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Brandon Taylor's "Radio Ghost" Record Release Show
(image) The first time I met Brandon Taylor was down in the Delta at the caretaker’s lodge flanked alongside the Baby Doll House near Benoit. Wiry, curly-haired, and soft-spoken, he was visiting river-man Matthew Burdine, who happened to be watching the property for a few days. The two of them wore cowboy hats and toothy necklaces and discussed Neal Cassidy and Jack Kerouac the way Civil War buffs might trade information about the battle of Shiloh or Gettysburg.

In his debut album, Radio Ghost, Taylor runs the gamut of Americana styles with pedal steel, and Dylan inspired ballads to Deep South crooning and bluegrass. I had a chance to catch up with him to talk about his new album.

Brandon recalls being in fifth grade trying the smorgasbord of musical instruments for a sort of aptitude test for the school band.

“Their recommendation was for clarinet, but I was dead set on playing drums. I never liked to read music or anything like that—I always just wanted to play what I wanted to play.”

As time went by, he realized that most American music was played in 4/4 time and his curiosity drifted towards melody, inspiring him to pick up the guitar.

“The Christmas I got a drum set, my brother got a Sears guitar. He just never learned how to play it, so one summer when I was twelve, I dragged it out from under his bed and started Googling guitar chords.”

On the intro track, “Need a Fix,” Brandon belts out, “Don’t trust the government.” He explained that this was inspired by Edward Snowden. He recalls family members at Thanksgiving talking about how unpatriotic Snowden was to come forward about the extent of NSA surveillance.

“It’s unpatriotic to come forward and say ‘your government is lying to you’?” Taylor asked.

“In that song, it evolved into, well, what else is wrong? We’re always on our phones—we’re more connected than ever, but less connected than ever.”

The album- which was produced by Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell- will be released on Mad Jack Records and features a who’s who of regional musicians. Taylor recorded live duets with Shannon McNally, has Cody Dickinson backing him on drums in “Memphis in the Summer-time,” and Luther Dickinson playing electric guitar on multiple tracks including “Baby Blue” - which sounds like a song straight off of Exile on Main Street.

The album release of Radio Ghost will feature several opening acts including Kelley Anderson and DJ Andrew McCalla, and of course a live performance by Brandon Taylor and friends. The event will run from 9pm to 12am on Friday, December 9th at Studio 688.

Juicy J Announces Minglewood Hall Show
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Memphis rap legend Juicy J is bringing his "Rubba Band Business" tour to Minglewood Hall next February. Joining the founding member of Three Six Mafia will be Ottawa rapper Belly. Tickets are currently on sale for the February 20th gig, and can be purchased at the Minglewood box office, or by clicking here.


The show is all ages- making for one of the first times in recent memory that children of all sizes can enjoy the national treasure known as Juicy J. Check out music from the Memphis icon below.

Operation Band-Aid
(image) Local musicians unite to help drummer, guitarist Abe White.

Two weeks ago, local musician Abe White was shot in the arm in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. Around 2:45 a.m., police officers found White in the Mulan Asian Bistro parking lot. He was taken to Regional Medical Center, where he was in critical condition before being announced in stable condition a day later.

As a member of the Oscars, Useless Eaters, True Sons of Thunder, and the Manateees, White has been an integral part of the Memphis punk community. He's released records on world-renowned garage-punk labels, toured the U.S.A. countless times, and has the battle scars to prove it.

While White has a long road to recovery, the medical bills facing the Memphis musician are staggering. With no health insurance, he could easily be paying medical bills for the next decade. Thankfully, many of the Memphis musicians he has shared the stage with over the years are coming to his aid this weekend in the form of a benefit show.

I caught up with White the day before his latest surgery to find out how one of Memphis' most-known punk musicians is holding up. — Chris Shaw

The Memphis Flyer: What have the last couple of weeks been like for you?

Abe White: Well, man, pretty surreal, to be honest. I really don't know how to go about it. It's been pretty cool to see people be so supportive. But, it was pretty odd seeing people I don't even know trying to add me on Facebook and stuff. There's been a lot of support from people I don't know, which is cool but also kind of weird.

I think it's kind of a rude awakening for me. It's made me get back to the roots of people who I thought were friends of mine. I don't think this was necessary, but it has been a pretty enlightening experience in some ways. The situation sucks, but it has been overwhelmingly positive in terms of everyone's feedback. I guess I'm still taking it all in at this point.

What kind of surgery are you having tomorrow?

They're going to do surgery on my forearm, which is where I was shot. I mean, I was shot point blank with a .45 caliber. The bullet went through my arm and hit the bone. I like to keep things light and make jokes, but this situation obviously could have been a lot worse.

What was your reaction when you heard that a benefit show was getting put together for you?

Honestly, I didn't really want to publicize the medical relief fund. The first injury I had [a few years ago, White shattered his foot after trying to rescue a bandmate's cat from a tree] set me back about 75 grand, and there's not a chance in hell I can ever pay that back. Also, I wanted to pay the bands something. I didn't want all these bands to play for free. But I think the benefit is going to be a lot of fun, and I think people will see the camaraderie here, and that we take care of our own.

We're kind of a family here. The music scene is our tribe. Even though I'm a wildcard most of the time, I recognize that this is my family, and I'm glad that everyone came to my side here. I'm not just a sinister dude who writes dark music, and it was nice to see people acknowledge that.

Did the doctor give you any kind of timetable for when you'll be able to use your arm again?

I'm not really too sure. I know that from what I ascertained last time I talked to them, they were saying I'm going to get a plate in my arm. It is an outpatient surgery, so I'll go in tomorrow morning around 5 a.m., and I'll pop right back out tomorrow afternoon.

I'm hoping I'll be able to get ready for my upcoming tour in January. I was going to go on a West Coast tour with Lenguas Largas. Hopefully, I won't have to cancel that, because I've already canceled more tours than I'd like to.

How do you think this experience will influence your music?

I really don't plan on dwelling on this experience. I don't want to shed any kind of light through my music onto this situation honestly. I see it as a breaking point for a lot of the darker aspirations I had when it comes to writing music about Memphis.

I've been involved in a lot of real shit, but this is kind of like the breaking point. I'm kind of sick of composing music about fear, anxiety, and frustration at this point. I'm ready to take a fucking chill pill and work from a different angle.

Weekend Roundup 89: Goo Goo Dolls, Nathaniel Rateliff, Nobunny
(image) Welcome to the 89th edition of the Weekend Roundup, aka the best place to learn about live music every weekend in Memphis. Here is what is going down.

Friday, December 2nd,
The Goo Goo Dolls, 8 p.m. at the Horseshoe Tunica, prices vary.
Switchblade Kid, Solar Flairs, Stephen Chopek, 9 p.m. at the Buccanneer, $5.
Dr Bacon, 10 p.m. at Lafayette's Music Room.

James and the Ammunition, 10 p.m. at Bar DKDC, $7.

Saturday, December 3rd.
Gasoline Grace, Los Psychosis, Dan Montgomery 3, 9 p.m. at Murphy's, $5.

Aquarian Blood, 10 p.m. at Bar DKDC, $7.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats, 9 p.m. at the New Daisy, Sold Out.
Sunday, December 4th.
The Dead Soldiers, John Paul Keith, The Mighty Souls Brass Band, La Pistola, Brad Birkedahl, The Rough Hearts, 6 p.m. at Minglewood Hall, $25.

Nobunny, The Cowboys, China Gate, 9 p.m. at the Hi-tone, $12.
Cassette Set, Relentless Breeze, 10 p.m. at Bar DKDC, $7.
Standing Rock Benefit at Midtown Crossing
(image) This Saturday night local musicians will donate all proceeds from a show to the friends and members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fighting against Energy Transfer’s Dakota Access Pipeline.

Grace Askew, Ben Abney, Barbara Jenice, and Keedran "TNT" Franklin are all set to perform at Midtown Crossing Bar and Grill, with doors opening at 8 p.m. and a $10 (or larger) donation required for entry.  All money raised and 10% of restaurant sales will be donated to the effort.
”It’s about time Memphis had an event to stand for Standing Rock,” says Askew.” I am so honored to unite for our brothers and sisters protecting our water of life.”

Check out music from Grace Askew below.


Record Store Day "Back to Black Friday" Highlights
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Afghan Whigs- Black Love (Expanded Edition) Rhino 3LP
While it truly hurts my brain to think about how this band’s 1992 – 1996 three-album hot streak might or might not resonate with folks today, Black Love was nonetheless one of the definitive documents of this '90s underground rock anomaly. And let’s not forget that Memphis’ own Paul Buchignani was the Whigs’ drummer on this album, having built a relationship with the band after working at Ardent Studios, where they recorded 1993's discography high-point, Gentlemen (parts of Black Love were also done at the studio). Black Love has never been reissued on vinyl since its original release in 1996. No pressing count is given for this expanded 3LP edition.
The Bangles- Ladies and Gentlemen… The Bangles LP (Omnivore)
 Founded in 1980 as The Bangs before avoiding a potential legal kerfuffle by changing their name to (The) Bangles, this all-female quartet emerged from the L.A. punk/hardcore reactionary offshoot sub-scene that (unfortunately) designated itself the Paisley Underground. So with The Dream Syndicate, Salvation Army/The Three O’Clock, Thin White Rope, Green On Red and The Blasters as contemporaries, the material recorded and released by the Bangles between 1981 and 1984 isn't exactly a dead-ringer for 1988’s #1 mega-smash ballad “Eternal Flame”, the almost-shelved novelty nonsense of “Walk Like An Egyptian” or even the Prince-gifted “Manic Monday” that kicked off the band’s period of success in 1985 (but even their hits, save for the ballad, were toothier and more guitar-oriented than other pop confections of the day).

Ladies and Gentleman…
was curated by the band and originally appeared (via their own Downkiddie! Records imprint) in digital-only format exactly two years ago on Thanksgiving Day 2014 and this marks its first time on vinyl. Along with their debut 7” from 1981 and the self-titled 12” EP that followed in ’82, Ladies and Gentlemen also features a strong selection of rarities/unreleased/etc, including the band’s great cover of Love’s “7 and 7 is”. Edition of 2000.

Big Star Complete Third Vol. 1: Demos to Sessions to Roughs 2LP (Omnivore)

This will no doubt be a no-brainer for many, especially anyone who’d prefer a staggered approach to acquiring and digesting in its entirety the Complete Third boxed set released earlier this year. Complete Third Vol. 1 is, as the sub-title implies, the first of three 2LP sets that will eventually make up the whole of what is offered by the boxed set. 2500 pressed.

Bolt Thrower- Those Once Loyal Metal Blade LP

England's Bolt Thrower carved their own place in the initial death-metal era of the late-80s/early-90s, not only because they featured a female in their ranks (bassist Jo Bench) but also on the strength of the rhythmic bulldozing effect of massive and dense but melodic guitar + guitar + bass riffing the band perfected around 1990.

Those Once Loyal eschews the Games Workshop/World of Warcraft cover art that came to represent Bolt Thrower albums throughout the '90s, and instead features a tasteful image memorializing WWI around which the record is themed (all B.T. albums carry a specific war or military-history theme). The band was active on-and-off in in a live capacity since this album's release 16 years ago but broke up for good following the recent death of drummer Martin Kearns. 1000 pressed on gold vinyl.

Death Grips- Fashion Week/Interview 2016 Harvest 2LP

Two recent instrumental releases, 2015’s digital-only Fashion Week and the Interview 2016 EP (Get it? There’s no interview!) from earlier this year, together on one 2LP set released in a pressing of 3000.

Regardless of whether you regard Death Grips as brilliant, a completely overrated hoodwink, or something in between, there’s no doubt their legacy will be discussed in terms of historical importance and lasting influence a decade from now.

Electric Wizard Witchcult Today (Metal Blade) 2LP
Quite possibly the gold standard in doom/sludge/stoner-metal, the UK’s Electric Wizard floored the metal community (and some outside of it) when, half-a-decade into their career, they dropped the next-level and now appropriately seminal genre landmark, Dopethrone, in 2000. One of the heaviest (essence and execution) bands of all time, Electric Wizard have so far followed that album with five more menacing mountains of riff-craft in celebration of the occult, H. P. Lovecraft, criminal dirtbaggery and the diggity-dank.

Any fan of metal or heavy music should be cozy with this band's post-Y2K discography, proof that something forward-thinking, singular, absolutely crushing and catchy as hell can be done with the doom/sludge/Sabbath template. Electric Wizard has a knack for giving their best songs the most asinine titles, as is the case with sample track below, "The Satanic Rites of Drugula." This pressing of 1000 (one clear disc and one silver disc) isn't likely to remain in print forever.

The Geto Boys “Mind Playing Tricks” 12" (RapAlot)

Never before had a known quantity in the then-exploding gangsta/hardcore-rap genre let its guard down lyrically in such a fearless and honest manner as did this Houston crew on their 1991 masterwork, We Can't Be Stopped.  “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” was the most prominent example of this, tackling the reality of mentally unraveling as a result of the lifestyle and surrounding environment.

As with other releases in this legendary group’s (who should be just as retroactively respected and huge as NWA, IMHO) back catalog, the song carries a dark sense of humor and is insanely infectious. Proceeds from this 12" will go to The JED Foundation, which works to promote emotional health and suicide prevention among college/university-aged students.


GWAR Black Friday Ltd. Edition Picture Disc 7" (Metal Blade)
An EP of two cover medleys that GWAR did for The Onion A/V Club in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Oderus (the late Dave Brockie) features on the A-side version of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” (which morphs into The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”), and his successor, Blothar (Michael Bishop, GWAR’s bassist from 1988 to 1999) handles on B-side's medley of The Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” (re-imagined as “West End Ghouls”) and “People Who Died” by The Jim Carrol Band. Hey, why not?


Mike Watt + The Bobblymen The Bobblymen 7” EP (ORG Music)

I would wager a guess that “bobblehead” is not copyrighted but Mike Watt has a knack for coining his own terms so maybe that explains the unfortunate name of his latest backing band. Moniker and equally cringe-worthy cover art aside, drummer Bob Lee and members of Watt's Missingmen and Secondmen bands assist in realizing three songs he wrote but never recorded some 35 years ago during the early days of the Minutemen. Edition of 1000.
Other recommendations worth checking out:

Tav Falco & Panther Burns "Sway" b/w "Where The Rio Del Rosa Flows" 7” (ORG Music) Ed of 1000.

Isaac Hayes Do Your Thing Now 12” (Again Records) Ed of 2500.

Rudy Ray Moore This Ain't No White Christmas LP (Traffic Entertainment/Dolemite Records) Ed of 1200.

Napalm Death/Melt Banana “Like Piss To A Sting” split 7” (Ipecac Recordings) pressing of 2000,

Xiu Xiu Knife Play LP (Graveface Records) Ed of 2000.

American Noise Volume One: Smart Studios Era 1 LP & The Smart Studios Story documentary DVD.


Top Releases of 2016
(image) Music Editor Chris Shaw picks his favorite albums and singles of the year.

Next week our music staff writers and I will tackle the best local releases of 2016, but I'm sticking with albums not from the birthplace of rock-and-roll for this list.

In no particular order, here are my picks for the albums and singles of the year.

Tim Presley — The Wink (Drag City)

White Fence has long been one of the most interesting psych bands to come out of California, and the mastermind behind the many LPs the band has released is San Francisco artist Tim Presley. After recording a killer record with Cate Le Bon under the name DRINKS last year, Presley released The Wink, his first record without the White Fence moniker.

The Wink is a departure from Presley's mad-scientist style of home recording, as Le Bon produced the album earlier this year in a proper California studio. The result is a kaleidoscope of krautrock, California psych, free jazz, and late '70s New York City rock, and the album hasn't moved more than a few feet from my turntable since I bought it.

Heavy Metal — LP (Static Shock)

A completely odd and perfectly offensive punk album from the band known as Heavy Metal. There isn't a whole lot out there to learn about the two-piece band hailing from Berlin, Germany, save for BandCamp with a link to buy the album. The internet yields no other information on Heavy Metal, and the album's "lyric sheet" is just a piece of construction paper that reads "ANTI LYRIC SHEET." Probably the best punk record I've heard this year.

Merchandise — A Corpse Wired for Sound (4AD)

Merchandise fans knew a change in the band's sound was probably coming after the Florida boys signed to indie label titan 4AD. Their first offering for the label — After the End — was met with mixed reviews, and critics wondered if the band had lost their ability to make behemoth post-punk ballads with budget recording equipment.

The band didn't really answer the questions posed following the release of After the End and instead made an album featuring some of their most moody and vulnerable songs to date. It's been fun watching Merchandise grow into their new label as they challenge the songwriting that made them a great band in the first place, and here's hoping the quartet will finally come to Memphis after skipping us over for both Birmingham and Oxford on past tours. What's up with that?

The Fall — Bingo-Master's Break-Out! (Superior Viaduct)

I tried not to mention a reissue in this list, but not including the debut single from The Fall would just be irresponsible. Mark E. Smith is still making music as The Fall (occasionally with Tim Presley), but this three-song attack is arguably one of the best punk singles of all time and definitely some of the band's best work. This was technically a Record Store Day release — the original came out in 1978 — but there are still copies of the reissue floating around. The Fall's discography can be a daunting collection to try and tackle, so why not start at the very beginning?

Rixe — Les Nerfs a Vif (La Vida Es En Mus)

The Oi! sub-genre of punk can be a little tricky to master, and more often than not, bands that attempt the classic British sound miss the mark. That rule doesn't apply to Rixe, whom I had the pleasure of watching in Los Angeles this summer before quickly buying all of the merchandise they had to offer. Rixe's 2016 EP, Les Nerfs a Vif, is like taking a trip back in time, and opening track "Hexagone" is an instant classic.

Omni — Deluxe (Trouble in Mind)

Omni's Deluxe wins surprise album of the year. The perfect summer record from a band that literally seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. If you dig around hard enough, you can find an Omni feature on the Flyer website written by yours truly.

Cheena — Spend the Night With ... (Sacred Bones)

Cheena had all the hype a new band could ask for prior to the release of their debut album, but critics were quick to call the band all sorts of things that they weren't. Sure, members of Cheena have played in some of the biggest bands to come out of New York City's underground rock scene of the last five or so years, but Cheena deserves to be looked at as its own project. From that vantage point, Spend the Night With ... is one of the most interesting and complex albums of the year. Also, any band that can get Daniel Stewart (Total Control, UV Race, Distort) to write a press release deserves a spot on a year-end list.

Exploded View — Exploded View (Sacred Bones)

This record sounds like if the Velvet Underground and Isolation Ward shared a practice space, got their scheduling dates mixed up, and decided to create a family band. Exploded View's debut LP weaves so many genres together so seamlessly that you can't help but wonder what the record collections of the band members of Exploded View have to offer.

Albums like these are why we yearn for new music in the first place. Exploded View takes the listener on a journey through both familiar and unfamiliar territory, accessing different emotions in the process. Essential listening in 2016, and mindblowing with each and every listen.

Ultimate painting at Bar DKDC
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This Wednesday night, Ultimate Painting will return to Memphis for a performance at Bar DKDC. Attendees of Goner Fest 12 might remember Ultimate Painting as one of the more mellow acts of the three-day festival, as their music relies more on the sounds created by the Grateful Dead than GG Allin. This is the band's sixth U.S. tour since forming in 2014, a pretty remarkable feat for a group signed to a small but formidable label like Chicago's Trouble in Mind. Ultimate Painting is the project of Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare, who you might recognize from the band Veronica Falls. And while these projects hail from the "chill" side of garage rock, Ultimate Painting take that vibe to the next level, making Bar DKDC probably the perfect venue for this weekday gig.

Also on the bill are EZTV from New York City. Signed to indie label Captured Tracks (Mac DeMarco, DIIV, Blouse), EZTV have somewhat of an early Big Star vibe, meaning they sound about how you'd expect them to as members of the New York indie-pop revival that Captured Tracks has been at the forefront of for quite some time. The band has been on the road since releasing their sophomore album, High in Place, first touring with Jenny Lewis before a string of dates with Real Estate and a short European tour with Merchandise.

Wednesday night's booking marks a change in what has long been a locals-only affair at Bar DKDC, save for a few touring acts like Useless Eaters, The World, and Thelma and the Sleaze. Taking that into consideration, it may be wise to inquire about advance tickets at Goner Records before the show.

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