Tag Archives: rockabilly

Check Out the Self-Titled Debut from Minneapolis’ Green/Blue

[Photo by Matthew Jenkins (taken from Green/Blue Facebook page)]

Green/Blue, S-T (Slovenly)

A new band of old hands, Minneapolis (Janet voice)-based Green/Blue present a jagged kind of garage-pop on their self-titled debut. Initially a recording project featuring the guitar/vocal stylings of Jim Blaha (of The Blind Shake) – whose solo basement musings formed the bases for the album’s eleven tracks – and Annie Sparrows (of The Soviettes), the group is now a quartet, having added Danny Henry (drums, also of The Soviettes) and Hideo Takahashi (bass, of The Birthday Suits).

The album is a hodgepodge of familiar sounding styles, blended into something very immediate.  According to a press release, the tracks on Green/Blue were born partially from Blaha’s “newfound love of lo-fi pop jangle” (namechecking The Chills), but Green/Blue’s handling of the sound feels similar to the way The Misfits approached late-night 50’s croon or The Jesus and Mary Chain worked with girl-group, surf and other 60’s pop.  There’s certainly sugary tones to be found here, the band exhibiting a deft touch for catchy melodies – but the ear candy is often chased with cough syrup, Blaha’s whispery vocals and he and Sparrows’ dual scuzzed up axe attack providing more than a hint of menace to the romance alluded to in many of the lyrics.  Highlights ‘Proto Caves’ and ‘Way Down’ throw off a kind of haunted nostalgia, the former sounding like a roughneck Everly Brothers demo in spots – a leather-clad sock hop leading to a fogged up rear window.  It’s great how the band are able to infuse so much energy into the boogie chug of ‘That Face’, while the JAMC pyres blaze bright on the brilliant ‘Find a New World’.  Qué bella. 

Green/Blue is out now, courtesy of Slovenly Recordings.  The band also have really rad shirt designs (see here), so hopefully if we’re ever allowed out of our houses again and Green/Blue tour, I’ll snatch one up.

Highlights include:  ‘That Face’; ‘Proto Caves’; ‘At a Loss’; ‘Way Down’

Web: fbook label bandcamp insta


Album Review: Ezra Furman, Day of the Dog

Ezra Furman, Day of the Dog (Bar/None Records, 10/8/2013)

An album I took a while to settle down with – having heard tracks featured on many great radio shows, including Marc Riley’s show on BBC 6Music and The Late Riser’s Club on local WMBR – and extremely glad I did. 

Having released several albums with the Harpoons, as well as solo material, Chicago native, Tufts University alum (go Jumbos!) Ezra Furman recorded Day of the Dog with a new backing band, the Boy-Friends.  Musically, much of the album recalls the days when rock and roll, r&b and country were not easily distinguishable, adding glam stomp and proto-punk attitude.  The return of Frankie and Johnny, then.  The soundtrack to a sock hop held amidst the anarchic haze of a flop house in the Bowery.

In a rough, nasal voice recalling equal parts Hell, Johnny Thunders, Alex Chilton and (in quieter moments) Neil Young, Furman sings of estrangement and bewilderment; solace found only in “cold hands”.  I don’t claim to be familiar with Furman’s work with the Harpoons, but it’s hard to imagine their playing being more evocative than the Boy-Friends.  The contributions of saxophonist Tim Sandusky are worthy of particular praise, but the entire band is exceptional throughout.

Guitars and drums swing, pianos boogie and saxophones skronk on cuts like “Tell ‘Em All to Go to Hell’ and “Walk On In Darkness”, where Furman sings with impassioned zeal of being stuck in “a little apartment in Queens”, where everyone’s left save he and “the Lord…the trash piled high and a/chain on the door/and the neighbors don’t know what the hell that means”.  Opener “I Wanna Destroy Myself” finds him treading water in a “world, rising up like vomit/filling up my ugly little mouth”.  “My Zero” (official video below, via YouTube) is deliriously gorgeous and should be a hit – 70s AM gold stripped of cornball sheen; however, since real radio doesn’t exist anymore, I can only hope some music supervisor is paying attention.  I can’t stop listening.

Highlights include:  “My Zero”, “I Wanna Destroy Myself”, “Cherry Lane”, “Anything Can Happen”.