Best of 2019: Jeremy Siegrist’s Picks and Thoughts

Hindsight is always 2020

GEA - C21ILLC Final-8Well, here we are, the end of another year is upon us. If you’re like I am, you are fighting to break out of your self-imposed  echo chamber which you have ensconced yourself in and (possibly) you are thoroughly convinced life as you know it is falling apart. Yes, 2019 has been one of “those” years. As we all watch the worlds political systems, economies and climates stretch and strain under the forces that be, it is easy to fall into a state of hopelessness and despair.  For a great many of us, however, the thing that keeps us upright and a productive part of society is an unnatural reliance upon popular music, rock n roll in particular,  and the almost mystical way it seems to be able to make life bearable. Almost like a gigantic connective web covering the world, for those of us who are tuned in, music is the prime mover, the voice of generations, the highest form of expression and ultimately, the reason behind it all. Like legendary Who guitarist Pete Townsend said, “… the elegance of pop music [is] that it [is] reflective: we were holding up a mirror to our audience and reflecting them philosophically and spiritually, rather than just reflecting society or something called ‘rock n roll.’”  Indeed, this is the way it was then when The Who was at the forefront of new music and the way it still is now.

Fortunately for almost everyone,  I am not prone to writing long pieces extemporaneously, but initially and for reasons unknown, I was asked by my friend Art Jipson, (a Dayton Ohio music legend in his own right), to write a small piece on what I have been listening to this past year and write a couple of review lines about each of the artists. Not being someone who routinely turns legends down, I agreed to the project and found that in attempting to put the piece together I was  forced into deep water asking myself why was it exactly I was listening to what I was listening to. Why was I drawn to things I was drawn to and what did they truly mean to me? The truth is, I’m not sure I came up with any solid answers and I definitely did no music reviewing in the process of writing this article, but here are some things I think are worth mentioning.

2019, for all intents and purposes, was a year of great  turmoil in the United States. Social GEA - C21ILLC Final-113upheaval and political division was at an all time high and I have found that with only a few notable exceptions, artists from previous eras have become suddenly and starkly relevant again in a way that has never happened for many of us before. For instance, 2019 saw the release of the album Colorado by Neil Young, which is objectively an amazing piece of artistry and social commentary. Take into evidence the song “Shut It Down” where the venerable Mr. Young sings:

“All around the planet There’s a blindness that just can’t see Have to shut the whole system down They’re all wearing climate change  As cool as they can be”

I was, and am, immediately drawn to this album for reasons other than just being a decidedly die hard and zealous Neil Young fan. There are things afoot which we haven’t dealt with in many years and they are starting to show in the edges of the musical spectrum of rock-n-roll.

The Drive By Truckers, the die hard stalwart hardest working rock band in the business, this year released a single and a teaser for they upcoming album with the titles being respectively, Perilous Night and Armageddon’s Back In Town. My friends, there are things moving, whether you want them to or not, which we have not seen in many years. In Perilous Night, Patterson Hood sings:

“Dumb, white and angry with their cup half filled

Running over people down in Charlottesville

White House Fury, it’s the killing side, he defends

Defend the up-ender, yes he played that tune

it ain’t the ending but it’s coming soon

 

We’re making love beneath a sputnik moon again

White House is glowing from the Red Square light

The gates at the border being slammed down tight

We’re moving into the perilous night, my friend” 

These are heady and potentially dangerous times, and Rock N Roll, maybe even all of pop music, is standing in the gap ice again ready to take up the cause. Yes, there were many albums released this year and singles which have absolutely nothing to do with the general climate in the world, for instance (and I am showing my age here) Juliana Hatfield, and Swervedriver both released albums this past year. However, I find myself continually drawn back to music which is speaking to our times, even when those times are from years which have seemingly passed out of relevance.

Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Drive By Truckers are all in my rotation on a constant basis now because they are in the process of capturing a point in time for me. I need to post a disclaimer for everyone who has made it this far in the article. I am not living some sort of 60’s battle reenactment; (This is a line from a Frank Turner song, if you don’t know him you should look him up). I am suddenly and very acutely aware at this point in history we, in this country, and on this planet, are watching huge tectonic plates grinding and moving against one another in a way that has not been seen in many many moons. Put your antenna up friends, the truth is out there and it’s starting to be sung about out on the fringes.

Ultimately, however, and when I finally pull my mind away from the morass of the public spectacle in front of us, I gravitate back towards the people and places I love and am familiar with. For instance, local bands Like Seth Canan and The Carriers, The Boxcar Suite and the 1984 Draft.  Artists like Charlie Jackson and Amber Hartgett, and really everything Patrick Himes touches, are always somewhere in my headspace leaving sonic trails through the synapses. I miss Tom Petty more and more every day and wish I could let it all go again but did you hear? Rage Against the Machine is coming back for one more go. Coincidence? I suspect as we roll into the next year we will see an even greater resurgence of politically and socially charged music and lyrics and I for one think it is long overdue. In this case, hindsight is truly 2020.

JeremyJeremy Siegrist describes himself as “a no one, from no where, in a small band in Ohio called The Typical Johnsons, who are making as much noise is as humanly possible from his low low vantage point.”  https://twitter.com/TypicalJohnsons @TypicalJohnsons Typical Johnsons Fan Club & Website Their latest song ‘Wreckage’ is available on all platforms. We recommend checking out The Typical Johnsons’ page on bandcamp

Indie Rock Cinco De Mayo Fiesta 2019

The 2nd Annual “Indie Rock Fest/Cinco De Mayo Fiesta” was amazing this year and the line up was simply fantastic. While a day before the Cinco, it was a show full of good vibes, great music and a heck of a party. To call it jam packed really does not cover all of the musical goodness from the local community packed under one roof! Bands covered Americana, shoe gaze, rock and Indie Rock and Roll. Many thanks to the bands who played — A Voice of Your Own, The Boxcar Suite, The Typical Johnsons, The 1984 Draft, Neo-American Pioneers, Slow Glows and Kyleen Downes.

Poptek Records Showcase at The Hatch

DSC_0033Last night we went to see The 1984 Draft, Okay Lindon and Second Best at The Poptek Records Showcase at The Hatch Artists Studios in Springfield, Ohio! From the beginning to the end of the night it was a special evening of melody, thoughtful lyrics and captivating musicianship.

DSC_0037The evening began with Poptek’s latest band Second Best, the brainchild of Gigi Palassis and Andy Ingram who luckily for this music fan had copies of their terrific debut record available in cassette. Gigi has been writing melodic and catchy songs for years. He has been active in other projects where he has lent his guitar to several different groups such as Wake Up Mordecai, Jean-Michel, Jill & Micah, and XL427, and then the lost recordings of L’Albatros. Gigi specializes in the yearnings that are never quite fulfilled or satisfied and the emotional pain that such feelings bring to the listener. He paints a picture of the power of wanting that is impossible to escape.

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This evening Brenna Myers of Once a Pine joined Gigi and Andy on bass which added texture to the band’s live sound. Speaking of Brenna, we cannot recommend enough for you to check into Once a Pine as well. Listeners to our show know how much Dr. J loves The Florals and it is good to see (and hear) Brenna continuing to make really excellent music in Once a Pine! They often play out so go see them when given a chance! And just a quick question: Is there any instrument that Brenna cannot play?

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Okay Lindon was second on the bill. Dustin Smith has created a new and exciting vision of Okay Lindon to the music loving public. This version of the band has embraced sonic textures with maturity and wisdom. Okay Lindon played a captivating set celebrating the the music from their most release, Changes. This fourth record from Okay Lindon has a new lineup featuring acoustic 12 string guitar and violin yet still haunts the listener with real and significant questions about one’s place in the world.

DSC_0098The 1984 Draft finished the evening of great music with their usual enthusiasm and gift for melody. Their latest record, Make Good Choices is coming from Poptek soon! Joe Anderl, of ‘The Draft, specializes in an earnest, almost confessional and honest depiction of the challenges of everyday life that inspire hope rather than defeat. To see and hear The 1984 Draft is to feel the power of music to transform the listener. Choruses become chants, guitar solos become the sonic texture to anguish, the drums cascade like the quickening beats of your heart, and the bass lines keep your head up and vision clear. We cannot be more excited about this upcoming release ! And so should you!

You can buy these records at the Poptek Records website and on bandcamp.  And you should do so! As you can see in the pictures it was a great time! Many thanks to Andy Ingram and the other fine folks at Poptek Records for inviting us!

 

Pure Acoustic 

  
This Saturday music lovers will have a real treat with a Pure Acoustic show at The Old Yellow Cab building.  Not only is Yellow Cab one of many great venues in our fine city, it is also involved in some of the most innovative programs for music lovers!  Some of Dayton’s finest musicians will perform only acoustic — just like the poster says there will be no microphones — imagine just hearing the voices as they come from the singer!  No amplification, just real sounds from real musicians to a real audience.  Nothing added.  Just good music.  This idea has been kicked around for a while by Jeff and the folks at Yellow Cab, kudos to them for making this happen.  Go see some of our favorite local musicians for a rare musical experience.  Expect some exciting combinations and there could be a surprise or two for you and your ears! 

  • Old Yellow Cab Building
  • February 6 – 8pm $5 – want a low cost for something so cool! 

We will see you all there! 

Our Pick for Best Song of 2015

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Well it is not only that time of the year where everyone debates the “bests” of 2015 — best books, best shows, best foods, etc etc — it is time for us at Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative to select the song that for us demonstrates the most exciting trends in indie music — and this was a task and a half.  There were so many great albums, terrific songs, and artists who stretched themselves and their audience that to select a single song as the very best of 2015 feels a little bit wrong. However, a selection like this can be emblematic and symbolic of what makes a genre or artist powerful.

So, our criteria are simple — the song must be catchy, well crafted, and becomes stuck in your head.  This song like all good ‘ear worms’ must be something that is nearly impossible to dislodge.  You find yourself wanting to hear it, needing to hear it.

There were many contenders for this spot in our opinion.  Great music from Waxahatchee, The Motel Beds, Jason Isbell, Cheerleader, Ghost Town Silence, Moira, The New Old-Fashioned, Best Coast, Smug Brothers, Line and Circle, Courtney Barnett, Soda Shop, Circa Waves, The 1984 Draft, and many others demanded to be considered.  And you will only do yourself a favor by checking into music from all of these bands.

Reflective_VinylAnd, in the end, these lists and choices are expressions of the person doing the choosing.  Yes.  Sure, these choices are partly biographic about the judge and are often more about getting a conversation started about what makes a great song or a great album or truly unique or powerful artwork.

With that said, our favorite song of 2015 is Mittenfields – Optimists.

Released this past April, optimists is a great song from start to finish. From the first hit of the drumstick to the melody line of the bass to the weaving of multiple beautiful guitar parts.  And oh what glory is in those guitar fills, leads and strums.  The weaving of three guitarists at the top of their game makes for a fantastic listening experience.  The guitar parts do not fight one another — they complement, they add to the aural experience and build upon one another.  And along with the guitar parts a drum sound that sounds like actual drums.  Not a tinny barely audible mish-mash of time keeping, but a strong hard hitting backbone for the song.  If that was not enough, Dave Mann’s clever bass play and vocals sung with an urgency that captivates the listener’s attention make the song impossible to ignore.  And as he sings optimistic lyrics that are not dripping with sappy syrup or faux sentimental — this gestalt of sounds makes an utterly complete piece of powerful indie power-pop.  It is nearly 2 minutes of indie perfection for those of us at Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative.

How many songs can you listen to and the second that song is finished, you wished that it was still playing!  We even once played the song twice back-to-back on our program because close to four minutes seemed to give the song the length that it so richly deserved.  This song never gets old.  When every instrument is perfectly weaved in and out of the mix and it feels whole and meaningful and you find yourself singing along from the very first time you heard it — that is a great song.

And as the song starts — “We are all optimists, even on our bad days”

The only sour note here is that Mittenfields have broken up; but what a great tribute to leave behind.  We look forward to the music projects these musicians will pursue in 2016 and beyond.

DrJ

 

Once is Not Enough: Best of 2015 Shows

imagesThere was so much great music in 2015 that we are planning on two back to back radio shows celebrating that music!  We will even be joined by some special guests!  We will have our list of some of the most interesting music from 2015 — well, at least for Dr. J and Mrs Dr. J but we think that we will have at least a few things you will enjoy!

It was an amazing year for Dayton and local music with new releases from Andy Gabbard, Good Luck Year, The New Old-Fashioned, Brat Curse, The Repeating Arms, Moira, Ricked Wicky, Smug Brothers, Tim Gabard, Motel Beds, The Werks, The 1984 Draft, and many more!

We also had some new music from Me & Mountains – a few sneak peeks at their upcoming record ‘Gold’ which included the title track and a fantastic tune in The Only Way To Be.  The later tune written by a father to his young son.  There was also new music from Good English who had a big year in 2015 as well as a few peeks at the new Manray record.  There were many fantastic live shows that we will have to discuss as well

This was a year that gave us new music from outside of Dayton too!  For music lovers across genres there was some great music from:  The Bottlerockets, Lightouts, The Decemberists, Mittenfields, Bad Bad Hats, Low, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Sleater-Kinney, Sea of Bees, Jason Isbell, Timeshares, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Ultimate Painting, Turbo Fruits, Wilco, Mikal Cronin, Waxahatchee, Varsity, Father John Misty, The Worriers, Pocket Panda, White Reaper, Twin River, a live records from The Drive-By Truckers and The Jayhawks and a fantastic 20th anniversary re-release from Son Volt.

So, join us as we celebrate some terrific music from 2015 beginning this coming Tuesday on WUDR from 3-6pm (e)!

DrJ

Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative Goes 1984 Draft

ImageThis week we are joined by Joe Anderl of The 1984 Draft talking about music, shows, and stuff Joe wants to talk about! Expect new music from The Afghan WhigsThe War on DrugsThe New Old-Fashionedc.wright’s Parlour TricksThe Rebel Set, Crackpot, William The AccountantThe Motel BedsWussy, and much more!

Expect some classic indie with The Replacements and Dayton’s own SHRUG!

So, listen online at WUDR or 99.5 and 98.1fm in Dayton!  Send us requests @ drjwudr on gmail and tweet us @ drjwudr on twitter!  See you soon!

Popthrillz---Alternative