Tag Archive: “Innovative Leisure”

It’s another Friday and this week a few friends have expressed how there’s a feeling of  dread when it comes to rock music. It’s difficult to argue that point considering just about everything you find on the radio is bland and has a mass pop appeal to it. But it’s something that always comes up and is a never-ending cycle. But you have to look past what’s in front of you and dig deep for something viable on your own. So of course, rock isn’t dead; that’s a hearty “no.” Real rock has always remained on the fringes and it’s something you have to search out. It occasionally falls on my lap , which I’m always appreciative of. Oh what a glorious week it’s been.

One band that’s been marginalized that more people need to be familiarized with is Meat Wave. Three guys from Chicago that formed the group back in 2011 who have released their third proper full-length as a unit. The Incessant (SideOne Dummy) is one record that I’ve been anticipating. The group’s last outing, 2015’s Delusion Moon, was one record I couldn’t get enough of. Forget that Albini produced it, you can’t force such powerful and great songwriting. What do we all get from the new album? More of the same. With Albini behind the boards, Meat Wave is reminiscent of those post-punk acts that came before them. It may have something to do with a few similarities in music but there’s no faking the approach with a take-no-prisoners attitude when the three members,  Chris Sutter (vocals/guitar), Joe Gac (bass), and Ryan Wizniak (drums), barrel through every song. The band kicks things off with “To Be Swayed,” with its mechanical rhythms beginning things but quickly turning a corner with Sutter’s screamed/sung vocals. The band pauses on a dime, then quickly explode ear drums again with the powerful “Tomosaki.” As soon as you interest is peaked, it’s gone and clears into a fantastic “Run You Out.” The first three tracks run about, or just under, the 2-minute mark; they’re perfect but leave you begging for more.

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Meat Wave – The Incessant

When the track starts up, the kid gloves come off and the band takes a stab at hypnotizing listeners with a frenetic beat and frenzied guitar work. By this point I’m not even half way through the album and I’m in hook, line and sinker. Jumping around tracks like I normally do, “Glass Teeth” differs a bit softly crescendo’ing into a sonic beast of a song. Where there was some room to breath, the trio encapsulates the track in a blissful tryst full of jackhammers and sugar cookies. The title track might be the odd man out here within the 12-songs of the album, a little slower with the occasional burst of distorted guitars wrapped under Sutter’s vocals. Different, but after a few listens it seems to fit in more than I thought it would. The Incessant is more complex then you might think upon that first listen but its infectiousness is unrelenting.

My cousin turned me onto Hanni El Khatib some years ago when he released his debut Will The Guns Come Out. That release was pretty stark but had charm to it. “Loved Ones” still remains one of my favorite songs of Khatib’s. With the release of new material,  I was a little skeptical about his album Savage Times (Innovative Leisure.) I’m always left with a feeling of dread believing that a good thing never lasts. BUT, that’s not the case. When I first listened to the album I hit my social media with, “I fucks with Hanni El Khatib.” Yeah, this album is no fucking joke.

HEK ST
Hanni El Khatib – Savage Times

There has to be something amazing about someone who does things that hes never attempted before, from playing instruments he’s never played before to creating a collection of limited 10″ vinyl records that make up the 19-song collection of Savage Times. You’ll find yourself in familiar territory catching Khatib’s trademark rhythmic blues, opening things up with an explosive “Baby’s Ok” where Khatib’s simple delivery of lyrics “I was high as fuck,” he repeats without being repetitious. Then again, he doesn’t need much more than that here. What may surprise listeners are his lyrics on songs that are culturally relevant and have more social commentary than he’d probably want to let on. “Born Brown” is a thunderous, repetitive track where Khatib howls what he’s about, acknowledging his Palestinian and Filipino heritage, how his parents emigrated to the U.S., and the hard work they put in. There’s no other way to put it, he may play that dirty rock n roll but he was born brown. This is only the beginning though.  The quick-paced “Mangos & Rice,” gives you a small insight into not only what he was fed as a child but how it just may be  a cultural factor many just won’t understand. He’s putting that stamp on himself that in 2017 he’s the son of immigrants. Khatib takes things even farther with “Gun Clap Hero, ” a little more musically subdued but reflecting on gun culture in America, most notably how freely they’re used by law enforcement. He uses his words cleverly, not always calling them out directly until he sings, “Watch for the sirens/ They follow us/ everywhere that I turn I see them/ In the squad cars looking like demons.” It’s an amazing protest song without sounding like a protest song.

Everything is pretty direct here on Savage Times, as he drives through the garage rock he’s become so familiarized with. “Paralyzed” has him sounding more Rolling Stones than Mick Jagger while “Miracle” walks through a more frequented route he’s traveled down. Just him and his guitar when in reality, there isn’t anything else he needs. There are a number of different sides to Khatib on this 19-track opus as he shifts dynamics from song to song like on “Mondo And His Makeup” where he’s not averse to turning up the volume to 11 and throwing keyboards to accentuate that bluesy rawk! In all though, Hanni El Khatib has done something different here so new and old fans alike should be clamoring for more of him after listening to Savage Times. So yeah, I still fucks with Hanni El Khatib.

Now that brings us to Jonwayne,  and the adversity in his life. As a direct result, that same adversity  was the driving force for his record, Rap Album Two (The Order Label.) This album comes after a self-imposed hiatus that lasted a couple of years. Sometimes you’re hand is forced when there are situations that you can’t control. A bout with alcohol addiction will do that to you. That’s what happened to Jonwayne. He’s even gone on record in an open letter on social media. This is what he’s done; it’s what we all should do when we’re on top of the world and then it crashes around you. You have to pick yourself up and reassess. Now with this release expectations are quickly pushed off the curb. If you expected a depressed look at life, that’s not what we get here.

Jonwayne
Jonwayne – Rap Album Two

He’s put together 12 tracks of easy flowed tracks that never force an attack but rather gradually take you on a journey with his words that’ll have you visualizing what he’s dreaming on with the prowess of a master storyteller.  One track that stands out this way is “Out Of Sight,” which ebbs and flows with the calmness of cool breeze on a beach. Jonwayne is reflective on how he’s led his life, with the gains and the losses being what they are. It’s a beautifully done number that I keep coming back to. “Live From The Fuck You” marks his return, beginning with a dialogue between him and someone attempting to get him to rap for his girlfriend before he just agrees and spits knowledge. But damn if this album doesn’t continue with tracks that slowly build around Jonwayne’s voice. Musically “City Voice” always sounds like it’s going to explode into something huge but Jonwayne just rides that beat and current until it ends. You’re able to grasp onto every word he shares with that beautifully rainy melody.  Rap Album Two just has that watery feel throughout it, which makes me think here’s he’s just all about washing away the negative past and focusing on the future. “Afraid Of Us (feat. Zoroh)” even tracks moves he’s made in the past and is a bit self-deprecating while Zoroh holds down the melody. But it’s “Blue Green (feat. Low Leaf)” where he puts that open letter to music, obviously changing lyrics to fit but the concept is there, reflecting on what he’s done to get where he’s left standing. You can feel his words cutting deeply throughout Rap Album Two but it doesn’t leave listeners wallowing in self-pity alongside him. It’s a story of survival, which many can relate to. At least I can. This right here, isn’t something to be taken lightly.

 

JonwayneFacebook / Twitter / Instagram

Hanni El KhatibFacebook / Twitter / Instagram

Meat WaveFacebook / Twitter / Instagram

The One That Opens With a Bang

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne will be bringing you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.  Thanks for checking this out, we hope you enjoy the show!

ITUNES LINK


Songs Played on The One That Opens With a Bang

Cool Kids – “Connect Four” from Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe LP out soon on CAKE, LLC

Sinkane – “U’Huh” from Life & Livin’ It out February 10, 2017 on City Slang

Camp Cope – “Keep Growing” out now on Poison City Records

Joan of Arc – “This Must Be the Placenta” from He’s Got the Whole This Land is Your Land In His Hands out January 20, 2017 on Joyful Noise Recordings

Jay Daniel – “Paradise Valley” from Broken Nose out now on Technicolour

The Molochs – “You and Me” from America’s Velvet Glory out January 13, 2017 on Innovative Leisure

Grandaddy – “Way We Won’t” from Last Place out March 3, 2017 on 30th Century Records

Lite – “D” from Cubit out now on Topshelf Records

 

Music Videos Featured in Episode

 

 

 

Holy Fuck took the world by surprise around 2005 because there was just nothing like them-a hardcore thrift-store found-object punk band with a relentless commitment to rhythm and a sense for atmosphere better matched to a close encounter of the third kind than a simple rock concert. Think Einstürzende Neubauten re-inspired by Fela Kuti with Brian Eno working as keyboard tech and every channel on the mixer set to max power. It was the best ride out there while it lasted, up to and including their 2010 full-length Latin, recorded largely in too-brief breaks while on the road. The album cemented Holy Fuck’s sound and reputation for unapologetic instrumental noise but at the end of yet another insane touring cyclem it was time to take a break … which turned into a hiatus … which turned into a chance to explore other projects and production work. (Like the bands Lids and Dusted, or production for Metz and Viet Cong.)

They’d been moving faster than they’d ever expected, especially after a 2007 sophomore release that came close to securing Canada’s prestigious Juno and Polaris Music Prize. (Not to mention festival slots at All Tomorrow’s Parties, Glastonbury, Coachella and more-plus Lou Reed said they were the best band he’d seen at SXSW.) The strategy was just to stay busy, says founder and noisemaster Brian Borcherdt, but soon they started to feel like Indiana Jones running from that boulder: “He had to step aside and let things settle!”

But there’s nothing Indiana Jones does better than the shock reveal, is there? And so in 2016 Holy Fuck suddenly announced the release of Congrats, a surprise full-length two years in the making that is by any scientific measure their holiest fuckiest release ever: “When you’re sitting still in a van and staring out the windows, you start to dream about all the other things you want to do,” says Borcherdt. “This album is exactly what we couldn’t do then.”

Checking into a ‘proper’ studio, rather than the barn in rural Ontario where where most of Holy Fuck’s records were made, they discovered that Congrats was a process of refining things, as Graham says, both physically and philosophically. That ad hoc arsenal of low-budget hi-tech toys has been streamlined down to what he calls the nervous system of the band: “What gets run through our system is the seed of the idea for our music, and the system is what we play. This record is almost a beginning-the first stage of a new way for us.”

So consider those previous albums prelude to Holy Fuck’s true breakthrough, and recognize Congrats as moment when Holy Fuck take the chaos and craziness (and charm) that have always been at the heart of their band and not so much control it as concentrate it. Now they’re heavier, wilder, leaner, sharper, more daring and more unpredictable than ever before, on fire with the power of inspired outsiders like Suicide, Silver Apples, Can, Mission of Burma or the Monks or even Sun Ra, says Borcherdt, whose pursuit of his own kind of musical purity is exactly what Holy Fuck are after. Yes, it took them a few years, which in 2016 is supposed to be the career suicide, but they took that time to take chances. “We were told we did everything wrong,” Borcherdt says now, laughing-but really Congrats is the sound of a band doing absolutely everything right.

Holy Fuck will be playing their first U.S. show for this album this month in LA at Los Globos on February 25 as part of a special Innovative Leisure curated show with Red Bull Sound Select. The band also have plans for a national North American tour, dates to be announced shortly.

Congrats is out May 27 on Innovative Leisure.

 

Allah-Las

ALLAH-LAS
SELF-TITLED

Allah-Las’ take on old-school garage rock sounds like it came straight from 1964. Authentic, raw and with plenty of reverb to go around, Allah-Las is like a relic in these electronic times and it’s pretty refreshing. It’s music that’s relaxed and carefree and it goes along well with the band’s California beach vibe that they put into each song. The songs that comprise Allah-Las make life in the sunshine sound pretty damn nice, where all your worries can just float away with the waves. Each song captures this way of thinking, as the mood always stays mellow. This is good, but only to an extent, because if there was any flaw in this record it would be how the energy never seems to fully pick up. Allah-Las fails to create any kind of “take-off” or “come-down” moments. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are great, but sometimes I just need a pick-me-up to get through the day. (Innovative Leisure) by Zach Rogers