Friday, June 30, 2017

Je ne sais fucking pas...Saboteur Blues will blow you away

It ain't no secret that here at Wednesdays With Andrew, we love Gogol Bordello. So much so, I have decided to break the Wednesday Is the Only Day of The Week rule, and cobble together this quick write up in honor of their newest release.

Earlier this month the 9-piece transcontinental band of gypsies put out a single, Saboteur Blues, as part of a broader campaign to get people psyched (with the aid of psychedelics, if need be) for their upcoming full-length Seekers and Finders. 

You can listen to the sonic decadence that is Saboteur Blues here. True to their form, Gogol Bordello blends traditionally non-rock instrumentation with their fleshed-out rhythm section, infusing a sense of wonder and wander into this indefatigable and unrelenting rock anthem.  Thematically speaking, Saboteur Blues also acts as a nice little 'fuck you' to renowned French philosopher Descartes. Band leader Eugene Hütz eschews the universally accepted axiom "I think therefore I am," offering instead this motto: "I feel, perceive and experience, therefore I motherfucking rock.”

The long-awaited Seekers and Finders, which marks the 7th album in Gogol's storied career, will drop August 25. Slowly curated over the past year, across 3 continents, Seekers and Finders is a collection of eclectic and thought-provoking compositions. Not in the business of keeping music stale, rest assured that Gogol Bordello incorporates plenty of spice into their brand of wreck n' roll...not least of which will come in the form of an earth-shattering duet featuring Regina Spektor. What's doubly exciting about this particular record is that it marks the first time that Eugene is in the producer chair, giving him a terrifying (-ly aweosme) amount of control over a collection of songs that amounts to one helluva crazy ride.

Unsurprisingly, these rockin' nomads refuse to simply release the music and sit back; they will be embarking on an impressive 4-month world tour in support of the album. You can check tour dates and locations here. Words cannot express the grief that hit me when I saw that they decided to pass on DC during the North American leg of their journey. Guess we're gonna have to make a road trip up to Philly!

Alright Wednesday nuts, enjoy the tune. I have listened to Saboteur Blues about 400 fucking times this week, so I'm gonna go sit in a dark silent room for a while. PEACE

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Drop the charges!

Good morning Wednesday warriors, and welcome to this week's installment of Wednesdays With Andrew. Today, a mere 1,445 years since Alboin King of the Lombards was assassinated by his conniving wife Rosamund and the dastardly Helmichis, we have a wide array of dirges to commiserate. From PEARS to Gogol Bordello, Mercyful Fate to Jawbreaker, this week promises to have a little something for everyone. Whether you're working, pretending to work, pretending not to work, or not working, enjoy the tunes.

Annnnd here's the link to the web player for all you dodos.

We're kicking off this week's free therapy session with a classic tune from the emotional powerhouse that is Jawbreaker. Fittingly, Want was the opening track off their debut album, Unfun, released in 1990 by Shredder Records. The overly nasal chorus will stick in your head for a very long time; this vocal style, coupled with deeply personal and descriptive lyrics, cemented Jawbreaker as a leading player in the burgeoning emo movement in the early and mid 90s.

I think that if you've ever listened to Gogol Bordello, they have probably deftly made it into your top 5 bands of all time list. The unique instrumentation, superb songwriting, tap-your-foot beat, and their overall badass/fun/party vibe, makes it next to impossible to turn these guys off, and leaves little room for complaint. Not a Crime is off their third, critically acclaimed LP Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, released in 2005 through SideOneDummy Records. Even though this was written 12 years ago, the thematic content around immigration in this great nation is especially poignant today, given the swirling shitstorm that is cheeto jesus.

Massive big-ups to McGee for sharing this next gem with me. Spliff is a funky ass tune from Austrian rock act Bilderbuch. A mix of silky funk a la Glass Animals, guitar licks that would make Jack White squeal, and possibly the catchiest bass line I've heard in years, Spliff immediately became a go-to track for me. I have probably accounted for about 16% of the video's 2MM+ views on Youtube. For all of your (smart) folks that want more, go check out their 2015 album Schick Schock.

Feel Like Morrisey is an annoyingly catchy tune from those Houston punk rockers 30footFALL. Touring heavily with like-minded acts such as Bigwig, Diesel Boy and the Vandals, 30footFALL gradually and diligently gained a large national following. They've been busy in the studio too - since their inception in 1993, they have released 13 demos, EPs and full length albums. Tragically, guitarist Chris LaForge passed away just a few weeks ago while in Las Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling. after suffering a massive stroke. LaForge was only 42 and leaves behind a daughter; you can donate to the family's GoFundMe here.

Cold in your bones is an unrelenting, unforgiving track from Washingtonian trio RVIVR. Off their eponymous debut full length album, the song showcases dueling lead vocals from Erica Freas and Mattie Jo Canino, melodic guitar riffs pitted against deep bass tones, and a frantic energy that permeates throughout. RVIVR just wrapped up a coast-to-coast tour and are currently working on a new album...stay tuned!

Get ready for a shotgun fucking blast of melodic hardcore with PEARS' title track from their 2016 album, Green Star, released through Fat Wreck Chords. Clocking in at a generous 2 and a half minutes, Green Star is hard hitting, fast as hell, catchy as fuck and overall an absolute sonic treat.  I'll say it...I think PEARS may be putting out the best melodic hardcore since Kid Dynamite's short run...and I think we can expect a lot more from them in the coming years.

Sharp pain in your chest? Sweaty palms? Dizziness and shortness of breath? Atlanta-based, glam punk outfit The Heart Attacks bring us this next rollickin' track, You Oughtta Know by Now, off their 2006 album Hellbound and Heartless. Part of Tim Armstrong's Hellcat Records family, The Heart Attacks provided a refreshing, fuck it all, snotty nosed sound, bringing it hard at every live show they played. Although the band broke up after some trouble with the law and substance abuse, the guys do get together and play reunion shows every once in a while, while also staying involved in other projects.

So it's been pointed out to me that I don't play enough metal or thrash here on #WWA. I am going to rectify that in the form of Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate. Today's closing track is MF's ominous song Evil, which was part of their 1983 breakout album Melissa (Jeopardy fact of the day -  Melissa was the first album to be released through Roadrunner Records). Accentuated by frontman King Diamond's extensive vocal range, Mercyful Fate created their focal point around a progressive hard rock sound and occult imagery.

Well that's a wrap for this week's playlist. Thanks for tuning in to the weekly overdose of songs that are just too good to be on radio. As always, keep me up to date with your goings-on, send requests, candy, etc. Til next week, doofs. Excalibur!

ps - today's norman punkwell isn't a joke. Apparently incest is legal in NJ

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Amadeus only...Bachs need not apply

So I was on a long roadtrip recently, coming back from a wedding in the sleepy Hudson River Valley (Lewis/Steph if you're reading this - that was tits-up, outta control fun), and my mind started to wander to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As minds do. In the substance- and boredom-addled limbo between consciousness and dream state, I unwittingly struck out on a weird voyage, dreamily unhinged and free from the constructs of time and space, and also involving some questionable historic reference points (not sure dinosaur wizards existed when Mozart was tickling the ivory, but I'm no historian so i'll let the book nerds come to that conclusion).

The story begins with our young hero, in the form of an injured pup, trapped in a small cage constructed of ivory and ebony, forced to perform on cue by a grotesque creature resembling Cthulhu but with the face of Joe Jackson. A nomadic reptilian wizard who happens to catch a show one night takes pity on the young virtuoso pup, and steals into Mozart's lair under the cover of night to secretly teach him how to warp the sounds of his recitals, honing into powers older than this earth. With this newfound ability, the enslaved musical savant begins to gain strength from otherwordly forces. Over time, our artistic, possibly autistic, Austrian composer embodies his final form, a viking wolf that matches the size of his musical skill (that's big). He breaks free from his cage, overpowers his father-captor and becomes the single greatest canine composer his side of the Danube. Fast forward a few years, and Wolfgang A.M. is chilling poolside with fellow gangstas Biggie Smalls and Pablo Escobar, sippin' on Veuve and spitting sick lyrics.

ANY FUCKING WAY...sensing that there must be some higher purpose to this completely fabricated vision quest, I have decided to dedicate the week's playlist to the single most important contributor to Western music...oh no, not Mozart. I'm talking about Falco. To be more specific, Falco's 1985 behemoth hit song, Rock Me Amadeus. That's right. This week we're featuring 9 tracks and 36 minutes of Rock Me Amadeus, and covers of Rock Me Amadeus from all sorts of random fucking groups.

To paraphrase the immortal Charles Dickens, "It was the best of playlists, it was the worst of playlists" Enjoy.

Annnnd here's the web player link, for all you Antonio Salieris

Serious bonus internet points if you make it through this whole damn thing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dirty little whirlwind

It's a mid-week miracle guys! Today's Wednesdays With Andrew playlist falls on the same day as an exciting event honoring the history of DC punk rock. The DC Punk Archive, which is run through DC's public libraries, is hosting a rooftop show at Woodridge Library. Event details can be found here (thanks for the heads up, Nina!), and so hopefully I get to see some of your broody neo-anarchist faces tonight.

Alright, on to this week's sonic treats; we have a wide array of great tunes from awesome bands like Toy Dolls, TV on the Radio, Bigwig, Gorilla Biscuits, Marginal Man and more.

Annnnd here's the link to the web player for all you webheads,

Let's kick off the week with some macabre dance moves, brought to us by the fine folks in The Murder City Devils. Continuing Seattle's fine tradition of pumping out raw, gut-wrenching rock n roll, the Devils combine elements of horror punk and buzzard garage rock to create haunting and lasting tunes. Dancin' Shoes was off their 2nd studio album, Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, which was released in 1998 through Seattle's infamous Sub Pop label. This  record marked a doubling-down of electric organ being a staple of the band's sound, and led to the addition of full-time keyboard player Leslie Hardy. I guess I shoulda picked a song with organs..

Although their name sounds like an Eminem tribute rapper, Eight Dayz was actually a short-lived musical project led by German skateboarder Claus Grabke. He recorded several tracks, including What's So Strange About Me, as part of a promotional video for Santa Cruz skateboards. Jangly and moody, What's So Strange... is reminiscent of some of the post-punk bands popular during the 80s. Eight Dayz' other works reflect a wide host of musical influences, including some funky metal more in line with bands like Fishbone or Mind Funk.

Iguana fart:

Start Today is a harmonica-blaring song from long-standing NYC hardcore staple Gorilla Biscuits. Vocalist Civ Civarelli and guitarist Walter Schreifels met while still in high school, and started writing songs together after seeing a bunch of influential hardcore bands at the bang-up CBGB club. This track was off their 1989 album, Start Today, which is arguably their most successful release to date. 30 years later, and these guys are still kickin' and playing shows.

Up next we are playing a couple tracks, older and newer, from those New Jersey hit-makers Bigwig. While Drunken Knight harkens back to a simpler time of skate punk centered around speedy power chords and whiney vocals, their newer material (like Reclamation) showcases more their technical prowess, incorporating thrashy guitars and more complex songwriting. Both incredible songs, though I will say my favorite Bigwig albums will always be their first two. Our good friend over at Midwestern Housewives had the distinct pleasure of catching these fools at the Asbury Park installment of the disreputable Punk Rock Bowling fest, alongside other heavy hitters like The Specials, NOFX Dillinger Four, and Buzzcocks. Mike - pics or it didn't happen..

Dirtywhirl is a hurricane-force pop ballad from Brooklyn indie band TV on the Radio. Off their 2006 sophomore studio album, Return to Cookie Mountain, the track conjures up TV on the Radio's far-reaching styles; the grittiness of 80s DIY hardcore bands like Bad Brains, the ethereal ambiance of bands like Pixies, modern indie rock like Modest Mouse, all being tempered by the soul and rhythms that are reminiscent of power pop acts like Prince or Earth, Wind and Fire. All put together, this makes for some good listenin'.

This week's taste of DC comes in the form of Pandora's Box, a blazing fast track from 80s scenesters Marginal Man. Although they officially disbanded in 1988, these marginalized motherfuckers do play reunion shows at a clip of about once every 5 or 6 years...since their last show was at Black Cat in 2011, the math points to a very strong likelihood we get another reunion soon?!  Fun DC insider fact - guitarist Kenny Inouye is the son of the late and great former Senator and Medal of Honor recipient, and political powerhouse, the honorable Daniel Inouye.

Well, all mediocre things must come to an end. Let's close out with this annoyingly fun track from snotty and overly English Oi! band Toy Dolls. Birthed in the late 70s in a scene full of angst and political unrest, Toy Dolls favored using punk rock as a backdrop for cartoonish, light-hearted (and I'd argue borderline-nihilistic) lyrical content, as seen in songs with names like Yul Brynner was a Skinhead and James Bond Lives Down our Street. Dig That Groove Baby was the title track for their debut album, which was hastily recorded during three days in 1983.

Alright kiddos, that's a wrap for this week. Hopefully some of you local yokels are able to check out this really cool initiative by DC Public Libraries tonight. Let's make DC Punk again! Catch ya all next week.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Merchandise keeps us in line

Happy Peruvian Flag Day, you Wednesday whumps, and welcome to another episode of Wednesdays With Andrew! This week's playlist has some fantastic tunes, thanks to the brains and brawn of great fucking bands like Against Me!, Germs, Banner Pilot, Pulley and Fugazi. Without further ado, let's get this shindig spinning.

Annnnnnd here is the web player link for all you dinks.

OK, we're opening up with some organs, but don't worry, you're not at church. Far from it. Here's Your Future is the opening track for Portland (Oregon) trio The Thermals' hard hitting album, The Body, the Blood, the Machine. Chock full of religious imagery and set in a not-too-far-fetched dystopian society, the concept album tells a gripping story against a backdrop of fast, heavy and catchy songs.

I suppose that (Just Another) Protest Song is pretty fitting, given all the shit going on these days. Trump backing out of the Paris Accord - are you fucking kidding me? If my heart could barf, I think it would. Anyway, this track is from snotty Philly punk band Posers. Relying heavily on the sing-along repeated chorus and lead lady Jade's impressive pipes, the song also shows that these wannabes can do it all in terms of rhythm - mid-tempo, stop-and-go, syncopated ska, double-time, you fucking name it they fucking do it. Along with other newcomers like Night Birds and Fat Heaven, Posers are really paving the way for a new generation of street punk.

Up next we have a couple tunes from revered musical powerhouse Laura Jane Grace and her band Against Me! Stabitha Christie, which may be one of my favorite puns of all time now, was released in April of this year as a two-track vinyl single. This song, along with First High of the Morning, were b-side material that didn't make it on their 2016 LP Shape Shift With Me, which was Against Me!'s 7th studio effort. Dead Rats is part of that full-length, and provides a look at the band's heavier side...showing a little more teeth, and featuring more of that LJG growl.

Oh man speaking of Agatha Christie...the trailer for Murder on the Orient Express looks good, this movie is gonna be a barrel o' fun.

Dead Rats, now on to Dead Tracks. From those Minneapolis punk rockers of Banner Pilot, this track (get it? sigh) is indicative of their trademark sound, blending mid-tempo rhythms with memorable guitar hooks and snarling melodies. Dead Tracks is off their latest effort, 2014's Souvenirs, a 12-song salute to good, rock-steady punk. Scuttlebutt on the street is that they're brewing some new stuff in 2017. Stay tuned.

Fugazi. Ian. DCHC. Nuff said. Well ok almost nuff said...Merchandise may be my favorite song by them. OK nuff said.


Your Life in France is a moody, reverby blast from Californian post-post-punk outfit, Ceremony. Off their latest record, 2015's The L-Shaped Man, Ceremony continues to show off their eclectic influences, pulling from a wide array of sounds that at once harken back to proto-goth acts like Joy Division, 80s hardcore a la Adolescents and even jangly, surf-soaked tones reminiscent of the Beach Boys. Can I just say this WWA thing is beginning to feel a lot like 7 degrees to John Reis - the Drive Like Jehu, Rockets from the Crypt, Hot Snakes guitarist produced this album. Also - life in France seems pretty fucking good to the alternative right about now.

For a brief time in the early 00s, Ryan Adams decided that he wanted to be in a hardcore band. So he donned the pseudonym 'Warren Peace' (niiiice, puns all over this bitch today), partnered with long-time NYC punk rocker Jesse Malin ('Irving Plaza') and released a hardcore album titled We Are Fuck You, using the moniker The Finger. That 2003 release, which included this track What Is It, seemed to quench Ryan's need for (punk rock) speed; The Finger was promptly dismantled afterwards.

We don't shy away from 90s, Epitaph-y melodic skate punk here on WWA, and songs by Pulley are no exception. No "I" in Team is the first track off their 2016 full-length No Change In the Weather, which marked their first studio release in 12 years. True to the album name, Pulley is still playing their same brand of melodic, fast and edgy punk rock, albeit with a bit more wisdom and depth (I mean these guys are older now...) This album was NOT released in conjunction with Epitaph, but through El Hefe's new-ish record label, Cyber Tracks.

We'll end our little one-man song circle this week in a cloud of sensimilla. Legalize It is the sonic equivalent of a deep tissue massage and is courtesy of the late, great Rastafari Peter Tosh. As 1/3 of Jamaican mega reggae act The Wailers, Peter Tosh  had gained a lot of prominence by the time he struck out on his solo career in 1974. Legalize It was the title track of his debut solo album, released in '75. Fun fact to end the day - Tosh was an avid unicyclist, and would often entertain the crowds at his shows by hopping around on his one-wheeler. Cool!

OK guys, that's it for today's merry melodies. Keep listening every week for more punk-soaked playlists, and keep in touch with requests, feedback, skittles, whatever. Enjoy the rest of your week!