Bits: Justin Townes Earle, The Walkmen, James Blackshaw, ATP, Roadside Graves, The Black Angles, Kermit Ruffins, Ray Davies

  • NPR’s got it going on in their First Listen feature, with Justin Townes Earle’s Harlem River Blues and the Walkmen’s Lisbon in the rotation right now. Additionally, although it’s a little older now, is the latest from A.A. Bondy-favorite James Blackshaw.
  • Also at NPR, an All Tomorrow’s Parties preview playlist from NTSIB favorite Jim Jarmusch, which includes T-Model Ford, Raekwon and Ohio’s Greenhornes.
  • Muzzle of Bees brings us some special downloads from a lost session Roadside Graves recorded for Aquarium Drunkard.
  • Spinner offers a free download of the Black Angels’ “Telephone”, which has nothing to do with who you’re thinking of, as well as “I Got a Treme Woman” by Kermit Ruffins.
  • There’s a Ray Davies collaboration album in the works, which will reportedly include Frank Black, Bruce Springsteen and the late Alex Chilton, among others. Pitchfork gathered some reports for you.

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“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” -Douglas Adams

I goofed.

I am in the midst of writing a feature post that I’ve been planning since I started this blog. It’s, uh, taking a little longer than I thought it would, so I am left content-less today.

In lieu of a post, I encourage everyone to watch It’s Everything, and Then It’s Gone (link to the video at the bottom of the page), a documentary on the almost-the-next-big-thing music scene in Akron, Ohio, in the 1970s – a scene which spawned Tin Huey, the Rubber City Rebels and, of course, Devo, among others.

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Die, Sloopy, Die: The Afghan Whigs

I find myself drawn to the music of Ohio artists. It could be some innate loyalty to or a sharing of basic ideas with my fellow Ohioans. Or it could be that Ohio turns out more excellent music per capita than the rest of the world. I may be biased, but I’m going with option B.

Die, Sloopy, Die is a tribute to great Ohio bands of the past and present. The name is an anti-tribute to our official state rock song “Hang On, Sloopy” by the McCoys because, while it is awesome that we were the first state to declare an official state rock song (and, so far, we are one of only two states to do so, Oklahoma having declared the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” their official state song), we chose one of the lamest songs it was possible for us to choose.

The Afghan Whigs

“Ladies, let me tell you about myself…”

The … Continue reading

Rebirth of the Cool: Goo Goo Muck

The Cramps seemed to permeate northeastern Ohio culture in an insidious way. Even if you had never heard of the Cramps before, you somehow instinctively knew that Lux Interior was from Akron. That’s the way it felt, anyway. And the fact that my mother clipped Lux’s obituary from The Akron Beacon Journal for me when I’m certain that, if I mentioned the Cramps to her at all, it was only once or twice in the distant past bares this out.

One of the Cramps’ best-known songs is the deliciously depraved “Goo Goo Muck”.


You may know that “Goo Goo Muck” is a cover of a 1962 tune by Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads. Little information is available about this band, and the only other song mentioned by them is the b-side to “Goo Goo Muck”, “The Scotch”.


In the 1960s, instrumental bands were a happening thing in American rock ‘n’ roll. Groups like the Ventures, the Surfaris and, of course, Booker T. and the MGs experienced success to rival their vocals-enabled peers. When I began researching instrumental band the Fireballs, their 1958 single “Torquay” struck me as sounding very familiar…


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Slackday: The Plum

Cleveland. You might have heard of us. We’re known for hemorraghing talent* and that whole river-catching-on-fire thing.

But there are good aspects of living here, too. Sadly, we lost one of those aspects a couple of weeks ago when one of my personal idols, Harvey Pekar, died. If you’ve seen the film American Splendor, you know a bit of Harvey’s story. He was best-known for his American Splendor comic books, which are addictive, funny, inspiring… you should read them.

Here’s a snippet from the time Anthony Bourdain brought his show No Reservations to the CLE and met Harvey. (Tony baby loved Cleveland, by the way.)


Another good aspect is that we have a sense of humor. We kind of have to.


Additionally, aside from all the good music that comes through Cleveland (you can see a show every night of the week at the Beachland Ballroom alone, and there’s also the Grog Shop, Now That’s Class, the Thirsty Dog… we’ve got a few venues – and when I say “a few”, I mean “a lot of”), some great music comes from Cleveland. Here’s Kid Cudi talking about home.


*We also like to claim anything good … Continue reading

Bits: Greg fucking Dulli, Alan Lomax Archive, Grinderman, Futurebirds, Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Cheyenne Mize

  • The big freaking news for me personally this week is Greg fucking Dulli’s (in my world, this is his actual, legal name) first solo tour. “An Evening with Greg Dulli” will be making the rounds in the U.S. and Europe in October and November. Afghan Whigs songs are promised, as are brand new Twilight Singers tunes.
  • The Alan Lomax Archive now has a YouTube Channel with footage of R.L. Burnside, Sam Chatmon and more.
  • Our friends at Buddyhead have a new Grinderman song for you, “Heathen Child”, along with the scary and possibly not-safe-for-work cover art.
  • The charming Futurebirds release Hampton Lullaby today, and you can take a listen at Spinner.
  • Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Cheyenne Mize have released a sweet and mellow EP of covers called Among the Gold. You can listen here and download here.

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Jessica Lea Mayfield and the Black Keys at the Nautica Pavillion in Cleveland, OH, 7.24.10

If the quality of a Black Keys show can be judged by the number of times Dan Auerbach shouts a non-lyrical interjection into a song (think James Brown), this show was stellar.

It was an intensely hot day in Cleveland, the kind where just standing in line can make you break a sweat, but spirits and anticipation were high, and I was pleased that the show had finally sold out.

The audience was decidedly split on opener Jessica Lea Mayfield, but this was not terribly surprising considering how different Mayfield’s music is from that of TBK. While it was disappointing that big brother David Mayfield was not on string duties, it was good to see JLM broadening her sound (and, one imagines, allowing David more time for his work with Cadillac Sky and his solo work) with keyboards and electric bass. And guitarist Richie Kirkpatrick is always entertaining to watch. The new song from Mayfield’s forthcoming album sounded solid, and early word is that the whole album is killer (in an interview, Dan Auerbach, who created the Polymer Sounds label in … Continue reading

Slackday: Feel Good

I wasn’t going to post anything remotely Black Keys-related today because it seemed too obvious in light of their Cleveland show tomorrow night (which somehow isn’t sold out, even though several shows on this tour are sold out – no damn wonder Pat moved away and Dan will probably be moving soon) and my inability to shut about them lately. But then the awesome Freddie Gibbs collaboration “Oil Money” turned up yesterday, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. Featuring Dan Auerbach along with Chuck Inglish (of the Cool Kids, who will appear on the next BlakRoc joint), Bun B and Cleveland’s Chip Tha Ripper, this is a gorgeous piece of hip hop. You can download the mp3 at It’s A Rap.


And what’s more appropriate for Slackday than a song about feeling goooood from Chip Tha Ripper?


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Fellow Travellers: Rubber City Review

It’s been a while since NTSIB has expressed feelings of blog crush-ness, but we have been admiring Rubber City Review from afar for a while. Based out of Akron, Ohio, RCR covers a wide range of classic music: rock, blues, funk, soul, country, jazz… if it’s good, RCR is feelin’ it. Hallmarks of RCR posts include myriad song samples, mini music history lessons and personal recollections/reflections.

Run by Tim Quine, RCR also comprises contributions from Kevin Swan, Andy Moore, Jack Quine, photographer James Quine and Dan Auerbach. What? Oh yeah, did I fail to mention that Tim is Dan’s uncle? Maybe that’s because, even though I was led to Rubber City Review through a post to the Black Keys’ MySpace, I would be crushing on RCR even without Mr. Auerbach’s involvement.

It’s good, people. And while RCR doesn’t spotlight much new music, you will find a lot of great music that is probably new to you. Check ‘em out.

Rubber City Review

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Bits: The Wu is coming through, Strummerville by Letts, the story of K Records

  • There’s never a shortage of news from the Wu-Tang Clan, and our first four items are devoted to them. Up first: The Wu will be playing the Rock the Bells festival tour at the end of August, performing their masterpiece Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) in its entirety. This year’s bill also includes Rakim, KRS-ONE and Slick Rick, among others.
  • Raekwon has released a new mixtape, Cocainism, Vol. 2, and you can download it here.
  • Pollen, The Swarm Part 3 is on its way, and you can download the first track, “Roll with Killer Beez”, here.
  • It was inevitable: RZA is making a kung fu film. The Man with Iron Fists was co-written by RZA and Eli Roth and will be directed by and star RZA.
  • Filmmaker Don Letts has produced a documentary about the creation of Strummerville, the foundation that carries on Joe Strummer’s work of promoting music from beyond the fray, and the DVD of the film is being sold exclusively through the Strummerville site where you can also watch a trailer for the film.
  • Pitchfork’s One Week Only feature this … Continue reading