Tag Archives: Rock

In Sorority Noise’s Searing Rock, Cam Boucher Grapples With God and Grief

Sorority Noise

Sorority Noise frontman Cam Boucher co-owns a studio in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood on a small street that exists in architectural transition. One side is a massive warehouse; the other is full of row houses. At night, the block is silent. Boucher walks into a nearby metal shop, avoiding equipment to climb the makeshift staircase hidden away on the left wall. The stairs lead to the studio, which he built with Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald and Ian Farmer. Across the hall is a lived-in room where Boucher mixes recordings. “This is hard to talk about,” he sits. “When I’m writing music, I’m not thinking about talking about it. People can be pretty insensitive, like, ‘Now that you’re not suicidal…’ I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but it also makes me really uncomfortable.”

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The Creation’s Eddie Phillips on “Rushmore,” Little Richard, and Being Copied by Oasis

The Creation

Our first introduction to the character of young Max Fischer in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore comes by way of his lengthy extracurricular resume—Stamp & Coin Club, Fencing Team, Trap & Skeet Club, Rushmore Beekeepers, etc etc etc. But just as memorable as Fischer’s list of exploits is the music that scores it: the fuzzed-out 1966 single “Making Time” by the UK group The Creation.

The song, which kicks against the mundanity of working in a clock factory, is cut from the same cloth as equally ecstatic mid ‘60s anthems like The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and The Who’s “My Generation,” and with good reason: all three were produced by Shel Talmy, a Chicago native who spent the meat of the 1960s living in London. In The Creation, Talmy saw a band willing to push the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll, and to explore the use of noise and overdrive in the context of melodically-driven tunes. Where the feedback Talmy added to The Who’s “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” was rejected by Decca Records (they thought there was something wrong with the test pressing), The Creation, led by singer Kenny Pickett and guitarist Eddie Phillips, were more than willing to crank things up to 11. Phillips even ramped up the noise factor by using a violin bow on his electric guitar, a technique that would be hijacked by Jimmy Page a year later when he made his debut as the new member of The Yardbirds and then, more famously, in Led Zeppelin.

Sadly, the band never scored a hit single during their initial run, but a decade after they split up, Boney M.’s Eurodisco version of “Painter Man” finally put The Creation in the UK Top 10. As it turned out, this was only the beginning of a wave of appreciation for the group: The cover art for their single “Biff Bang Pow” can be seen on the inside of The Jam’s classic third LP All Mod Cons, and, in the ‘80s, Alan McGee decided to call his new record label “Creation,” in direct tribute to the group. The label’s earliest signings—the Jesus & Mary Chain, Ride, Swervedriver—all shared The Creation’s signature fondness for noise and distortion.

The scant yet sacred discography The Creation produced during their initial two-year run has been compiled and released a number of times over the course of the last 50 years, but the Numero Group’s new collection Action Painting is by far the most exhaustive anthology to date. A beautifully-packaged, two-disc hardcover box set, Action Painting gathers up all the original singles recorded by the group’s original lineup and pairs them with songs by their first iteration as The Mark Four, as well as newly mixed versions of the group’s most well-known tunes. Like the originals, the remixes were produced by Talmy who, at 79 and legally blind, is still a genuine master of amplified fidelity.

We spoke with Creation guitarist Eddie Phillips about Action Painting, as well as the history of one of the most electrifying, influential, and underrated acts to emerge from the British Invasion.

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Nikki Lane, High-Class Hillbilly

Nikki Lane

Nikki Lane by Jessica Lehrman

Nikki Lane’s East Nashville-based vintage store High Class Hillbilly lives up to its name. The fringed, suede skirt with a faded logo of big-screen cowgirl Dale Evans; the pink, satin pedal pushers, the cropped leather jacket—it’s hard to imagine any of them having been casual Goodwill finds. In fact, there’s very little on the carefully color-coordinated racks that appears less than 40-years-old. Lane has a good eye, and her constant touring gives her an opportunity to scour antique malls and estate sales across the United States.

With Highway Queen, which she produced with Jonathan Tyler, the South Carolina-born mini-mogul is now three albums into crafting her identity as a purveyor of tough-sounding, ‘60s-informed twang-pop that straddles Americana, alt-country, and garage rock. She’s sharpened her songwriting, with its vinegary sweet hooks and often pugnacious posture, and made the most of a husky, drawled delivery whose greatest appeal is its delicious contradiction. It simultaneously feels hard-bitten and girlish.

Reclining on a blue couch in the basement of her store, Lane reassures an assistant, “People can come down here. I’m definitely not boxing out shopping!” The browsing customers don’t distract her in the least from discussing the clear-eyed vision that guides her multi-pronged career.

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Tommy Stinson’s Life of Hustle

Tommy Stinson

“It’s mayhem over here,” Tommy Stinson exclaims breathlessly from his home in Hudson, NY. “I’ve got hand-stuffed boxes of my new Bash & Pop record with cool extra bits for contest winners ready to go out. I’ve got gear going out to the van, and I need to load my guitar. If you could see what the fuck is going on in my house right now…”

In his 50th year, the Replacements bassist—and frontman for cult power pop outfit Bash & Pop—still has the manic energy of a young puppy. He swears like a kid delighted at hearing the words fly from his mouth, and the new Bash & Pop album Anything Could Happen, the insanely belated follow-up to 1993’s Friday Night is Killing Me, pulses with the optimism of youth. Since joining the Replacements at the age of 12 in 1979 at the urging of his brother Bob, who tragically succumbed to the tolls of hard living in 1995, Stinson has been all about the hustle. In between solo records, as if hell-bent on masochism, Stinson shouldered the bass for the notoriously volatile Guns ’N Roses from 1998-2014. Not only did he win over hardcore G’N’R fans, he survived the Wrath of Latter-Day Axl.

On January 12, the new and improved Bash & Pop touring band, featuring lead guitarist Steve “The Sleeve” Selvidge (The Hold Steady), Joe “The Kid” Sirois (Mighty Mighty Bosstones) on drums and Justin “Carl” Perkins on bass guitar, hit the road. With an opening date in his native Minnesota at the legendary 7th St. Entry, things have come full circle for the freshly engaged Stinson.

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The Molochs Make a Virtue of Being Outsiders

The Molochs

Photos by Angela Ratzlaff.

Lucas Fitzsimons and Ryan Foster are used to feeling like outsiders. Growing up in an Argentinian household, Fitzsimons felt different from the other kids at school. Both of them are soft spoken, and neither of them are fond of the social climbing and extraneous noise that characterizes the LA entertainment industry.

That outsider mentality serves as inspiration for the music they create as The Molochs. The duo don’t kowtow to local trends; instead, they keep doing what they’ve been doing for years: making blues-based guitar music rife with lyrical honesty. While the songs have an upbeat musicality, there’s a palpable sense of somberness lurking beneath the grooves.

The band recently signed with Innovative Leisure, a label that hosts a roster of acts including Tijuana Panthers, Nick Waterhouse, De Lux, Classixx and Bad Bad Not Good, and have gone from playing shows at small dive bars to festival slots at Primavera Sound in Barcelona and Noise Pop in San Francisco. They’re also gearing up for tours in the U.S. and Europe.

We spoke with Fitzsimmons about returning to the country of his birth, operating outside the industry, and how a trip to India inspired him.

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