Posts Tagged ‘the raconteurs’

Terry Reid

June 21st, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s artist of the week is a legendary singer/songwriter who had the chance to be in Led Zeppelin, but passed it up, directing Jimmy Page instead to a young singer from a band called Band Of Joy. He’s still alive, still kicking, and slowly it appears more people are beginning to appreciate some of the great work he released in his lifetime. The artist of the week is…

TERRY REID!!!

Reid was in a band called The Jaywalkers when he had his first taste of success as their song “The Hand Don’t Fit The Glove” became a minor hit. The band broke up shortly after that and Reid started recording with Mickie Most, a hitmaker producer who worked with The Animals, Donovan, The Yardbirds, and many others. With Most, Reid recorded the album Bang, Bang, You’re Terry Reid, which I haven’t heard, then Terry Reid, a pretty decent if very of-its-time rock/pop album with some great songs like “Rich Kid Blues”, which was later covered by The Raconteurs on Consolers Of The Lonely.

The album I want to talk about is his third album, The River, produced by Tom Dowd and YesEddie Offord. The album is in no way a prog-rock album, but rather, its first half is a very swampy, almost jammy kind of venture. Reid’s bluesy whine cuts clear through the mix, strung along by a groove laid down by some phenomenal musicians. Reid himself is of course one of these, an able guitarist who would later do session work for the likes of Jackson Browne, Bonnie Rait and Don Henley. My favourite tracks on the album, however, are the last two which are almost solo Reid with just a guitar. The songs are still kind of complex, with very interesting, jazzy changes, and their structure is kind of interesting also, but more importantly, they’re these beautifully intimate songs with a depth his previous work could never have suggested.

The first of the two, “Dreams”, is very pretty and the kind of thing you might use to soundtrack some kind of makeout scene by a lake (or river…), while the second, “Milestones”, is very somber, almost dark and painful, and the ending, with its overlapping vocals is ghostly and haunting and literally makes my hairs stand as I listen to it while typing this. Don’t make out to this song unless like somebody’s about to die or something. But still, it’s really beautiful and amazing.

Admittedly, The River is not an album I listen to a lot, but it’s an album that I’ve always really liked and had a special place for. When I do listen to it, it’s a bit more than just a casual listening experience; The River is an album that sucks you into its world by the river. It’s not an album with some great, short little pop songs – its songs seem to sprawl, stretch out, so that you either just kind of let them drag you along or you won’t like it. Even so, no track passes the 6-minute-mark. Even the packaging sucks you in, with its dark, brown, murky cover that looks like a weirdly shot picture of a river, to the handwritten-style text and that great inside-jacket picture of Reid, formerly this rock and roll pretty boy looking like a bearded, kind of nutty dude chilling on a rock by the river with a whole bunch of mountains in the background.

I haven’t heard any other Terry Reid albums, although I’ve been meaning to check out the Graham Nash-produced Seeds Of Memory, that’s supposed to be pretty cool.

The Greenhornes

March 26th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is kind of famous by proxy of another band, which itself is also famous really because of another band. However, they’re still a really legits band. The band of the week is…

THE GREENHORNES!!!

You – yes, you reading this – sort of, kind of know The Greenhornes. Maybe your eyes scanned their name quickly once or you overheard something or maybe you caught the song of theirs that was used in Jim Jarmusches‘ film Broken Flowers. The reason you kind of know them is because bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler are the rhythm section in The Raconteurs – their band with Jack White and Brendan Benson. What most people don’t know is that they’re a great garage band in their own right who’ve been slogging it out since 1996.

So, as we all know, about 10 years ago we had the garage rock revival in which The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives and The Vines spearheaded a return to like…good music. That way also included The Greenhornes, who made a kind of lunge for the big time also, most successfully with their 2002 album Dual Mono. In years to come the album may seriously be recognized as a classic (out) of its time. It’s just a solid album with classic retro rockers (“Satisfy My Mind”), dark smoky duets with female singers (“There Is An End”), and pure, shameless power-pop (“Gonna Get Me Someone”).

They made an EP that was released on the once-really-cool V2 label before that fell apart and the rhythm section got recruited by Jack White for not only The Raconteurs, but Lorreta Lynn‘s backing band on the incredible Van Lear Rose album (that White produced). Their latest album – their first since 2002 – is 2010’s ****, or ‘Four Stars‘.

Truth be told, the album sounds very after the fact. The sound of the early 00’s garage rock revival that The Greenhornes continue to sport feels dated, and they’ve lost the momentum that one could feel in the excitement of Dual Mono. The annoying thing is that it’s not like garage rock isn’t still popular, but now what’s in is to sound like lo-fi psych-garage rockers updating the sound of bands like The 13th Floor Elevators (Black Lips, Harlem, Strange Boys). But damnit, they still know how to write some killer songs – namely, “Song 13”. True, it’s not exactly groundbreaking lyrically, but it’s just a phenomenally well-composed piece of rock. The lyrics work beautifully even if they’re not the deepest, and the production and arrangement are just spot on in every way.

The Greenhornes are not a band that deserves to die out, no band that can write songs this stellar should. If they can push themselves to stop writing overly-retro songs like, “Need Your Love”, they’ll be alright. I don’t expect it to happen and it most likely won’t, but whatever, they’ve made some truly great music. Most of us wish we could say the same.

Consolers of the Lonely Review

April 10th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

The Raconteurs

Consolers Of The Lonely

8.6/10

For some reason, the first time I heard Consolers of the Lonely, I was disappointed. It seemed as though the brilliant hooks and cutting intelligence of Broken Boy Soldiers (or at least it’s first half) had been replaced by louder guitars and “rock-on!”-rudimentary. Still, I couldn’t believe that Jack White was capable of letting me down, so I kept coming back to it. I’m glad I kept the faith.

Consolers of the Lonely sees The Raconteurs going from an intriguing experiment to a fully-fledged band that rocks…hard. Unfortunately, it further confirms what everyone thought right from the beginning: this is Jack’s band. White’s magnetism and unwavering energy propels everything forward like a mad shot of adrenaline into the Raconteurs’ collective arm. That being said, he does have a crack band backing him. Patrick Keeler and “Little” Jack Lawrence make a fantastic rhythm section and Benson deserves his due for writing and singing many of the albums best tunes as well as providing a bit of sensitivity (but not too much) to contrast with White’s bravado. “Shades of Black” in particular is a shiner for him, where he bellows beautifully over soaring horns. He tries his best to keep up with White’s explosive persona but who can blame him for just not being up to the task?

In fact, the album seems to have been hijacked by White, as it leans way more towards his blues and country tendencies. This time round there’s less of Benson’s synthizers and colorful arrangements and more fiddle (the back-porch-y “Old Enough), mariachi horns (“Shades of Black”, the dramatic western “The Switch and The Spur”) and some nice slide guitar (the stylish “Top Yourself” and the lazy-day “Pull this Blanket Off”). What probably happened was everyone would throw in their ideas and they just kept saying, “damn Jack, that is a kick ass idea.” Or he just threatened to kick their asses if they dared argue (watch your back, little Jack). Or worse, he’d challenge them to a guitar duel…to the death! Which would basically mean suicide because White’s guitar playing on the album is a wonder. On no White Stripes album does he sound so frighteningly corrosive. It sounds like a wild-bolt of electricity just looking for something to fry. At this point I’d say it’s justifiable to call him this generation’s premier guitar hero. While Benson’s shtick peeks through at times, White’s dominance ultimately serves to bring both the band and the album a much greater focus than heard on Soldiers.

Ultimately, as kick-ass as a band can be, they’re nothing without kick-ass tunes. It took me a while to realize it but there’s plenty of ‘em on Consolers. While there’s no trace of the power pop of “Together”, “Hands” and “Intimate Secretary” from the first album, between the rave ups (“Consolers of the Lonely“), ballads (“You Don’t Understand Me“), 70’s covers (“Rich Kid Blues”) and southern gothic tales (“Carolina Drama”) you’d be hard pressed to not find something to love about this album. On Consolers of the Lonely, The Raconteurs have taken a great undeniable step forward and Jack White continues to prove that there’s nothing he can’t do.

http://www.myspace.com/theraconteurs