As the lone songwriter for two active bands, Centro-matic and its offshoot South San Gabriel, you would think Will Johnson would have ample musical outlets. After all, Centro-Matic has released 8 albums in its ten-year career, as well as several EPs and 7-inch singles, while South San Gabriel has released two full-lengths since forming in 2003. But Johnson’s abundant song output (somewhere between Ryan Adams and Bob Pollard on the songwriter’s proliferation chart) has necessitated a solo career resulting in two more albums, Murder of Tides and Vultures Await.
Not that any of this has come close to soaking up the hundreds of songs Johnson has written that have never been recorded for a proper release. (He says he records all songs on a four-track as soon as they are finished and then sorts through them for those that best fit his current project.) Johnson’s favorite place to write is a walk-in closet at his mother’s house. When asked why that location seems to be so fruitful, he shrugs and says “it’s kind of like a womb… warm and dark and comfortable.”
A two-part Glorious Noise video feature on New York based singer/songwriter Jesse Malin. Part one details Malin’s musical journey from 80s New York hardcore band Heart Attack to fronting D Generation in the 90s to his current solo career. Includes interview clips and several live performances from an October 2006 solo performance at Schubas in Chicago.
Part two focuses on Jesse’s new album Glitter In The Gutter, out now on Warner imprint Adeline Records, and includes more live performances from that Schubas show.
And now the conclusion of our four-part documentary on Chicago’s the Chamber Strings.
With singer-songwriter Kevin Junior out of the picture, the remaining Strings form their own group, San Tropez, but find they lack the drive and ambition that made the Strings one of Chicago’s fastest rising and critically acclaimed bands of the new millennium. Emerging from addiction and homelessness, Junior makes his way back to Chicago to reassemble his band. Initial rehearsals and writing sessions go well and things seem to be back on track until one particularly tense band disagreement devolves into violence. Despondent and in disarray, Junior slinks off to New Orleans, the perfect choice for a recovering addict!
Chapter three picks up with Chamber Strings front man Kevin Junior suddenly without a band but with a heroin problem. Years spent bouncing from Chicago to Akron, Ohio, to Los Angeles, to Berlin to London take their toll and Junior faces the End. Along the way he passes a cast of characters from homeless poets to Nikki Sudden, in whom he finds a kindered spirit and sometime drug partner.
Hear excerpts of Kevin Junior performing several new, unrecorded Chamber Strings songs.
The second act of a three-part documentary on Chicago’s rock and roll tragedy, the Chamber Strings.
Act Two starts off with the band meeting with producer Thom Monaghan (Pernice Bros.) to record their follow-up, A Month of Sundays, which singer Kevin Junior described as “Dusty in Memphis meets All Things Must Pass.” More touring on the critical success of the album found the band reaching out to new audiences and building a fan base from Chicago to New York to San Francisco to…Boise. The band felt that they were on the verge.
Around the turn of the last century, Chicago singer-songwriter Kevin Junior finally got all that he wanted: a critically acclaimed debut album, sold out shows, and big time label interest. The Chamber Strings were Chicago’s Next Big Thing with a timeless sound, enigmatic front man, and a catalog of the catchiest songs this side of Chrissie Hynde.
As you might guess, things don’t go exactly as planned for Junior and what started months ago with a strange request for a ride back to Chicago from New Orleans ends with the reunited band and another Glorious Noise video feature directed by Whiskey Bender’s John Boston.
Part One of our three-part documentary details the formation of the band and the recording and release of their first album, Gospel Morning.
You’ve already seen our two-part video/interview feature on the Blacks. That mini-doc contained footage from the soundcheck. And because people have been asking for it, we’re now finally bringing some footage from the actual show later that night.
In the video clip post after the jump, see the legendary Chicago band perform “New New Waltzing Blues” and “Fake Out Jesus.” (Also, a couple of bonus videos from the two other bands on the bill, Riviera and Quasar Wut-Wut.)
The Drams, a Texas band composed of former members of Slobberbone and Budapest One, sat down with Glorious Noise in Chicago while touring in support of Jubilee Dive, out now on New West Records.
The video includes an interview with Brent Best (Slobberbone) and Keith Killoren (Budapest One) discussing the formation of the band and the recording of Jubilee Dive, and features live footage from The Drams’ performance at Subterranean in August 2006. The songs performed are “Hummalong,” “You Won’t Forget,” and “Fireflies.”
“We purposely, production-wise, went away from what Slobberbone was known for,” Brent Best told Glorious Noise. “The songs are more melodic, but it was more about doing stuff in the studio that make us grin and go, ‘Oh yeah!’ and kind of going overboard with it. For me what it comes down to is just doing whatever the hell we wanted to that served the song.”
The Drams are heading out on tour this fall with the Drive-By Truckers, and then heading over to Europe. See the dates (and an MP3) after the jump…
GLONO hosts Dirty Pretty Things for a day in Chicago and gives them an authentic tour of the Windy City with vintage clothes shopping in Wicker Park, hotdogs, and a dip in the great Lake Michigan. Oh, and the band put on a hell of a show…
Anthony Rossomando is a skinny fuck topped with a disaster of curls. As the sole American in Dirty Pretty Things (MySpace) he was the cultural translator for the band as they did seven dates in the colonies this summer. Throughout our day together, Rossomondo continually put the quirks and intricacies of American minutia into perspective for his three decidedly British bandmates. He bridged the gulf between what was described by George Bernard Shaw as two countries separated by a common language. Interestingly, he’s also the bridge between the Libertines and the Dirty Pretty Things, despite the fact that TWO original members of the former are also members of the latter.
We caught singer songwriter Tim Easton at what is becoming our go-to venue, Schubas. Determined to get out and see the world, Easton purposely wrote songs he could play alone. As a GLONO exclusive, we have three that cover Politics, Religion and good old clean Entertainment.
They say that no man is an island but sometimes a man needs to break away and indeed be alone. The idea of the wandering troubadour may seem quaint today but thank God there are people out there who still believe in romanticism.
On his fourth album, Ammunition, Tim Easton wandered the world, recording when and where he felt like it. From Joshua Tree, California to Amsterdam and back to Alaska, Easton followed his songs and his heart to write an album with admittedly political leanings, but one he says could be applied to anytime. To deny the weight of current events does not bear influence would be silly though.
“I started out writing political songs,” said Easton. “The news lends itself to wanting to comment.”