Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mod Revival! The Best Bands

        I've always been....conflicted with the Mod Revival of the late 70's and 80's. It seems like a mob mentality and conformist ideals overtook what is supposed to be a culture of individuals who try vigorously to stand out in the crowd. All it took to be a Mod was an M-51 Parka and a Keith Moon target shirt, but that was just one part of a very large scene, in which many followed the original Mod ideals and added to the culture as a whole. And its understandable at the time that Mod would evolve into the more basic Mod Revival, due to the chaotic youth tribes that were running about England at the time, Rockers, Skinheads, Soulies, New Romantics, Casuals! It was madness, but the Mods second wave proved to be a great time for a new wave of ideas,style, and music. Below is a list of my five favorite Mod Revival bands and my opinions on their music and their effect on the scene.

 Secret Affair

The Glory Boys hold a very special spot in the Mod Revival era, usually considered second to The Jam in terms of sheer popularity and their presence on the scene. I also hold them in high regard for their clothing choices, usually not to explosive, as some as their contemporaries tended to be. And in terms of sound they tend to lean closer to the Soulful roots of Modernism, especially evident in their disgustingly catchy cover of "Going to A Go-Go" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. But admittedly my favorite tune is their fan favorite "Time for Action", a great "Mod Anthem" that really does capture that feeling you get being the best dressed, and all the looks you get, bad or good. 

The Purple Hearts

Getting to the more Punky side of the Mod revival while also keeping that chart friendly appeal of Power Pop, we have the Purple Hearts. With their name being an homage to a favorite Mod pill, The Purple Hearts captured the anger of the Mod Revival with hard hitting lyrics and raw chords and rhythm. Their biggest hit, "Millions Like Us", is another one of the big "Mod Anthems", but I personally prefer their single "Jimmy", named after the protagonist of The Who's "Quadrophenia". If you're a fan i'd personally suggest their compilation "Smashing Time" from Detour Records

The Lambrettas 

Perhaps the most "Pop-y" of the Revivalists, the Lambrettas provided accessible and catchy songs that stood out among the more hard hitting Chords and Hearts. Their biggest hit was a cover of "Poison Ivy" by Leiber and Stroller which reached #7 in the British Charts. Another great song of theirs is "D-a-a-ance", released as a single in 1980 and reached #12. Though perhaps their greatest accomplishment is Jez Bird's ability to almost pull off a bright red suit on Top of the Pops! 

The Chords

Sporting in my opinion the best cover of a soul song by any of the Mod Revivalists, The Chords brought a raw punk attack to a wide variety of styles. Their album "So Far Away" sports amazing originals like "Breaks My Heart" and covers ranging from The Beatles to Sam and Dave. "So Far Away" is my favorite LP from the era, and the Chords stand as my second favorite group of the Revivalists. Their biggest hit was "Maybe Tomorrow" which reached the top 40 in the U.K., and features one of the best ending lines in music history,
"Bang! Bang! You're Dead!"

The Jam

The true catalysts of the explosion that was Mod Revival, Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, and Rick Buckler formed the hit trio "The Jam". Not  held down completely by the "Mod Revival" genre, the Jam were by far the most diverse and artistically dynamic of the Mod/Punk groups. From "In the City" to "The Gift" the Jam brought Mod to the mainstream, for better or worse. My personal favorite track of theirs is "Down In the Tube Station at Midnight" with its intimidating rhythm and beautiful lyrics, but i think it'd be easier to list the (very few) songs I dislike. Simply an amazing band; and, to me, the best "Revival" band by far. 

Hope everyone appreciates the list and be sure to share your opinions!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Album Review: "Victim of Love" by Charles "Screaming Eagle" Bradley

Following tremendous success with his debut album "No Time for Dreaming" in 2011, The "Screaming Eagle of Soul" has once again struck gold with 2013's "Victim of Love". The story of Bradley is somber yet inspirational, and this is beautifully reflected in his music with songs like "Where Do We Go from Here?" and "Through the Storm" showing his incredibly soulful and sensitive approach. But Soulful serenades are only one essence of the album. "You Put the Flame On It" takes the standard love song and adds some heart and funk making a song that's hard not to get up and groove too. And "Love Bug Blues" provides a foot stomping strut song for anyone that is in a... "Passionate" state of mind. I was amazed at the pure variety of the album and the many styles Bradley incorporates, and I've constantly been catching myself going back to it again and again. I'm proud to say this Soul Savage is a native of New York and I can't wait to see what he has cooking up next. But until then, do yourself a favor and buy this record!

Bradley will be appearing at Lincoln Center for a free concert outdoors on the 10th of August, and will be performing alongside fellow soul powerhouses St.Paul & The Broken Bones, Bobby Patterson, and The Music Maker Blues Review. I'll be there, will you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beat from the Isle of Green: The Strypes

Ever wanted to know what it would sound like if you set your "Five Live Yardbirds" LP to 45 rpm? Well that would be The Strypes, Ireland's hit R&B/Pub Rock band who have been taking the world by storm. Starting with their self produced E.P. "Young, Gifted & Blue" featuring covers of "You Can't Judge A Book By the Cover" by Bo Diddley, "Got Love If You Want It" by Slim Harpo, "I Wish You Would" by Billy Boy Arnold, and "Leavin' Here" by Eddie Holland, the foursome blast new life into these toe tappin' classics with youthful ire. 

They then went on to release a debut LP "Snapshot" featuring mainly original work, my personal favorite being "Blue Collar Jane". With a more mature sound it sounds like only good can come for these guys, especially with their plans to release another 4 track E.P. titled "4 Track Mind", feat. a cover of The Ramones "Rockaway Beach" and a track produced by the Modfather himself.

"My only complaint? Shaggy Haircuts!"
They've gotten a lot of press for their age, but I don't consider that a factor. Talent is talent and these boys have got plenty. They did their rounds in the states and I unfortunately missed them, and I'm still kicking myself. Their hitting the East Coast again August 19th in D.C., but they are unfortunately skipping over the Empire State! But I might make a trek to Philly just to see them, and I'd suggest you try to see them live as well. All in all they are a great group and I can't wait to see what they do in the future. Hopefully it involves a trip to NYC!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Originator: Bo Diddley

Few people have had such an outstanding impact on popular music as Ellas Otha Bates, or more commonly known as "Bo Diddley". With his ridiculously simple yet amazingly catchy and infectious rhythm, he was able to influence almost every single artist that followed. If you enjoy music, listen to this man. And I mean really, how can you not love a guy when half of the songs in his entire discography have his name in it!?

"A Guide to New York for Mods" by Modculture.co.uk

Modculture, a wonderful site for the latest news and articles on the Mod scene, has a wonderful article written with the help of Derek Davidson from the Brooklyn Garage band The Electric Mess, which gives a helpful and comprehensive list of various stores, venues, and events that any mod visiting or residing in New York City can appreciate. It's definitely worth a read.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Above: Brooklyn's R&B/Garage Sensations

Few bands have really hooked me like these guys have. After one listen to the fantastic "My Love" from 2012 I bought all 3 of their 7"'s right then and there, and what a good decision! A lot of bands try too hard to sound exactly like their 60's counterparts, but the Above have successfully dug out their own distinctive style that is as infectious as any other classic garage band. They have released two albums as of now, a self titled and the new "Waterbury Street". They recently appeared on "The Face", a Mod and Soul internet radio station on BBOX Radio Brooklyn, and provided a hilarious banter with Kurtis Powers, a prominent DJ in the Brooklyn Mod Scene. The songs showcased from their new album on the show are wonderful and you can check them out on the bands Bandcamp profile or by listening to "The Face" show that features them, which I very much suggest. They recently performed at "The Gutter" on the 11th but are performing at the hip joint Hank's Saloon on August 16th with another fabulous band "Quitty and the Dont's" and "Muck & the Mires" along with "The Stents". Take a listen, but be careful, you might get hooked!

First Post: An Introduction

Hello readers and fellow Mods, Skins, Soulies, Hipsters, Jivers, Ravers, Stylists, Suedes, Greasers, Rockers and whatever else you want to call yourself. I decided on a whim to create this blog after looking through some of the other Mod-related blogs on the internet that seem to be...unkempt, which as we know isn't very Mod like at all. Hopefully it provides an outlet to all people interested in Mod culture, specifically Americans like myself who are interested in the scene, and would like a one stop spot to fuel that passion. As for myself, I am an ardent Modernist (if that makes any sense) and have a passion for Suits, Scooters, Soul and whatever else starts with an S...... the Small Faces! See, it's that easy. Now in the words of Steve Marriott, come on children and indulge in the wonderful world of Mod.

                                             Tamla Motown