All Around Records

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Big Stir Singles: The Second Wave
Big Stir Records

I always did love college rock and power pop, but didn’t know much about modern pop/rock bands. These Big Stir compilations give me the opportunity to learn and explore.

Modern pop/rock is the normal side of that spectrum: ordinary people making punk, post-punk, and retro songs about normal problems. In the case of this album, which leans heavily toward jangle pop, it means mostly sad, angry, even bitter love songs. The two that aren’t, are The Living Dolls with “Everything That Happened,” about romantic confusion, and In Deed with “Don’t Need, Don’t Care,” a happy love song. But the best of the love songs, a feminist one about loving yourself, is In Deed’s “Marry Myself.” The singer doesn’t need men to love, just herself.

The really happy songs are the ones about life, such as the Kariannes with “This Is a Cure,” and politics. The political songs, mostly about class, shine the most. "Anytown" by Joe Normal And The Anytown’rs is a working class hero anthem that soars, and calls for revolution.

I hear Big Stir already has Vol 5 of this series in the works. I eagerly await it. In the meantime, stay tuned for my upcoming review of The First Wave.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, February 16, 2020

40-19s

The Forty Nineteens
Tell Me/It's For Fun (That's All We're Living For)
Big Stir Records

On their first single, this new band mixes some country, soul, rockabilly, and folk into their garage rock songs about love and life.

John Pozza from The Leonards sings, Matt Colleran and Chuck Gorian play guitar, Nick Zeigler plays drums, and Kevin Barber plays bass. Colleran and Zeigler were in the unjustly forgotten Mary’s Danish, and the overall sound does resemble that band in the way various types of  music blend.

This single follows up 2017’s "Good Fortune" album, which is a good one indeed. I like the blend, and I’m told there will be more, so keep an ear out for them.

Andrea Weiss

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Rockinghams

The Rockinghams
Makin’ Bacon
Precedent Records

The Rockinghams were another band Jim Basnight led, and a great one. These songs, recorded from 1994-98, are loud, fast, and punky, just the way I like power pop or modern pop/rock.

Lyrically they are mostly about relationships, with some exceptions. “I Need A Car” is about not having one, or anything. In “Ho Chi Minh” everyone rocks in Vietnam, or Asia. “Rock and Roll Cowboy” is about being an outlaw, not riding the range.

All in all, it's a very cool album. I wish it, and more music like this, would hit big. It’s too good not to.
Andrea weiss

Monday, January 27, 2020

AB

Anton Barbeau
Kenny Vs. Thrust
Big Stir Records

This very good psychedelic pop album reminds me of Robyn Hitchcock at his best, with some differences.

As much as I like Hitchcock, a little whimsy goes a long way with me and I’ll put on Anton when I don’t want as much. I like that he’s a bit more grounded in reality, and songs like “Jingle Jangle” and “Mahjong Dijon” have a sweetness that makes the album a joy to listen to.

I don’t want to do the OK Boomer thing, but this album presents a type of music that really isn’t heard much anymore and should be. It’s that good, that fun, and that rewarding.

Andrea Weiss

Monday, January 20, 2020

Jim Basnight Thing

The Jim Basnight Thing
The Jim Basnight Thing
Precedent Records

On this album of acoustic, almost folk based songs, Basnight expands his sound to include the softer side of pop rock, flavored at times with jazz, blues, or country.

These songs are for adults, about adult relationships, including, on “Happy Birthday,” a difficult relationship with one’s son. The romantic songs have a lot of meaning, with people torn between love and being themselves, such as “No More War.”

It’s a very likable album and rewards repeated listening, revealing more subtlety, nuance, and insight each time.

Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

CP & THS

                                        
Rock, Thrash, and Country: An Interview with Carol Pacey
I first heard of Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers from Big Stir Singles: The Fourth Wave. "Crumb," their A-Side, is a great original, but their Violent Femme’s cover needs to be heard. I also know Dramarama’s "Anything Anything" well. I’d love to hear a woman sing it.
Ms. Pacey was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Andrea Weiss: How did the band form?
Carol Pacey: We found each other on the world wide web via Craigslist! I had been a solo artist for a time with a few rotating players, and then by chance I found Andy Borunda online in 2011. Since then we have had several drummers and bass players, but our current drummer, Benno DeLuca, has been with the band since 2012, and our newest member is our bass player, Will Gantry, who has been with us since 2018. And both we found online!

AW: What are your influences?
CP: My influences are singers with strong vocals like Aretha Franklin, Karen Carpenter, Celine Dion, Patsy Cline, Whitney Houston, and on and on with females. Males include Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Josh Groban, and on and on too. Often strong vocals are strongly tied with great songs and then it is just win-win!

AW: I like the way the album starts out rocking and then mellows at the end. Is there a particular reason you chose to order the tracks that way?
CP: Thank you. I love to get the listener’s attention right away on our records with early rocking tunes so there is no confusion about what this band can do! This current album was our first with ballads, of sorts, and they flowed beautifully at the end of the album. On our records, I like to end with a song that is upbeat and "Somewhere Beautiful," while mellow, is upbeat in nature and won the ending spot.

AW: How did the Big Stir single come about?
CP: We met California band the Armoires, whose members Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome own Big Stir Records, through International Pop Overthrow Music Festival several years ago. Then last year our band traveled to Burbank, CA to perform with the Armoires and while we were there, I asked Christina about releasing a single with their record company. She and Rex agreed, and it has been the best experience!

AW: The Violent Femmes cover is amazing, with great feminist and gun control messages. What was the process behind that?
CP: Thank you again! I love, love, love the Violent Femmes and one day at band practice we were trying out new cover songs, seeing which ones worked out best for everybody. "Add It Up" hit the mark! We started playing it at our live shows and fans loved it, so we had to put it on the album. When we added horns by our musical dynamo friend, Danny Torgersen, the song went off the charts in fun! This is our second album with a cover song, with Dramarama’s "Anything Anything (I’ll Give You)" on our second album, Eyes on the Prize.

AW: I like your message of love and peace on some of the songs. Do you have any advice for getting through hard times?
CP: Oh goodness, that’s a tough one as everybody’s struggles are different. I try to be positive, but some days it is just impossible. On those days, I let myself be however I am feeling without punishment. If I can’t move off the couch, I can’t move off the couch. If I want to cry, I cry. I know at some point sooner than later I will pick myself up and move forward again and this usually involves doing things for other people if I am sad and cleaning house or yardwork when I am mad. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish on ill feelings!

AW: I like your and Andy’s guitar playing. Is there ever a switch and you play electric and he plays acoustic?
CP: I am not worthy of playing an electric guitar; I need more skill! I will every now and then pick up Andy’s Les Paul to strum a chord then tease him that someday I’ll be better than him; he just smirks at me. We do play out as an acoustic duo and Andy is just as amazing on an acoustic guitar as he is on electric.

AW: Is there anyone you’d like to work with?
CP: There are quite a few musical acts that I would like our band to open for, particularly Frank Turner. He really inspired what I wanted to do but wasn’t quite there yet. Frank has toured through Arizona several times and almost every time I have asked to open…one of these days!

AW: Any advice for those just starting?
CP: Yes, just do it! Don’t get overwhelmed with what you don’t know, but rather focus on what you do know. Over time, with emphasis on time, you’ll figure it out!

Andrea Weiss

Monday, January 13, 2020

Top ten

Your Heart Breaks - Drone Butch Blues

The New Porngraphers In the Morse Code of Brake lights/3X4  (Classic Paisley Underground bands cover each other's songs)

Big Stir singles comps vol 3&4 (tided)

Jim Basnight Not Changing 

Muffs No Holiday 

The Armoires Zibaldone

Mark Lanegan Band Somebody’s Knocking

Carol Pacey and the Honeyshakers Bliss

Mavis Staples We get By/Josh Ritter Fever breaks (tied)


Jade Bird S/T

Andrea Weiss

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