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Issue 55 Cover - May, 2011 - Innocent Words
 
Interviews & Features Minimize
Before he was considered a legend, before all the tall tales were told and before his songs were covered by such rock luminaries as Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, (and countless others) Robert Johnson was just a dirt poor black kid trying to make his way in the blues scene of the infamous Mississippi Delta.
Born Robert Leroy Johnson on May 8, 1911, in Hazlehurst, Miss., Johnson would have been 100 years old this year. Not only is the bluesman legendary, but he is also a mythical figure. At the age of 27, Johson died on August 16, 1938 in Greenwood, Miss., and left behind ...
Not one to sit around and watch the rust take over, Riverboat Gamblers’ guitarist Ian MacDogall decided to fill take advantage of his band’s brief time off to start a side project. Calling up his buddies Pat Lillard (who used to play bass in the RBG) and drummer Rich Cali, the trio christened themselves Broken Gold and decide to put out a record so impressive The Replacements might be tempted to ...
Two friends pack up their guitars and head west for Los Angeles and end up in San Fransico … yeah, it sounds like an intro to a joke or even a cliché story, but that’s exactly what happened for former Springfield, Ill., natives Jen Black and Aja Blue. The two guitarists/singers have been ...
A punk band hanging for 25 years is not the norm in the music industry, but then again, when you are The Dwarves, you’ve never done anything by the book. Once called "the most bizarre and misunderstood punk rock band of all time," the Dawrves are about to celebrate their silver anniversary by ...
There are few things more punk rock than taking the stage armed with a lap harp and a washboard. Bluegrass influences aside, Los Angeles-based Old Man Markley are the spirit of all things punk rock. A few more bands like Old Man Markley, and we may finally rid punk rock of that awful association it has with ...
When Pearl Jam said 2011 was going to be a big year for them in celebrating their 20 anniversary as a band, they weren’t kidding. The year opened with their live record Live on Ten Legs; Jeff Ament and Mike McCready teamed up for the long-awaited supergroup Tres Mts, and frontman Eddie Vedder released his solo ukelele album. And if that wasn’t enough Pearl Jam to put in your iPods or on your CD shelves, the band recently released ...
Let’s hop in our way-back machine and set the dial for 1990. A punk rock group has formed in the suburbs of Chicago and makes quite an impact on the basement/garage circuit. The following year, brothers Josh (vocals/guitar) and Matt (bass) Caterer regroup under the name Smoking Popes and, after recruiting their younger brother Eli as a second guitarist, set their sights on ...
Thousands of new bands form every year, each for their own reasons. Some bands begin hoping to grab the proverbial brass ring of fame, fortune, and an endless supply of women; some do it dreaming of a career so successful that the ...
The seeds for Tres Mts were planted over 20 years ago in 1989 when Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament (then in Mother Love Bone) saw King’s X play live at Central Tavern in Seattle. King’s X was on tour supporting their breakout album ...

Once More With Feeling Minimize
On May 10, 1963, Brandeis University hosted a concert by an up and coming singer-songwriter named Bob Dylan and charged the princely sum of $4.40 for the pleasure. A gentleman by the name of Ralph Gleason was there and recorded the concert. Gleason later went on to be ...
Arguably one of the best blues rock guitar players of the late 1980s and 1990s, Jeff Healey was unique in every since of the word. However, what made him famous was also what held him back. Born Norman Jeffrey Healey on March 25, 1966 in Toront, Ontario Canada, Healey was adopted and had ...
One of the icons of the progressive rock genre, Marillion has been at the forefront of the UK prog scene since its beginnings in the early 80s. With 30 years of material, the well-loved band took a risk in 2009 and reworked several of their fan favorites into ...
Sure he bit the head off a bat... and a dove, (like we haven’t all done that) and he wrote a song called “Suicide Solution” (lyrically, amazingly tame by today’s standards for controversy), but did Ozzy Osbourne’s first couple of solo record really deserve so much ...
Originally released in 1960 on RCA Victor Records, Elvis is Back! marked the return of Elvis Presley after his discharge from the Army. The album was Presely first of all new material In several years. It found the king of rock ‘n’ roll spreading himself to a large audience by ...

Book Reviews Minimize
“Day of the Oprichnik” is a story of exactly that, a day in the life, work and word of Oprichnik Andrei “Komiaga” Danilovich. We follow Andrei from waking to sleep. An Oprichnik’s day goes well beyond eight hours, and takes him all over Russia. His duties range from arson, execution and rape to State mandated visits to ...
The 90’s were a bad time for books by comedians. Apparently you were handed a publishing contact as soon as one of the networks picked up your sitcom, which explained such dreadful books that lined the clearance table by folks like ...
Sammy Hagar may have miscalculated a bit if he was looking to bolster his aw shucks good guy reputation with his just-released memoir. Before the book came out he was pretty much a clean slate, with many having little or no opinion about the red rocker. Sure he got dinged a bit for stepping into David Lee Roth’s shoes, but contrary to popular belief, he was ...
Patton Oswalt may be best known as a ribald comic, a gifted pop culture snark artist and as a gloriously unabashed nerd, but his debut novel, “Zombie Spaceship Wasteland,” delves deeper into his unique Otaku zeitgeist and offers a skewed, stained-glass view of his ...

Movie and DVD Reviews Minimize
Though often ignored in discussion about west coast punk rock, the Meat Puppets, the Minutemen, Redd Kross and to a lesser extent, Twisted Roots, all played a defining role in the LA, mid-80’s punk scene.
Ian Fraser Kilmister has been a staple on the rock music scene since the early 60s. He roadied for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and kicked around England waiting to make his mark; which came in the early 70s as bassist/sometime vocalist with ...
As co-creator and writer of the critically-adored series The Wire, any show David Simon created next would be compared harshly to his last one. Comparisons aside, the post-Katrina New Orleans set series Treme is quite simply ...
A show like “The Venture Bros.” could only exist on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Equally as impressive as anything the channel has turned out before from Aqua Teen Hunger Force to Metalocalypse, The Venture Bros. centers around the ...
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” proved zombie tales were not strictly relegated to cinemas where language, gore, and graphic content are not issues. Instead of blood-splattered violence, the show– which was based on writer Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel of the same name– crafted its characters methodically. The zombie apocalypse ultimately takes a ...

Table of Contents

Issue 55 / May 2011
Features: Big Head Todd, Broken Gold, Bruises, Dwarves, Old Man Markley, Pearl Jam, Smoking Popes, Stuck on a Bus, Tres Mts
Album Reviews: Nicole Atkins, Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears, The Bruises, Exene Cervenka, Chixdiggit, Edwyn Collins, The Dears, Destroyer, The Dropkick Murphys, Riley Etheridge Jr., The Head and the Heart, La Resistance, David Lowery, J Mascis, Obits, Rasputina, R.E.M., Rivals Schools, Sic Alps, The Smithereens, Smoking Popes, The Sounds, The Strokes, Tahiti 80, Tres Mts, We Creeling, Way Yes, The Witches, Wolf Ram Heart, Various Artists: Sin-Atra

Book Reviews: Day of the Oprichnik: A Novel, Mr. Funny Pants, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
DVD Reviews: History Lesson Part 1: Punk Rock in Los Angeles in 1984, Lemmy 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son of a Bitch, Treme: The Complete First Season, The Venture Bros: Season 4, Vol. 2, The Walking Dead: Season One
Rereleases: Bob Dylan, The Jeff Healey Band, Marillion, Ozzy Osbourne, Elvis Presley

Album Reviews Minimize
Five years seems like a long time to wait nowadays for a new record, when any laptop can be converted into a portable recording studio, but Nicole Atkins gets a pass.
There are so many elements to the sound of Austin-based Black Joe Lewis and The Honey Bears that make up what they describe as “garage soul,” but the main ingredient is pure unadulterated fun.
Always up for a good cold beer or a glass of wine and good food, The Bruises co-founders Jen Black and Aja Blue have the uncanny ability to make power pop songs that will get your ass shaking.
I don’t often use the term “lovely” … in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever used that particular descriptor. However, I’m at a loss for any other way to reference the latest album from Exene Cervenka.
It would seem that the most common song subject in the world of music are loven. Very few musicians stray from the accepted formula, either writing about their own deep-rooted, internal passions or those feelings they have toward an element of the world around them.
Edwyn Collins has succeeded in his musical career by always being slightly out of step with contemporary pop music.
Oh, dear. Degeneration Street is an awful lot of music to absorb at 14 tracks and one hour in duration.
Dan Bejar is a man of sardonic wit with a knack for weaving dreamy, ethereal, and textured soundscapes.
Let’s face it, if the Dropkick Murphys were to ever alter their sound, their fans would be pissed. And honestly, that is a drastic measure the band doesn’t have to resort to.
Riley Etheridge, Jr., is a smart fellow from South Carolina who moved to the big city armed with dreams and ambition to make good with his guitar and some fine thinking-man’s country songs.
With the re-release of their eponymous debut album on Sub Pop, The Head and the Heart are destined to gather the attention this power folk sextet richly deserves.
Sounding like a mix between Interpol and a less interesting (if that’s possible) version of The Killers, Birmingham, Alabama’s (yup, that Birmingham) La Resistance prove that no one is safe from dance-lite synth music.
What do you call a musician who takes 20 years to put out his first solo CD? David Lowery.
J Mascis, an elder statesman of the indie rock community, has had a prominent impact on rock ‘n’ roll for over 25 years.
Obits are accomplished indie rock veterans from previous rock groups such as Drive Like Jehu, Edsel, Hot Snakes, and Pitchfork.
The prolific artists are usually those that sneak up and surprise us with the many ways they can turn a tune into something new and unusual.
I’m always skeptical when a band proclaims their latest album to be their “best in 20 years” or as a return to their “classic sound.”
We have all heard the saying “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” a saying that aptly could be used to describe the scene’s relationship with New York’s Rival Schools.
On first glance, Sic Alps’ 22 tracks on Napa Asylum may feel like a lot to take in for just one album.
Long live The Smithereens! For nearly 30 years, fans of ‘50s-based power pop have appreciated the talent of the New Jersey quartet.
Character-based concept albums are not new. Many groups have done it successfully over the last five decades, dating back to 1969 and The Who’s Tommy – the album credited as being “the first.”
For those who thought 2009’s Crossing the Rubicon was something of a precursor to the Sounds landmark album, Something to Die For is not that album.
With the release of their highly anticipated fourth album, as well as their first effort after a “much needed hiatus” that gave band members space to explore their own solo careers, it was hard to fight the fear that Angles would be a reflection of clashing egos and cursory song writing to appease their fan base.
It must suck to be a French indie pop band from Paris, as every media outlet tends to want to compare you to Phoenix.
A decade in the making, Tres Mts’ Three Mountains comes off just as it was intended: three friends getting together for the fun of it to see what comes out of jamming together.
Imagine that you’ve been invited to a party. The invitation looks intriguing: maybe it boasts a palette of vibrant colors that immediately grab your attention, or perhaps the scrawl that tells you the details of the party is eye-catching.
With the release of their second EP, Walkability, on December 17, 2010, Ohio natives Way Yes created a five-track album reminiscent of a Caribbean island scratch band.
With a major jones for 1960s-era psychedelic garage rock, Detroit-based band The Witches comfortably flew under the radar for a decade before calling it a day.
Mellow, smooth vocals blend easily into an almost dreamy backdrop of music that serves as the overall theme for Ohio-based Wolf Ram Heart’s new album.
Remembering those times when you’d sit alone in your room or maybe at a club with your buddies wondering what would Frank Sinatra sound like if he went metal?

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