Do you like the Sixties Rock? I sure do. That is is why The Grip Weeds are one of my favorite local bands. Not only do they freely worship The Beatles, but they also pay homage to the sound of many of the greatest bands of both the Psychedelic era and the British Invasion. Oh my, they are so groovy. This week’s featured clip is a new cut from the band: a cover of the Nuggets classic, “Lies”, which was recorded for the album My Hometown: A Tribute To NJ. My Home Town is a new compilation CD which features an amazing collection of bands covering the greatest rock ‘n roll songs to come out of the Garden State. Vocals on “Lies” are handled by Grip Weeds‘ drummer Kurt Reil. He is so handsome! All proceeds, after production costs, will be donated to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund (Click Here). Enjoy the clip!
As the past is reinvented to serve present needs, modern pop music continues to suffer from an absence of historical revisionism dating back farther than last Tuesday. It’s not such a mystery why anyone over the age of 17 (wait, make that ‘anyone with taste,’ which is not always a given) would probably rather listen to music from 20, 30 or even 40 years ago than anything currently stagnating on “the charts” – which haven’t been interesting or relevant since you were an egg. That’s why it’s so refreshing to be able to moderate my regular listening sessions of Love’s Forever Changes and Mania, the lone album by Australia’s The Lucy Show (remember them?) with liberal doses of New Jersey’s best, not-well-known-enough band, The Grip Weeds. A rocking quartet comprised of brothers Kurt and Rick Reil (drums and guitar respectively), lead guitarist Kristin Pinell and bassist Michael Kelly, The Grip Weeds play psychedelic garage rock in the vein of classic sixties icons such as Love and The Byrds, while one-upping modern genre revivalists like The Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and The Smithereens. And, lucky you, they have newly released a double CD called Strange Change Machine, which is crammed with awesome songs to make your head spin and your heart skip a beat.
A double disc release is a rare thing these days, especially one as strong as Strange Change Machine, which contains a stellar selection of 24 tracks – all but one original compositions! We’re talking all-killer-no-filler here: a phrase I don’t think I’ve used since Queen was putting out new albums. The lone cover, a faithful interpretation of Todd Rundgren’s classic “Hello, It’s Me” adds a layer of lushness while maintaining the original’s understated, bittersweet melancholy. I was fortunate to catch a live gig by the Weeds a couple of weeks ago on the Friday that also happened to be the birthday of Sir Paul McCartney and they totally kicked ass. I know I’ve already declared MGMT’s Congratulations to be the best album of the year, but I’ll readily add now that Strange Change Machine is riding that CD’s coattails for how much it is loved and enjoyed by me. Making for excellent summer listening, I strongly recommend adding this gem to your collection as soon as possible. Strange Change Machine is available from iTunes and for download or purchase at Amazon Dot Com.
Kurt Reil, Far Left
“It was great to talk to Gail. I felt like I was having a conversation with an old friend, not a journalist I’ve never met; she put me at ease to open up and maybe say things I wouldn’t normally say to a writer who was not nearly as clued in. There is always the danger that what you said can be misrepresented or used in a way that you did not expect or intend, but I had a sense that Gail was ultimately trustworthy, which she earned in her obvious appreciation and understanding of music. Somehow, she managed to distill a lengthy, 90 minute interview into a tightly focused profile that I am very proud of. Let’s talk again soon, Gail!”
Modern Drummer’s action-packed Apil issue (pictured above with Levon Helm and Steve Jordan on the cover) features my updates with drummers Kurt Reil of the Grip Weeds and Ryan Hoyle of Collective Soul and Paul Rodgers. Out to subscribers this week, on Newsstands March 3rd!