Burns-style.  Click here.

A Little Hockey History, Anyone?

It may not be music, but I love it anyway.  This is, to me, one of the coolest history pieces ever put together about hockey.  In the first place, it is Seattle’s hockey history.  In the second place, it was put together by a guy I am very happy to call a friend.  Louis Chirillo and I worked at adjoining stores when I first got to Seattle, he at Pacific Stereo, myself at Peaches Records.  Louis was the guy who explained the phrase “tripping over the blue line” and icing to me.  If we have anything in common besides music, it is a love for ice hockey, mainly Seattle’s.  I watch this on occasion when I need a pick-me-up.  Great job, Louis!

Speaking of Louis, here is a demo tape he placed on Youtube— his “greatest hits” collection, I guess you would say.  I can put this up, can’t I, Louis?  Well, too late now…..

She calls herself Alice Texas and sent me a link to not only her music but this intriguing video.  Three albums under her belt but on hiatus.  Sometimes the music business just plain sucks you dry.  I’m awaiting her return.  Until then, watch this:

Jesus.  I bookmarked this Burning Sky Records page well over a year ago.  I was intrigued by the fact that they had a tribute album of songs originally composed and/or recorded by The Posies who were a favorite back in my Seattle days.  You’ve all heard my rants about tribute and cover bands.  I hate them.  But you don’t.  You want to check out some tribute albums, this is a very cool page with links to the albums.  Click here.

jaimievernonJaimie Vernon, one of the outstanding writers who inhabit the DBAWIS kingdom, has a blog.  That’s right.  A blog.  I bookmarked it because I have read a lot of Jaimie’s writings and have found every one to be of worth to a music freak— well, the ones relating to music, anyway.  Hell, he even has an EncycloPEDia!  He writes about whatever he is interested in at the moment, but it’s mostly music.  Music of worth.  You can check out his column every Saturday and I recommend you do so if you have any interest in music at all.  Musicians, he writes reviews— fair and balanced (or unbalanced, depending upon state of mind).  Hell of a writer.  I hope he gets back into this blog.  He got a day job, you know, and is having trouble juggling projects.  Click here.

I love Fort Worth’s The Juke Jumpers.  They put out an album in the early eighties which completely floored me.  They play blues but they swing too!  Or jump, as they like to call it.  I found out when a salesman dropped a promo on my desk when I worked at Peaches, telling me I had to hear it.  Promos like that were pure gold for me and I knew that the guy was doing me a real favor.  It reacquainted me with a musician I had lost track of (Jim Colegrove) and introduced me to a few badasses I have come to revere (Sumter Bruton, Jim MilanMike Bartula and Johnny Reno).  This is one of a few videos recorded at The Keys Lounge in Fort Worth.  I think I’m going to pop open a few ales sometime soon and watch this video.  Again.  Check out The Juke Jumpers here.

Ticktockman is one of the best prog bands to live on the West Coast (there are others, but these guys kick it!).  They had just released their EP, Calling Out the Hounds, when I bookmarked this.  I must have fallen through a time tunnel.  I just found it tonight.  Not for the squeamish.  Listen here.

I am in love with Jennifer Hall not for who she is but who she is going to become.  Good friend Margaux Sky sent me link to a video a couple of years ago of a song from Hall’s first album and I could not help but hear potential.  It was a good album, but there was room for growth.  I have been following her closely ever since.  This video was filmed in the summer of 2012 and is a bit rough, soundwise, but I still enjoy watching/hearing it.  She just successfully completed a fundraiser and is working on a new EP.  I tell you, every time I hear her, I hear progress.  I’m anxious to hear what she does next.

Child abuse is something none of us want to hear about, but The Cynz‘s Cyndi Dawson feels the need to bring it up on occasion.  I bookmarked this video so that I could pull it out and post it, as a reminder, if nothing else.  The sound reminds me a bit of some of the folk/psych bands of the late sixties.

If you have been reading my column, you have more than likely heard references to The Shook Twins.  They are presently involved with Morning Ritual,  a project put together by Portland, Oregon’s Ben Darwish, but they are better known as just the Twins.  When they are not working with Darwish, they play on their own and have gained quite a following in the Pac NW.  I stumbled upon this live recording quite by accident.  It was recorded at The Oregon Country Fair in July of 2012.  It also has tracks by Elephant Revival and Brownchicken Browncow StringbandHear it here.

modularOne of my favorite guitarists, Dan Phelps, toured with Deep Sea Diver early this year, I believe.  I was hoping to meet him and hear them at the Doug Fir Lounge, but couldn’t make it up to Portland the night they played.  I bookmarked the band’s bandcamp page so I could check them out before heading up.  I like them.  I need to write a review of the album, in fact.  How did I allow this to get buried?  Listen here.

That same Dan Phelps also put out an intriguing electronic-leaning album, collaborating with Matt Chamberlain and Viktor Krauss.  They call themselves Modular.  The album is expensive but one hell of a package, with vinyl issues limited to 1,000.  THIS will be a collector’s item— no doubt in my mind!  Take a look at it here.

My God!  I just checked and I’m less than halfway through my bookmarks!  You see what I have to go through?  I mean, you could put 72 hours in a day and it wouldn’t be enough.  I think you get the idea.  What say we call it quits for this week.  I have a decent Notes section for you, packed with goodies for your mental betterment.  So, let us not dally.  Let us find out what the vaults have for us.  Ladies and Gentlemen…..

Music Notes smallNotes…..  It seems like it has taken forever, but Charlottesville’s The Fire Tapes are on the verge of actually releasing the album we have been hearing about for the past number of months, Phantoms.  Just this week, Magnet Magazine posted a nine minute track from the album titled Scarlet Cliffs and have made it available as a free download.  For a limited time only!  Here is the link.  It is nine minutes of folk/psych you don’t want to miss!  Click here…..  How dare this crowd give this band a lukewarm response.  It’s the freakin’ Incurables and if the mix was a bit better, you would get an idea of how really good these guys are.  The album  is a stone killer!

Speaking of videos, Jeannie Burns gives herself the big thumbs up on this one.  She cracks me up.  And the song is good, too.  B-side is Smokestack Lightnin’.  Where’s the video for that one, Jeannie?

Jesus Christ!  Just read in the New York Times that songwriter Barrett Strong (Money) is being denied royalties or even recognition for writing that song.  This is evidently the second time his name has been stricken from the official records.  By Motown.  Ostensibly, by Berry Gordy Jr., whose lawyers claim that Strong’s name was listed as the result of a “clerical error”.  Twice.  Seems to me, this is what corporate greed is all about.  Beating the little guy into the ground.  If a court cannot see through this charade, all they need do is look at original copies of the 45, which has Strong’s name listed as composer.  It was, after all, produced under the auspices of Mr. Gordy’s own label.  Proof enough, as far as I’m concerned.  To read the whole story, go here*****    Musician Drew Gibson is getting ready to finish up a new album he is recording with Charlottesville’s Bobby Read and has announced the formation of a fundraising campaign to help him get the music to the public.  I have Drew’s two earlier albums and can contest to his talent, The Southern Draw having made it onto many of my “albums to watch” lists.  Stay tuned***** 


Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

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DBAWIS ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”

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