New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Posted by Amoebite, March 10, 2016 12:48pm | Post a Comment

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Amoeba Hollywood

"I think that might be the best episode," says Russell Simins, drummer of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, of his and the eponymous Jon Spencer's recent What's In My Bag? shoot. He may have meant it in a tongue-in-cheek way, but the members of the New York City trio did prove to be very informative and humorous while showing us their eclectic picks. The featured records run a wide gamut but in a way you could whittle them down into two categories: experimental and greasy, from-the-gut R&B/rock 'n' roll.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion formed in New York in 1991 after the dissolution of vocalist/guitarist Jon Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015 Spencer's previous band, Pussy Galore. Together with guitarist/backing vocalist Judah Bauer and Russell Simins, the trio creates raucous blues rock informed by punk, garage rock, classic rockabilly, and soul. In 1993, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion signed with Matador for the release of Extra Width. Orange followed in 1994, with Now I Got Worry appearing in 1996. Over the past three decades, the band has released a steady stream of albums, touring Europe and the US regularly. In 2015, the band released their tenth studio album, Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015, and are in Europe right now, finishing up a massive world tour.

Simins starts the video off with composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's Sternklang, a piece written to be performed in a park with 21 singers and synthesizer players divided into five groups. Spencer points out the "pastoral garden setting" of the back cover photos, saying, "this is gonna be a good record." Spencer picks up a copy of Ho-Dad Hootenanny Too!, the second in a series of '60s garage/frat rock gems, put out by one of his "all-time favorite labels," Crypt Records, as well as an LP of White Noise's An Electric Storm, featuring electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire who performed (and possibly wrote) the original Doctor Who theme. Angus MacLise, the original drummer for The Velvet Underground, gets thrown into the mix with his soundscape, New York Electronic 1965, as well as Isaac Hayes' first solo record, Presenting Isaac Hayes, which Simins describes as "a jam session of Isaac Hayes and four of the greatest musicians who ever lived."

So is this the best What's In My Bag? episode? And just what does an experimental German piece about the first World War sound like? Watch the video and find out:

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - What's In My Bag?
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