Archive for Street Sweeper Social Club

Video Du Jour: Tom Morello

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by 30daysout

We’re big fans of Tom Morello, best known as the guitarist for Rage Against The Machine. With Rage on indefinite hiatus, Morello has turned up in various incarnations: as part of Street Sweeper Social Club with rapper Boots Riley, and as the Nightwatchman. Today is Tom’s birthday – happy birthday, Tom!

During SXSW a few months ago we were lucky to catch a Morello/Nightwatchman show, up close and personal at Threadgill’s beer garden. Morello performed a sizzling version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad.” He went on to play it again, with the Boss later that night – but here is Tom’s solo version.

Bonus: At the end of the show, Morello invited everyone in the audience to join him onstage for the finale, a singalong version of “World Wide Rebel Songs.” We all jumped onstage with him – you can see us doing just that right at the beginning of this video – and sang like crazy people.

Thanks to 50174 for the videos!

Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman on Facebook

Video Du Jour: Street Sweeper Social Club

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , on January 22, 2012 by 30daysout

While we begin the big buildup to this year’s South by Southwest conference/festival/brain fry in Austin, we want to fondly recall a few of our past experiences. This one took place in 2010, with Tom Morello, Boots Riley and the Street Sweeper Social Club. They’re doing “The Oath,” a standout from the band’s first album.

SXSW music conference official website

2010 In Review: Our Favorite Albums & Other Stuff

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2010 by 30daysout

This was a pretty good year for recorded music, in the form of albums and in digital form. Rock artists came back with a vengeance, producing strong music and worthy albums.  Any number of indie bands offered up career-defining work, which makes the future look pretty healthy indeed.

The big news on the digital front was, uh, the Beatles on iTunes, and in just their first week on the download service they sold about 2 million songs.  Paul McCartney, now the keeper of the Beatles’ flame, appeared on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend and performed five songs including “A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance” in tribute to his fallen bandmate John Lennon.

McCartney’s peers and inheritors in classic rock also rebounded a bit in 2010, putting out strong new material or making a splash with box-set showcases of earlier work.  Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix went the box-set route, while people like Joe Cocker, Ray Davies, John Mellencamp, Robert Plant, Heart and a few others released new albums that showed they all have a little gas left in the tank.  So let’s flip through some of our favorite albums of the year’s new material:

Street Songs of Love – Austin’s Alejandro Escovedo produced yet another album of straightforward guitar rock and this one may be his best yet.  With veteran producer Tony Visconti at the dials and with guests like Bruce Springsteen and Ian Hunter, Escovedo shows he isn’t afraid to stand toe-to-toe with America’s greatest rockers.

American VI: Ain’t No Grave – Seven years after his death, Johnny Cash shows more life than most rock artists who are still able to step up to the mic.  Recorded in the final months of his life, the album dispenses with the rock covers from previous Rick Rubin-helmed albums and deals with such classic material as Kris Kristofferson’s “For The Good Times” and the traditional spiritual that serves as the bone-chilling title track.  This, my friends, is the heart of rock and roll.

Brothers – The indie duo Black Keys, featuring guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, went to the famous Muscle Shoals recording studio and tapped into some dark, muddy soul for songs like “Howlin’ For You” and “Everlasting Light.”  The album, as well as single “Tighten Up,” have been nominated for Grammy Awards but why the hell isn’t it in the running for Album of the Year????

American Patchwork – Anders Osborne is a transplanted Swede, gone to seed in New Orleans as a bluesman with a fierce talent on guitar.  The opening salvo of “On The Road To Charlie Parker” and “Echoes Of My Sins”  and gems like “Standing With Angels” show that he is also an excellent songwriter.

Emotion & Commotion – Jeff Beck is a 1960s-era guitar god who doesn’t get nearly the love that peers Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page receive.  But on this album he does what he does best – he turns in some rockin’ instrumentals and welcomes guest singers Imelda May, Olivia Safe and Joss Stone to either put a new spin on an old song (“I Put A Spell On You” with Stone, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”) or freak out Hendrix-style (“Hammerhead”).

True Love Cast Out All Evil – The godfather of psychedelia, Roky Erickson, is backed by indie-rockers Okkervil River on this definitive late-career effort.  It’s a spooky exploration of Erickson’s shattered psyche, done to the tune of old hymnals, country music, folk rock and punk fury.  A great piece of work from a truly original American artist.

Now we’re doing a dozen more favorite new releases:

1. Band of Joy – Robert Plant

2. Midnight Souvenirs – Peter Wolf

3. Tears, Lies and Alibis – Shelby Lynne

4. To The Sea – Jack Johnson

5. American Slang – The Gaslight Anthem

6. Raising The Bar – Magic Slim & the Teardrops

7. Flags – Brooke Fraser

8. Infinite Arms – Band of Horses

9. Le Noise - Neil Young

10. Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys – My Chemical Romance

11. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

12. Wake Up! - John Legend & the Roots

Our favorite albums from Texas (beside Alejandro Escovedo):

1. A. Enlightenment  B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) – Ray Wylie Hubbard

2. Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites – Jimmie Vaughan

3. Country Music – Willie Nelson

4. Myth Of The Heart – Sahara Smith

5. ¡Esta Bueno! – Texas Tornados

Some great songs from this year:

1. “Fuck You”by Cee Lo Green

2. “Echoes Of My Sins” by Anders Osborne

3. “Better Days” by Ray Davies & Bruce Springsteen

4. “Tighten Up” by the Black Keys

5. “Dance Yrself Clean” by LCD Soundsystem

6. “Tender Heart” by Alejandro Escovedo

7. “The Weary Kind” by Ryan Bingham

8. “Drunken Poet’s Dream” by Ray Wylie Hubbard

9. “My Heart Explodes” by the Dollyrots

10. “The New Fuck You” by Street Sweeper Social Club

And sorry, we liked these albums too:

Slash by Slash (with Lemmy, Ozzy, Fergie and Kid … Rock)

Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time by Santana (with Chris Cornell, Daughtry, Rob Thomas, etc.)

No Better Than This by John Mellencamp

Scream by Ozzy Osbourne

Vintage Vinos by Keith Richards

Keep checking back during the week, as this list magically grows with daily updates:

Annual Bitching About The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Thanks for FINALLY allowing the Stooges in there, and thanks for considering Neil Diamond this year.  Now:  Stevie Ray Vaughan, Doug Sahm, KISS, Little Feat, The Meters, The Neville Brothers … and for God’s sake, THE FACES!

Box sets marketed to beneficiaries of the Obama tax cut plan:

Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones cut a new versions of old songs to add to their 1972 classic, which makes a compact two-CD package.

The Promise – Bruce Springsteen went back and “enhanced” some tracks on a 21-song collection of outtakes from Darkness On The Edge Of Town.  The big three-CD, three-DVD box set includes a remastered version of Darkness and a DVD of a rousing 1978 live set from Houston.

Band On The Run – Paul McCartney’s third reissue of this album, augmented with three CDs and a DVD of live cuts, B-sides and outtakes.

The Complete Mono Recordings – Eight discs of Bob Dylan’s 1960s classics, as they would have sounded on AM radio.

West Coast Seattle Boy – How much Jimi Hendrix material can conceivably remain in the vault after this set’s four discs?

John Lennon Signature Box – All of Lennon’s albums, remastered, a 10th disc of his singles and an 11th CD of his “home tapes.”

Also: Live At Leeds (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) by the Who (4 CDs), and Damn The Torpedoes (Deluxe Edition) by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (2 CDs).  This category alone has 41 discs – put ‘em all under your Christmas tree!

Finally, R.I.P. in 2010:

Alex Chilton, Solomon Burke, Houston DJ Mark Stevens, Michael Been, Phillip Walker, Dennis Hopper, Jose Lima, Ronnie James Dio, Bobby Charles, Teddy Pendergrass.

Review: More Wily Veterans!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on August 9, 2010 by 30daysout

Got some great albums coming out to rock the rest of the summer … let’s jump right in and take a listen:

Street Sweeper Social Club is a rap-rock outfit led by guitarist Tom Morello and vocalist Boots Riley, created in the mold of Morello’s angry Rage Against The Machine.  SSSC blew us away with a live set at SXSW this spring, and now they have The Ghetto Blaster EP, their second album which is really an EP (but you knew that already).  Only seven tracks long, the EP features three covers – including an incendiary version of L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” as well as M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and “Everythang,” a song from Riley’s other band The Coup.  But the best things here are the title track and the riotous “The New Fuck You,” as well as a lengthened version of “Promenade,” which happens to be the best track from the band’s debut.  This EP is a great way to get introduced to a terrific new band – but if you get the chance to see them live, do it.  They’ll knock you out.

Video: “Mama Said Knock You Out” from SXSW 2010

With a lineup that has been pretty much intact for an astounding 36 years, Los Lobos still manage to put out music that sounds as fresh as their major-label debut in 1983 (which was also an EP).  Tin Can Trust opens with the stomping “Burn It Down,” and takes you on a journey with the 10 songs that follow.  Long-time fans will notice the album seems like it was put together from the Los Lobos template: a couple Spanish songs (“Yo Canto” and “Mujer Ingrata”), some tasty blues rock (“Do The Murray,” a cover of the Dead’s “West L.A. Getaway”) and some experimentation (“Jupiter Or The Moon,” which reminded me of Steve Winwood).  Most ambitious is “27 Spanishes,” which is a history lesson set to music, and the simmering “All My Bridges Burning,” which also resembles the Grateful Dead (it was co-written by the Lobos’ Cesar Rosas and Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead’s lyricist).  The musicianship is top-notch, and the atmospherics are just right.  Tin Can Trust is a very satisfying album.

MP3: “Jupiter Or The Moon”

Marc Cohn is the honey-voiced singer who gave us the hit “Walking In Memphis” and he has recorded an album of covers called Listening Booth 1970.  I was ready to give this thing 50 lashes with a wet noodle for being so, well, wimpy: Cohn smooths down songs like “The Letter” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” then manages even to torque down already slow tunes like “Into The Mystic” or “Make It With You.”  Don’t listen to this while operating heavy machinery!  But the more I listened, the more I got into Cohn’s relaxed groove, and his choice of material: John Lennon’s “Look At Me,” Paul Simon’s “The Only Living Boy In New York”  and the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” work best because the songs are not so familiar that they instantly evoke the original artist.  “After Midnight” is too close to ultra-mellow Clapton, and covers of Badfinger and Smokey Robinson are just wrong.  Still, Listening Booth 1970 will work for just about anyone who wants a mellow good time, especially if you pass up the caffeine when you purchase this album at Starbucks.

MP3: “The Letter”

SXSW: The Young and the Old

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by 30daysout

Boots Riley, left, and Tom Morello in the Street Sweeper Social Club

The death of Alex Chilton may have put a bit of a chill on the SXSW festival in Austin this weekend, but many of the younger people who don’t know the work of this genuine original couldn’t care less.  They are here to see the thousands of new faces visiting Texas in the springtime of their careers, and to hear some fine music.  When the occasional big name drops in that’s just icing on the cake but they do tend to steal the spotlight away from the showcases of up-and-coming talent.

Friday night the line to get into the not-so-secret Muse show at Stubb’s snaked all the way down Red River, an even more impressive queue than Metallica mustered last year.  Those without those cool badges or VIP designations were out of luck, and many lined the roof of a nearby parking garage to get a glimpse of the light show and hear a snatch of music.

The Jim Jones Revue

Badgeless and wristband-less, we plunged headlong into the music on a sunny Friday, sampling the tasty sounds of Music By The Slice at Home Style Pizza, which is part of the South Congress scene quickly growing to rival the antics of better-known Sixth Street.  We caught electro-poppers the Woodhands, from Toronto, who had a fine set of melodic emo.  Lead singer Dan Werb plays a Roland “key-tar” while drummer Paul Banwatt keeps a steady beat.  Local faves A Giant Dog kept the between-set energy going with some really nice garage band rock.

We hoofed it to a grassy field on the Sixth Street on the other side of the freeway for the Mess With Texas festival, wishing to see the Jim Jones Revue from England.  We reviewed these guys a while back and were eager to see how their high-energy rock and roll translated live.  No disappointments here, even though lead vocalist/guitarist Jim Jones was a bit rough-voiced from playing the night before, and there were some audio problems.  But they played it in the red – and guitarist Rupert Orton kept dipping back into his bag of truly nasty lead work, while piano player Elliott Mortimer became the crazed offspring of the Faces’ Ian McLagan.  Man, these guys are great!

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