Swamp Dogg: Rat On!

Swamp Dogg a.k.a. Jerry Williams


When you look at the cover of Swamp Dogg’s album Rat On! now – on a black background, Swamp Dogg, in beret and fringed vest, sitting astride a white rat, Dogg’s arms held up in triumph – it just looks silly (and has indeed been called one of the worst album covers of all time). But at the time of its release in 1971, it managed to offend some people (evidence that people searching for things to be offended by is not a new development). While the photo was never intended as anything more than a visual component of the title’s play on words, Swamp Dogg hasn’t been one to back away from controversy, so he decided to stoke the fires of the offended by claiming the cover represented “the black man on top of the white man”1.

Clearly, what the cover does denote is an album from someone fond of clowning around. What you may miss from just looking at the cover, though, is that, beyond the silly cover and between some jokey songs … Continue reading

Friday Link Session


  • Our friends, and becoming one of my favorite bands, the Wind-up Birds have broadened their offerings on their Bandcamp site. Their latest addition is Acting Thick for Money, Vol. 2, collecting the EP In These Great Times, the “mini-album” We Fixed The Raffle, and the original version of “Meet Me at the Depot” – pay-what-you-want. If you’re in the Leeds, UK, area, you can catch them playing for free on February 1 at Brudenell Social Club with Kleine Schweine, Monmon and Guerin.
  • I Rock Cleveland announced that Dave Grohl’s new documentary “Sound City” will be screening here in Cleveland at the Cedar Lee on January 31. Click here for more details and check out Grohl’s recent appearance on WTF with Marc Maron – so much glorious music geeking.
  • Boing Boing has a free download of “She Lives in an Airport” from Guided By Voices. A new album is expected in the first half of this year.
  • A Neil Young bootleg called “The Joel Bernstein Tapes” has been posted to YouTube. Over an hour of ’76-vintage Young. Read a little more about the tapes here.
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Maximum Hedrum: Keep in Touch


People, my head is spaced on medicine, and I can’t form a coherent post, so have a blurb and a video for Maximum Hedrum’s “Keep in Touch”, featuring his grand funkness George Clinton.

“The video was inspired by an article in Italian that my friend Wendy Morgan sent me about a young man with cerebral palsy and his relationship with his mom and a prostitute. The story felt closely related to ‘Keep in Touch’ in the sense of yearning for intimacy without the ability to express it with touch,” says video co-direcotr Sam Spiegel. “Shooting this film was a great experience in getting to know Javier Silcook (our lead actor who has cerebral palsy) and his family who are amazing (Javier has 62 adopted brothers all with disabilities as well). I hope we were able to show some of the beautiful as well as lonely moments of living with CP.”


“Keep in Touch” – Maximum Hedrum


Maximum Hedrum’s self-titled debut album will drop on March 19.


Maximum Hedrum Official Website

Maximum Hedrum @ Twitter

Maximum Hedrum @ Facebook

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The Rebel Light

The Rebel Light


I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, and I really shouldn’t have been. The Rebel Light is a Los Angeles band, made up of two brothers and a cousin, who make bright, melodic pop driven by infectious rhythm. In more applicable terms, this music is perfect for chair-dancing and impromptu sing-alongs, so if you’re going to listen to this music on your device-of-choice when you’re out in the world, be prepared for the funny looks your likely to garner when you’ve found you’ve been so swept up in the music that you’ve broken into a song-and-dance number right in the middle of the bus stop.


“Goodbye Serenade” – The Rebel Light


The Rebel Light’s self-titled EP is available for free on both Bandcamp and NoiseTrade (where you can also help these guys out with a little coinage in their virtual tip jar). Get it and watch your day get a few notches brighter.


The Rebel Light Official Website

The Rebel Light @ Twitter

The Rebel Light @ Facebook

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Friday Link Session

  • Check out our friend Pete David of the Payroll Union and Andrew Heath of the University of Sheffield in a nice, little interview, talking about music, history, the new Payroll Union album, and their upcoming collaboration.
  • Read a 1990 essay on hip hop by the late David Foster Wallace and co-author Mark Costello at The Missouri Review. The pair also wrote a book on the subject, the now difficult-to-find Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race In the Urban Present.
  • Billy Bragg has announced a U.S. tour to begin in late March. You can get the dates, along with an mp3 of the song “Handyman Blues” off his upcoming album Tooth & Nail at Slicing Up Eyeballs.
  • Kim Deal has begun releasing a solo series on vinyl, starting with “Walking with a Killer” b/w “Dirty Hessians”. This first 7″ is already sold out, but you can still buy the digital version. Take a listen to the songs at Spacelab and sign up to get news of upcoming releases in the solo series at Kim Deal’s website.
  • Joe Strummer will be honored with Plaza Joe Strummer in Granada, … Continue reading

Dinosaur Jr.: Pierce the Morning Rain


Bass is a drug, people!

Dinosaur Jr. certainly doesn’t need any publicity from us, but this video for “Pierce the Morning Rain”, from their latest album I Bet on Sky, is too good not to share. Greats James Urbaniak, Maria Bamford, and Henry Rollins star in this unflinching look at a widespread problem in America today…



Dinosaur Jr. Official Website

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Rachel Brooke: A Killer’s Dream

Rachel Brooke


I developed a kind of crush on Rachel Brooke in the spring of 2011 when she released Down in the Barnyard, and now Brooke back with A Killer’s Dream and even better. Upon listening to A Killer’s Dream, it was immediately impressive how Brooke has expanded her band, her sound, and her talents. The clear, strong voice and compelling stories now paint their pictures with more vibrant shades of honky tonk, rhythm and blues, and fiery torch songs. Brooke strides with appealing confidence through songs both sultry and sentimental, knowing and spirited.

If an artist’s albums are like the growth charts that tracked our heights when we were kids, Brooke has shot up like a weed.


“A Killer’s Dream” – Rachel Brooke


“The Black Bird” – Rachel Brooke


Rachel Brooke Official Website

Rachel Brooke @ Twitter

Rachel Brooke @ Facebook

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Friday Link Session


  • Open Culture has some punk education for you in the form of two documentaries, Punk: The Early Years and Punk’s Not Dead.
  • This is a little old (in internet time) now, but in case you haven’t seen it, check out the new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds video for “We No Who U R” over at Spacelab.
  • Wildlife have a new album coming out February 26. The lead single, “Born To Ruin”, is fantastic. Check it out below.

Wildlife – Born to Ruin by waxrecords

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Camilla Sparks: I’ll Teach You to Hunt


Barbara Lehnhoff, the unique but engaging voice from Peter Kernel, has a new project called Camilla Sparksss. The first single from Camilla Sparksss dives into much more retro synth waters than Peter Kernel has, bringing to mind new wave dance music of the early ’80s.


“I’ll Teach You to Hunt” – Camilla Sparkss


On the other hand, this live video of “Europe” is angry and angular and instantly compelling.



You can pick up the single of “I’ll Teach You to Hunt” – backed with the punishing “For You the Wild” – at the Camilla Sparkss Bandcamp page, which offers digital, vinyl 7″, and Polaroid packages. Camilla Sparksss has upcoming shows in Switzerland, Italy, and France – check the official site for details.


Camilla Sparksss Official Website

Camilla Sparksss @ Bandcamp

Camilla Sparksss @ Twitter

Camilla Sparksss @ Facebook

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