Audio Lore

A Positive Music Blog

Friday, June 29, 2012

Out of the Vaults #15 - The Didjits - Little Miss Carriage

Each week or so my wife will dive into our CD cabinets (The Vaults) and randomly pull out one of the thousands of CDs. The chosen album will then be given to me and I will talk about the Cd for awhile no matter how good, bad, obscure or embarrassing the chosen disc is. Where did I buy it, when did I buy it, what was my first reaction to hearing it, do I still listen to it today etc, etc, etc

Out Of The Vaults #15 - The Didjits - Little Miss Carriage Ep

In 1994 a small California band called The Offspring released and album named Smash. At Track #10 was a song called "Killboy Powerhead" which was originally written and recorded by Rick Sims and his band the Didjits on their 1990 Hornet Pinata album. At first Smash went relatively unnoticed but almost a year later the album took off and reached #4 on the Billboard Charts, selling over 12 million copies.

The story goes Rick Sims bought a $600,00 condo with the money from royalties

Whether it be with The Didjits, his short stint in The Supersuckers, his later band The Gaza Strippers or even while playing guitar on the B-52's Fred Schneider solo album, guitarist Rick Sims is Rock and Roll. His manic driving guitar hooks burn holes through any speakers. As "James Meat" in the mysterious Lee Harvey Oswald Band, Rick proves he can rule the drums too.

All Rick has to do is put on his "Rick Didjit" suit and he becomes a guitar monster. When I say "suit" I mean literally a suit. Pretty nice ones too. I always wondered what his dry cleaning bill was like on tour.

When it comes to the Didjits catalog Little Miss Carriage is the perfect place to begin. The album starts off with the greatest album lead off guitar riff ever. EVER. When track 1 "Dirt County Road" kicks in you better grab onto that roll bar. It's going to be a bumpy ride. Track 2 "The Man"keeps the groove going, even adds a little bounce to the mix, all the while Rick's guitar hooks  ringing in every direction. Doug Evens's driving bass let's you know Track 3 "Jimmy" will be not be letting up. The revved up "Sugarfox" finishes off the EP but there is still one song we missed.

The Didjits were always great at picking the right cover songs to fit their sound. On previous albums and singles they had covered Little Richard's "Lucille", The MC5's "Call Me Animal", Devo's "Mr DNA" and Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" with The Plasmatics "Monkey Suit" on a later album. Little Miss Carriage is no exception. Montrose's "Rock the Nation" is given the complete Didjits treatment while still showing respect to the Monthrose (who had a young Sammy Hagar on vocals) original.

Besides four great original songs and one perfectly fitting cover song, Little Miss Carriage has one thing every other Didjits album does not have: Rey Washam. The former Big Boys, Scratch Acid, Rapeman, Tad and (at the time) future Ministry drummer hits the drums harder than most. Although I hate to take anything away from the Didjits original hard hitting drummer (and Rick's brother) Brad Sims, Rey's drums on Little Miss Carriage really do bring the band's sound to a whole new level. Savor every beat because on Que Sirhan Sirhan, the Didjits next and last album, Todd Cole takes over the kit.

At only five songs Little Miss Carriage does leave you hungry and salivating for more. Lucky for you the Didjits have five more incredible albums to sink your teeth into.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Out Of the Vaults #14 - The Doughboys - Crush

Each week or so my wife will dive into our CD cabinets (The Vaults) and randomly pull out one of the thousands of CDs. The chosen album will then be given to me and I will talk about the Cd for awhile no matter how good, bad, obscure or embarrassing the chosen disc is. Where did I buy it, when did I buy it, what was my first reaction to hearing it, do I still listen to it today etc, etc, etc

Out Of The Vaults #14 - The Doughboys - Crush

 In 1993 I went to a show in Baltimore at The American Revolution or “The Rev” for short. On the bill was Jawbox, a local band named Rubber Sole and a band from Canada called  the Doughboys. I had heard the Doughboys name around but had not heard their music. As they began to set up their equipment I asked the guys standing next to me what the band was like. “Pretty poppy with lots of hooks”, the guy answered. Then he added, “Oh, and on stage they jump around a lot”. Then the band started up. “Jumps around a lot” was a serious understatement. Over the 45 minute set I do not think any of the band members’ feet even touched the ground. Plus the music was incredible. Melody and thick guitars all over the place. Each member with hair whipping around and big smiles on their faces. The show left me with a grin for weeks.

A few months later A&M Records released Crush and the album has been in my regular rotation ever since.

The thing I love most in a song is a "hook". That one piece of a song which is not just a lyric stuck in your head but an instruments riff or even just a sound that catches and stays with you. The riff ten seconds into "Disposable" is a perfect example.

 As a matter of fact I think the songs “Melt”, “Disposable”, “Fix Me”, “Tearin’ Me Away”, “Everything” and “End of the Hall” on Crush alone may possess more hooks then the rest of the music in my collection. 

That's not even including the song which leads off the album "Shine". There is no argument that this is not one of the greatest and most catchy rock and roll songs that there ever was. Just listen to this song without a smile on your face.

Combined with the intensity of "Neighborhood Villain" and "Fall", the guitar fuzz of "Shitty Song" and the laid back groove of "Treehouse" and "Summer Song" you have one of the best Power/Pop/Punk/ Rock and Roll albums of all time. I will never understand while Crush  isn't still in print

Do I still listen to this album? I'd say at least a couple times a week. Every time my feet barely touch the ground.

 I put two vids for "Shine". The first is the actual video and the second just the song because I think the first one  is "not made available on mobile". Everyone should be able to liisten to this song at least once.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How I Discovered Rock and Roll At The Least Likely Location

This entry began as another "Out of The Vaults with a Twist" where I randomly take one of my wife's CDs and write about it. The disc picked was Genesis's 1983 self titled album, an album I actually had a copy of a long time ago. When I sat down to write about the Genesis album I remembered where I had gotten my copy from. It was probably the last place you would ever guess.

MTV and the local WHFS Radio station taught me about new wave and alternative music. Dubbed tapes friends stole from their older brothers taught us about punk rock and metal. Before all that would happen, somplace  schooled me on Rock and Roll: The Library. Of all the places I could have learned about the music which would soon be blasting through speakers and headphones, it was the one place in the world where you are supposed to be the most quiet. Even at a young age I was amused by the irony.

For some reason the Howard County Library had a very thorough selection of Rock and Roll records. There was a whole wall full of them. All fitted nicely in new car smelling plastic cases. From around age ten to about fifteen years old I took hundreds of records home with me. It was here where I first listened to Squeeze's East Side Story, NRBQ's At Yankee Stadium, Warren Zevon's Excitable Boy, Cheap Trick's Dream Police, every single album by KISS and of course the previous mentioned Genesis album were just a few of them. 

There was a three album limit when it came to checking out records. To be able to take home the most music possible  I tried to mix in a double album like The Who's Tommy, Bruce Springsteen's The River or Electric Light Orchestra's Out Of The Blue. I was particularly proud of myself when one visit I was able to work The Clash's triple album Sandinista into the three the Library allowed me to check out.

Every time we returned home the records would be placed right on my father's stereo system to be listened to and possibly recorded. It still amazes me over all those years only one or two had a scratch.

But of course they were not all winners. I remember Roger Daltrey's solo Under A Raging Moon almost made me pass on ever hearing The Who. On Supertramp's Breakfast In America I only lasted  four songs in before picking up the needle

In a few cases I would accidentally record on the tape Side 2 before Side 1. Some of those albums I would not even realize the error until many years later when the CD was purchased. The Replacements album Tim to this day sounds awkward to me when listened to in  it's correct order.
My father was a teacher. He was off work for the summers so to avoid cabin fever but still be able to stay in the air conditioning we went to the library at least three times a week. It was during these summers when I first listened to  The Kinks's Low-Budget, Nick Lowe's Labor of Lust, Talking Heads Fear of Music and so many more.Sometimes for change of scenery we would take a trip to the neighboring town Laurel's library. This always meant a whole new set of records to check out. Here is where I would discovered Blondie's Paraell Lines, David Bowie's Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Cars's Candy-O. I have this distinct memory of sitting there trying to decide between taking out Phill Collins's solo debut Face Value or it's follow up Hello, I Must Be Going.

Don't get me wrong. I did check out books too. Do you think my father would keep taking me there if all lhe saw was records in my arms?

As I grew older I now had enough money to buy records. Plus my tastes in music was becoming a little too edgy for the Library's collection. Soon the number of albums I checked out became smaller and smaller as my personal collection gew larger and larger.

A few years ago I went to the Howard County library to check out a book and found the record section had been taken out long ago. The wall now taken up by DVDs. Still when a song like Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" or Phill Collins's "In The Air Tonight" or Blondie's "One Way or Another" comes on the radio I remember perfectly those Summer days spent discovering rock and roll. Sometimes I can almost  smell the plastic.