Sound effects come crashin' in
Ever wish you had a recording of a train coming down the tracks? Or the sound of a propeller that suddenly runs out of gas? Or of party horns? Well, now you can have all those sound effects and more than 100 others on Kid Rhino Records' Crash! Bang! Boom! The Best of WB Sound FX. Bugs Bunny serves as the narrator for this trip through the Warner Brothers "Looney Tunes" sound effects library. Drum rolls, growls, whistles, avalanches ... they're all here, including Bugs' Top 10 cartoon sound effects moments, Daffy Duck's bottom 10, happy birthday messages from Bugs and Marvin the Martian, and background sound effects for computers and answering machines (creaking swings, a percolating science lab, a ringing phone and more.)
Pat McGee Band
The Pat McGee Band has steadily built itself a loyal following over the past four years, selling 100,000 copies of its three independent albums by hitting the road 250-300 nights a year. They've played the H.O.R.D.E. tour as well as with Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, Fleetwood Mac and more, and this summer has been no exception, as the band has been touring incessantly in support of its fourth album and major label debut on Giant Records, Shine. If you want to see a polished group of road warriors, the band will play The New World Music Theatre with the Allman Brothers on Saturday.
And if you want an album of polished, yet still earthy harmonies and head-nodding guitar and organ-backed tunes, pick up their new disc. You can hear the road in the meat and potatoes rock and twang of their music. Their songs aren't the kind that are going to easily brook big hit singles (they come closest on the big drum opener "Runaway"); rather, they play with a laid-back Toad The Wet Sprocket vibe, perfect for a night in the bar. Shine is a thoughtful, evocative and warmly woven disc. Give it a spin.
And catch them this weekend at the New World Music Theatre.
Cowboy Mouth has got to be one of the most undersung stories in rock 'n' roll today. With a manic energy, roots-rock tribal rhythms and charismatic drummer-singer Fred LeBlanc, this is a band that screams "good time party" with almost every song. And yet, despite their having sold 400,000 records in the U.S., I've yet to hear one of their songs on the radio.
Formed in the early '90s by ex-Dash Rip Rock drummer LeBlanc and former Red Rockers vocalist/guitarist John Thomas Griffith, along with LeBlanc's longtime friend, guitarist Paul Sanchez (and eventually, bassist Rob Savoy), the band spent a couple of years honing its full frontal attack, including a stint opening for Hootie and the Blowfish, before signing to MCA and releasing 1996's Are You With Me? Like Pat McGee, Cowboy Mouth has been a rock 'n' roll road mainstay, playing the H.O.R.D.E. festival and hundreds of other dates across the country.
Despite this, with the merger and consolidation of their record company, by the time 1998's Mercyland came out, there was no one left at their label who backed them, and they found themselves on a major tour with Barenaked Ladies, but without any of their albums available for sale in local stores. The band subsequently parted ways with MCA and signed with Blackbird to record its third disc, the electrically charged Easy.
Easily their hardest rockin' disc to date, Easy features a mix of LeBlanc's over-the-top vocals with Griffith's smoother, more relaxed delivery, on a non-stop parade of can't-help-but-sing-along tracks. For those who haven't caught any bits from the band's history, the new disc features an edgier (and improved) update to "How Do You Tell Someone," originally found on its debut disc, as well as a cover of "China," Griffith's top 100 early '80s hit with Red Rockers.
This is crunch rock with a twang and occasionally a tough message. On "How Do You Tell Someone," LeBlanc talks of the scared, lonely "little boy" or "girl" in all of us and asks the tough questions: "How do you tell someone you don't love them? How do you tell someone you don't care anymore?"
Likewise in the title track he tells the story of a friend who whined and moaned about life and "lived for drugs and drinking." His message:
Easy to bitch
easy to whine
easy to moan
easy to cry
easy to feel like there ain't nothing in your life
harder to work
harder to strive
hard to be glad to be alive
but it's really worth it if you give it a try
It's a strong message in a fist-raising anthem of a song.
Griffith gets his share of strong moments on Easy as well, though his vocals tend to offer a softer side, from the bittersweet complaint of "Always Leaving" ("I'm always leaving, but I never go away.") to the humor of "Everybody Loves Jill" a Gary Glitter "Rock 'n' Roll Part II"-style big drumbeat song where he sings of a girl who does everything in red: "everybody loves Jill/she's got a red heart/she wears on her red sleeve/she drinks her red wine/with her favorite red cheese."
LeBlanc shows that he can step back with a ballad in the lilting closer "Run to Me" and in the sweet and simple "Marianne," a song of a lover watching his beloved being hurt by another man:
If I could breathe your breath
if I could hold your smile
if I could dry your eyes
if only for a little while
then you might see me here
hoping to hold your hand
wanting to be your world
LeBlanc's sappy side doesn't linger long, though; he quickly comes back with the story of a man who's not going to bother to try to stop his lover from walking out the door in "Let Me Hold It Open" and with the big pounding beat of "All American Man."
This is the band you need to rock to. This is the band to play loud at your next barbecue. This is the band with something to say (in a party way). This is the best-kept secret in rock 'n' twang today. This is Cowboy Mouth.