InFlowences: The Treetops

After featuring them as the Set 4 Score in our Trees episode we spoke with The Treetops out of Lakeland, Florida to discuss some of the artists and songs that influenced them throughout their music career.  Listen to the playlist and read The Treetop’s reasoning behind each influence below!



FMF: The Mamas & The Papas are one of a few harmony-laden groups chosen as influences to you.  Do any of you have a professional training background or do you play and sing whatever feels right?

Ashley Kennedy: “I’ve been singing since I was as little as 2, swinging from a swing strung to a tree in West Virginia belting out Lion King songs. I grew up with my mom singing with me. She’s a singer and musician currently teaching elementary music. It’s kind of funny. She would always try to harmonize with me and I hated it. I’d put my finger to my lips and “SHH” her every time. I appreciate it so much now. I was in chorus throughout school and harmonizing came super easy to me. Still does! Thanks, mom. Creating and being a part of harmony is an aspect of being in the band I enjoy a lot. We all have an ear for it, of course. Otherwise, it wouldn’t work – teamwork makes the dream work, baby!”

FMF: Pearl & The Oysters are a relatively new and unknown band, how did you discover them?

Steven Miller:  “I try to keep tabs on local Florida bands and saw a post on Instagram about them. I love synth pop, and the organs and DIY production is so fun to listen to. They are high on my wish list of bands to play with.”

FMF: A James Brown deep cut; what of James’ soul music brings inspiration to you?

Jake Kladakis: “The funk, man! Gotta get funky. His attitude, energy, and the band cut through still to this day.”

FMF: Just three years after Transformer, Lou Reed released Metal Machine Music. Do you ever see the band making that type of drastic change?

Jake Kladakis: “Probably not THAT drastic, but yeah! We’re always experimenting with new sounds and pumping out the jams.”

FMF: Another dancing bassline in the playlist; ELO brings a disco side to things.  What draws you to Jeff Lynne’s style?

Andrew Sears: “ELO’s catchy pop songs and self-produced recordings can’t help but inspire us to come up with original hits like Lynne’s.  ELO deserves way more credit than they get!”

FMF: Salad Days helped bring lo-fi/slacker rock back into the limelight.  What do you think draws people to that sound these days?

Andrew Sears: “Simple songwriting and the DIY attitude along with catchy hooks and chorus is what draws me to Mac.  Anyone can pick up his songs and start playing which can be very influential to songwriting. Our songs “Sun And The Moon” as well as “Look On The Bright Side” were heavily influenced by Demarco.”

FMF:  Great choice with “Whipping Post”. I’ve yet to see The Treetops perform live. Have you guys ever broken into a 20-minute jam session like The Allman Brothers were famous for?

Ashley Kennedy: “Hell yeah. And it’s awesome! To essentially improvise in front of an audience is super fun. I mean, it definitely depends on the venue. You have the more structured sets that need to be 30 minutes SHARP. But then there have been places that gave us this giant window of play time that we took full advantage of.”

FMF: Soul seems to be a shared interest for the band.  Any plans on adding horns to the mix at some point?

Steven Miller: “We actually have a trumpet, Alto saxophone, and a trombone. We have some stuff we wrote for the new album that we are trying to put in that ranges from soul to big band horns….well we are gonna try.”

FMF: Love It To Death influenced quite the handful of punk rockers; from Joey Ramone and Johnny Rotten writing songs based off “I’m Eighteen” and Pat Smear picking up a guitar the day he heard the album.  What about that sound do you bring to The Treetops? Also, do any of you own the “thumb cover” version of the LP?

Steven Miller: “We all love that early 70’s rock sound with the towering stacks and the crunchy guitar tone. What we bring from that is that we understand how those cats got that sound. They didn’t have that pedal that did it. It was tubes, circuitry and a Gibson! We try to keep our tones simple and use as little pedals when we can. When we play live though it’s easy to see that we love to rock out same as those cats. When we end our shows we are drenched in sweat and that’s how we like it.”

FMF: Electric Warrior belongs in the 21st century.  Do you pull from Marc Bolan’s minimalist recording techniques here? Also, have you ever heard “Mambo Sun” next to The Black Keys’ “Everlasting Light”?

Steven Miller: “Recording is really important to us. Andrew just graduated as an electrical engineer and he has done wonders on our album with just an 8 track Tascam 388 and some good preamps and mics. We start with drum and guitar and just go from there. Recording is simple as we are just trying to put out music that we can re-create live. We have studio songs for when we want to go crazy with all the tracks we have. And with our next album we’ll be living together so we can really spend time doing everything we want. With “All Year Round” 3 of us had to drive 2 hours to Lakeland to record EVERY SINGLE TIME. It took us many trips over 2016 and 2017 to make it but we loooove recording so it was always worth it. We really have just done what we can with recording. We’ve made 3 albums self-produced so we feel like our 4th one is going to be another level above the one we just put out.”

FMF: Dr. Dog clearly pulls inspiration from The Beatles, so it’s no surprise you’ve picked tracks from both artists.  If you were a band in 1968, who would you want to open for?  Keep in mind The Beatles were done touring by then.

Steven Miller: “I would personally choose The Move because they came out with their amazing debut album that year and I heard their live shows were crazy and usually something was destroyed. I think we’d love to get wild but we are always opening so no one is quite loose enough yet.”

FMF: If you could only listen to one Beatles album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Steven Miller: “Yesterday And Today is one that I could just play over and over. That period of the Beatles was my favorite because the songs were like the most perfect pop songs. Short, simple, and ridiculously catchy.”

FMF: Was “Do It For Me” inspired by “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine” at all?  The keyboard chord progressions are similar.

Steven Miller: “Do it for me is a funny story to me because I made it up at first (just the intro) and I hated it. But Jake kept saying we should go over it and eventually it got more musical and interesting ideas got thrown in. We decided to take a doo-wop song and make it sound like a “baby baby” song, but really it’s about calling in a hit. We weren’t really into country joe until a bit after we wrote it. But as an organ player I am very influenced by the sounds of organs from the 60’s! I just bought a Yamaha organ that I’m excited to have on our next album! Organs rule!”

FMF:  Same question as the Beatles albums.  Which Stones album?  Have you ever dug into the original by Don Covay? Jimi Hendrix is said to have played the guitar on it.

Andrew Sears: “Out Of Our Heads is by far my favorite Stones record.  Its front to back full of hits. I’ve never heard the original, but I have heard other covers and I always end up going back to the Stones’ version.”

FMF: Thee Oh Sees are a staple on Feel Me Flow.  What about them influences you as a band?

Andrew Sears: “John Dwyer’s writing and formulaic songs get you hooked with every new album release.  Having owned more Oh Sees records than any other artist, I can safely say they’re one of my favorite bands.”

FMF: Many of Buzzcocks’ best songs were released as 7″ singles exclusively and compiled later.  Do you have any plans to release wax pressings, be it 7″ singles or LPs?

Steven Miller:We haven’t released anything but a CD of our second album and a cassette from Wiener Records of our first record. We record all our own stuff all the way to the final mix so we are all self-funded. A 7” would be awesome to have but at the moment we are looking to go all the way and make our next record (which we will get on this year) onto wax.”

FMF: It was always rumored that 10cc got their name from a pretty vulgar source, but that was disproven.  Where did The Treetops’ name come from?

Steven Miller: “Funny enough our stories are similar because we needed a name, and someone just suggested something at the right time and no one else could think of anything better. Ours used to be Jeremy Treetop Window. Nobody could get it right and everyone called us treetops anyway. It felt like a natural progression.”

FMF: Regina has a poetic way with words. Who is your favorite lyricist/poet of all time?

Ashley Kennedy: “I honestly don’t have a favorite of all time. I’m one of those people that can’t decide on a favorite of anything. Even making the list of 5 bands and songs was brutal! But I will say, and this sounds like a set-up for my next question but it’s true- Isaac Brock is super influential to me lyrically.”

FMF: Nobody bends a harmonic like Isaac Brock. What other unique music techniques have you discovered or even “borrowed” along the way?

Ashley Kennedy: “I’d have to say, personally, playing the bass and singing/harmonizing at the same time. It isn’t a novel concept, but it was challenging at first especially since I wasn’t a seasoned player starting out.”

FMF: If it wasn’t for Johnny Cash playing the prison circuit, we may never have gotten Merle Haggard. If you were to play a prison tour, which prison would you want to play?

Ashley Kennedy: “Great question! Do they still have prison tours? I’d probably play any prison but the one near my hometown. High school reunions aren’t really my thing.”

We at Feel Me Flow want to thank Steven, Ashley, Jake, and Andrew from The Treetops for taking the time to chat with us about their InFlowences.  The Treetops released the fantastic garage album All Year Round in March of 2018 with plans to record a 4th LP in the works for next year! Check out their Bandcamp page to support them!

Check out our Discogs_logo.svgList for all of the releases featured!


FMF Episode #46 – Luck

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DJ: “I’m not superstitious, I’m just a little stitious”.  Has your paraskevidekatriaphobia kicked in yet? Welcome to another round of Feel Me Flow! Today is Friday the 13th, one of many instances where someone might think bad luck is destined to come around.  In honor of that superstitious day, we’re doing an episode on Luck!

There are three aspects to the idea of luck.  It can be good or bad, it’s the result of chance, and it applies to a sentient being.  Most of us have claimed how unlucky we are at times, but those of us who can claim to be lucky truly are, well, lucky.  Maybe your bad luck involved getting splashed with water while walking on the sidewalk or some sort of unfortunate accident.  Maybe your good luck involved meeting someone you admire on the street or hitting a jackpot.  The thing about luck is that you never really know if you’re lucky or not.  The Irish claim to be lucky, or maybe its everyone else who claims that the Irish are lucky.

There are a ton of songs about luck, so much so that we had to leave out many of the well-known ones to make room for these other unlucky bastards.  Emerson, Lake, And Palmer? Not today, friend.  We’re gonna start things off with King Khan And The Shrines and a song from their 2013 LP Idle No More.  The Berlin-based frontman Arish Khan (aka King Khan) got his start with The Spaceshits and would go on to acts like King Khan & BBQ Show, The Almighty Defenders (with the Black Lips), and of course King Khan and The Shrines.  Let’s get lucky with “Luckiest Man” from the King.

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DJ: It’s not listed on their online menu, but Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis sells (or sold) a donut named after Night Moves.  The donut features a blackberry cake batter, Hennessy glaze, and brown sugar crumbles.  Oh, such a mystical donut to go with the mystical band that is Night Moves.  From Pennied Days, that was “Kind Luck”.

Seattle’s Minus The Bear played prior to Night Moves with the opening track off of their 2007 LP Planet Of Ice.  “Burying Luck” leads off an album that continued the uptempo technical work of Dave Knudson and Jake Snider while also bringing in the more slowed down jams the band has come to master over the years.  The album’s finale, “Lotus”, is a near-9 minute swirl of sound worth putting the time aside for.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released Gumboot Soup on New Year’s Eve 2017.  The LP was their fifth, yes FIFTH album released that year. Flying Microtonal Banana, Murder Of The Universe, Sketches Of Brunswick East, and Polygondwanaland all preceded it beginning in March of 2017.

Pointed Sticks out of Vancouver, British Columbia, were the first band signed to the legendary Stiff Records, although the label was going through money troubles early on and didn’t release any Sticks material until their 1979 EP Out Of Luck.  Stiff’s first single ever released was Nick Lowe’s “So It Goes“, and their first LP was The Damned’s Damned Damned Damned. Wow.  From Out Of Luck, that was Pointed Sticks and the title track.

Alright, let’s jump into set 2 with Miami’s Jacuzzi Boys.  Minus The Bear and King Gizzard both had lucky lead-off songs in the first set.  From 2016’s Ping Pong, this is the Jacuzzi Boys’ offering with “Lucky Blade”.  Goin’ out with my lucky blade…

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DJ: The Garden is so bizarre.  I mean that as a complete compliment.  Crossbreeding the dark elements of bands like Bauhaus and Swans with the light elements of surf and garage rock, The Garden has grown into their own sound by playing what they love.  With their 2018 Epitaph Records album, Mirror Might Steal Your Charm, the band continues to push the boundaries of whatever music framework was laid down before them.  We played “Voodoo Luck” from that LP.

Portland, Oregon’s Heatmiser played us “Get Lucky” before The Garden.  Did you recognize the voice in that band?  Heatmiser was Elliot Smith’s band before he ventured into his fateful solo career.  The band released Mic City Sons in 1996 but were on the verge of breaking up.  Virgin Records released the album on subsidiary label Caroline after hearing the news that Heatmiser would be calling it quits.

Betty Mabry became Betty Davis in 1969 after marrying the legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.  Betty is credited with helping Miles discover the “hippier” side of things in those tumultuous late 60s, including introductions to Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix.   Miles would record some soul demos with Betty in New York but the couple would divorce after about a year together.  Betty’s first official eponymous LP would hit shelves three years later.  We heard the lead single from that album “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up”.

James Snyder formed Beach Slang 13 years after the breakup of his former band Weston.  Weston was signed to Go Kart Records, a label that housed other successful punk acts like Anti-Flag and Down By Law.  Beach Slang takes elements from Weston’s pop-punk style but blends them with a more contemporary sound. From the debut 2014 Beach Slang EP Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?, that was “Filthy Luck”.

Coming up in our Lucky Charms set, we’ve got The Postmarks followed by The Marvelettes.  The Marvelettes’ biggest hit is perhaps “Please Mr. Postman”.  Postmarks. Postman. The Postmarks hail from Jacuzzi Boys territory, Miami, Florida.  Their album covers are all throwbacks to 60s aesthetic, something we love around here. From the band’s final album, 2009’s Memoirs At The End Of The World, here’s “My Lucky Charm”.

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DJ: Did you know that in 2018 General Mills added a unicorn shaped marshmallow to Lucky Charms cereal? You do now.  The Apples In Stereo’s debut LP Fun Trick Noisemaker was recorded in Robert Schneider’s (at the time) portable Pet Sounds Studio in Los Angeles.  Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel played bass on the track “Glowworm”.  This makes sense, of course, when you know that both bands are part of the legendary Elephant 6 group.  From that 1995 debut, we heard “Lucky Charm”.

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding took their band name from the Tsuper couple’s big event on the Australian soap opera Neighbours back in the late 80s.  In 2013 the band teamed up with fellow Aussie’s Fawn Spots to release a double A-sided 7″ featuring “Lucky Charms”.  Fawn Spots’ contribution was titled “Basin”, another great track.

The Spaceshits recruited Mark Sultan aka BBQ because they needed a vocalist.  At the time, BBQ’s future collab buddy King Khan was playing bass in the band and going by Blacksnake.  After The Spaceshits pissed off enough people to be blacklisted in Montreal, the band would break up knowing Blacksnake didn’t want to tour Europe. The Spaceshits were great, but I’m glad we were able to get more music from King and Mark.  That was “She’s A Bad Luck Charm” from the 90s garage rockers.

The Marvelettes’ 1962 LP Smash Hits of ’62 sold for over $1,200 on Discogs in 2016.  Apparently, the first pressing is pretty rare and someone was willing to pay for it.  Keep your eyes peeled if you’re ever at a yard or estate sale.  From that incredible Tamla release, we played “Good Luck Charm”, an Elvis cover from the same year.

Coming up in set 4, we have a double Set 4 Score starting with The Pinheads.  The Wollongong, Australia garage punks released their self-titled debut album in 2017 with a limited yellow wax pressing of only 200 worldwide!  The Pinheads opened for Bleeding Knees Club on a previous tour, another one of those Australian/New Zealand garage punk bands that we love from the scene.  They sure know how to rock down there! Alright, from their eponymous 2017 debut, here’s The Pinheads with “Tuff Luck”

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DJ: Our second Set 4 Score artist is Columbus, Ohio’s Bummers.  The band released their eponymous debut album in September of 2014 after an EP the previous year.  A new EP Dolores hit their Bandcamp page in 2017 with a slew of shows to support through 2018.  Viceland’s skater-scavenger hunt show King Of The Road played their tune “1967” in the season 3 premiere.  2018 is looking up for these guys, keep an eye out! We played “Lucky” from the self-titled LP.

JD McPherson’s third throwback album arrived in 2017 with the debut of the lead single “Lucky Penny”.  At first listen, I thought this was a Black Keys song.  More acutely, the intro guitar/organ combo is a dead ringer for the combination used in “Gold On The Ceiling”.  Nothing wrong with that, man! Awesome sound.

The Strokes were at the head of the garage rock revival of the early 2000s.  Their debut album Is This It was an instant success in the Summer of 2001, fueled by the successful smash single “Last Night”. “Last Night” still is the band’s highest charting song to date, making it to #5 on the US Alternative charts.  We played a deep cut from the debut LP, “Trying Your Luck”.

Tom Petty stopped by with a cut from the only album of his in the 1980’s that didn’t go platinum in America; Long After Dark.  It went gold, though.  The LP was the first to feature new bassist Howie Epstein and churned the big MTV hit, “You Got Lucky”.

We’re gonna do a little set about the unfortunate people, the unlucky. Bad luck seems to plague everyone from time to time, some more than others. Jimi Hendrix perhaps suffered from some bad luck by unwillingly joining the 27 club in 1970, just as he and Miles Davis were starting to really connect.  Just imagine the music that could’ve come from those two!  The recordings featured on the 2012 posthumous LP Valleys Of Neptune were tracked around the time Jimi and Miles were talking.  Here’s “Mr. Bad Luck” from that LP.

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DJ: The self-proclaimed “Queen of Blues”, Dinah Washington, dropped by with some “Bad Luck”.  The track comes from her 1959 LP The Queen. I’d like to assume the album is named as such due to her nickname.  Dinah was cited as “the most popular black female recording artist of the ’50s”.

A few years prior to The Queen, a little-known blues guitarist by the name of Riley B. King, aka B. B. King, released his debut album on the Crown label.  Singin’ The Blues kicked out five singles over the next few months after the album’s release, and “Bad Luck” charted at #3, the second highest single. 

Shonen Knife delved into the heavier side of their influences with the aptly titled 2014 LP Overdrive.  The precursor 18th LP Pop Time dabbled in the poppier side of things, leading the band to turn up the metal on this one.  We heard the album opener “Bad Luck Song”.

Mike Ness proclaimed his favorite number as “13” in the highest charting single of Social Distortion’s career, “Bad Luck”.  The song comes from the 1992 LP Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell. Hard to believe it’s been over 25 years since that album arrived.

Our final set of the day starts with Duluth, Minnesota band Cloud Cult.  The Denver Post ranked Cloud Cult’s 2007 LP among the best albums of the decade with the likes of Modest Mouse and Radiohead.  We’ll hear more from the latter a bit later, but now let’s get to a song that was featured in an Esurance commercial.  Here’s “Lucky Today” from Advice From The Happy Hippopotamus.

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DJ: As is the tradition around here, we had to break the mold and play something outside our garage rock world for the finale.  What better than the Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, and Daft Punk collaboration MEGA-hit “Get Lucky”? So groovy.

Radiohead’s OK Computer changed music forever when it booted up in 1997. Taking the new technology boom and channeling it into the studio, Radiohead blew minds with the combination of sampling and live playing.  There was a time where you couldn’t find a musichead who hadn’t heard the album, but the new generation of geniuses was busy being born when this album came out.  From 1997’s OK Computer, that was “Lucky”.

Eels channeled their garage rock souls with a deep track from 2012’s Hombre Lobo. The LP was one of three in the trilogy of emotions that Mark Oliver Everett put out in the 2010s.  Hombre Lobo focused on desire, End Times was about divorce and death, and Tomorrow Morning dealt with moving on.  We heard “Beginner’s Luck” from Hombre.

Betty Wright scored herself a legendary soul single with the release of her 1972 LP I Love The Way You Love Me.  “Clean Up Woman” resides in the halls of hip-hop history being one of the most sampled tracks of the genre.  Before that big LP, Betty recorded an R&B album and a few one-off singles.  One of those singles, “Mr. Lucky” made it’s way onto our show today.

Well, everyone, the time has come to change our luck.  It’s been fun to take a chance with you today, hopefully, you can land yourself some good luck sometime soon.  Join us next time on Feel Me Flow!

Check out ourDiscogs_logo.svgList for all of the releases featured!

FMF Episode #45 – Freedom

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DJ: “They may take our lives…but they’ll never take…our freedom!” A classic line from Braveheart right there.  Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Feel Me Flow!  This week marked the 4th of July holiday of Independence Day in the USA.  July 4th, 1776 was the date that the United States signed and adopted the Declaration of Independence. They were declaring independence from England, or as the teacher in Dazed And Confused says, “a bunch of aristocratic white males didn’t want to pay their taxes”.  Love that. Anyway, in honor of the “land of the free” breaking away from King George’s England we’re going to look into songs about freedom.

Launching off the show is Cream.  Cream was one of those “rock gods” bands that kids would draw logos of on their high school notebooks, especially back in the 70s.  “Clapton Is God” was a tag often spray painted or drawn on things to let everyone know who you truly believed in.  Along with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, Clapton and the trio would hammer out some of the heaviest music that had been released.  That is, of course, until those demons from Sabbath showed up.  With one of their most known cuts from 1966’s Fresh Cream, here’s Cream with “I Feel Free”.

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DJ: Syl Johnson‘s debut album Dresses Too Short featured the single “Different Strokes”.  Now you may not know the song by name, or might not even know the song really.  But if you’ve listened to hip-hop from the 90s you’ve more than likely heard the tune being sampled.  Wu-Tang Clan’s “Shame On A Nigga” uses the horns from the end of the track.  Syl’s 1970 sophomore LP Is It Because I’m Black? would yield the title track for sampling, a Beatles cover, and “I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Freedom” among others.

“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” was written by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas in the early 60s.  Billy released his own version on his LP Right Here! Right Now! in 1964 and the song would go on to serve as a Civil Rights movement anthem.  Many artists have covered it over the years, from the famous Nina Simone version to cuts by Levon Helm and Solomon Burke.  We played the latter’s rendition of is from his 1968 LP I Wish I Knew.

Even though Jimi Hendrix died in 1970 at that dreaded age of 27, he had recorded an amazing amount of material that would be released later.  The first material released was compiled for the 1970 LP The Cry Of Love, an album named after the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s final tour.  The only single officially released from the album was “Freedom”.  “Freedom”‘s made its way into Jimi’s legacy catalog and is featured on almost all of his greatest hits compilations now.

The Black Keys took some heavy inspiration from the blues-soul stylings of Jimi. With the release of their 2003 sophomore album Thickfreakness, the band would make the move to Fat Possum Records with Epitaph Records co-releasing it in Europe.  That’s how I discovered them, I remember hearing the title track on the Punk-O-Rama Vol. 8 compilation, one that also featured a recent discovery for me at the time; Atmosphere.

Right around that time was when the “The” garage bands were making their push for the mainstream.  The White Stripes, The Black Keys, The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines, and more bands made their way into that scene.  The music was a throwback to the rock and roll days where blues still had an influence.  From the down under wonders The Vines, let’s “Get Free”!

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DJ: Neil Young’s critical American anthem “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” is one of those songs that suffers from the same fate as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA”.  The chorus is so positive and uplifting sounding that those who don’t bother to listen to the verses don’t pick up on the satirical nature of the song.  One of those unaware morons would be none other than Donald Trump, who used it in his announcement that he will run as a Republican candidate for the 2016 presidency. Man, all the signs sure were there America.  Wait, maybe he chose it because he knew of the dire situation he’d be putting us in.  No way.  Of course, Neil said its use was unauthorized; Bernie Sanders would later use it with authorization.

Chicano Batman helped carry the funky middle of our set with the title track from 2017’s Freedom Is Free.  LA’s grooviest neo-psych-tropics band covered Laura Nyro’s “Stone Soul Picnic” for their 2014 LP Cycles In Existential Rhyme, a tune we featured in our 420 show!

One of Jimi Hendrix’s idols was the great Curtis Mayfield.  Curtis’ songs have been sampled by every damn hip-hop artist alive, I swear.  If not Curtis, its Isaac Hayes.  Of course you should sample this guy, though.  The funky-psych sounds of Curtis’ solo efforts from 1970-1973 are just unmatched in the genre.  From his solo debut LP we took “Wild And Free”.  That solo debut also featured the track “Move On Up”, one Kanye West would sample for his single “Touch The Sky” in 2005.

Before Curtis, we heard the Stones and their 1965 track “I’m Free”.  The song closed out the UK version of Out Of Our Heads, but would be featured as the B-side to “Get Off Of My Cloud” and added to December’s Children (And Everybody’s) in the US.  

Our next set is the Set 3 Set Free set, lol.  A few songs asking to be set free followed by some songs about being set free.  Makes sense to me! From the Burger Records new act The Shivas, we’re gonna play “You’ve Got To Set Me Free”.  It has an eerily familiar guitar riff, almost like an old Kinks track or something.  This tune comes from the Closet Trekkie release Freezing To Death

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DJ: After the release of their third LP Dusk and a recorded performance at Third Man Records in 2016, you’d think Ultimate Painting was just about to get their big break.  Not so much.  As fate would have it the band announced in February of 2018 that they’d be splitting up for good and moving on to new projects, altogether scrapping the unreleased but recorded album Up! We played “I’m Set Free” from that final album.

 We heard a tune from Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground before Ultimate Painting. Their third LP was self-titled but the first not to be produced by bassist John Cale.  Doug Yule would step in and be the band’s mainstay producer until their demise, though he would go on to produce Lou’s solo LP Sally Can’t Dance in 1974.  The Velvet Underground played “I’m Set Free” for us from that third LP.

Triptides were the Set 4 Score of FMF’s The Month episode, one where we played 31 songs in continual order beginning on a Friday.  The band has that perfect neo-psych blend that has become prominent in the last few years, especially from Aussie bands.  We heard “Saturday Far Away” in that episode, but today we’re playing “Set You Free” from their sophomore 2013 LP Predictions.

Did you think that The Kinks’ “Set Me Free” sounded a bit like The Shivas‘ “You’ve Got To Set Me Free”? Something about those sliding minor chords makes me think there’s a connection.  Plus, the songs are almost the same title.  Maybe we can land an InFlowences segment with the band and find out if they were inspired by The Kinks’ tune? From The Kinks’ sophomore 1966 LP Kinda Kinks, that was “Set Me Free”.

Coming up in Set 4, we’ve got some free choice, some free freaks, the band whose breakup still hurts to think about, and a great punk rock Set 4 Score.  Let’s start things off with the Akron, Ohio weirdos Devo.  The title track to their 1980 LP Freedom Of Choice points out the fallacy of freedom of choice.  Is it really a choice between sinking or swimming? The bridge describes a poem in Ancient Rome of a dog who has two bones, picks at one and licks the other until it drops dead.  Great choices, indeed!  From the “Whip It” album, here’s Devo!

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DJ: Yes, all good things must come to an end.  That being said, it sure was a heartbreaker to hear about The Thermals breaking up in 2018.  My wife and I saw them while she was pregnant with our son Rigby and to this day they are his second favorite band.  The first, of course, is The Beatles, being his namesake and all.  From their second-to-last LP Desperate Ground that was The Thermals with “You Will Be Free”.

Diners is the creation of Phoenix, Arizona musician Tyler Broderick.  Diners released their third LP Three via Asian Man Records in 2016.  Mike Park started a record label and began releasing music in 1989 as Dill Records, but officially started Asian Man in May 1996. Asian Man has released music from artists like Alkaline Trio, Smoking Popes, Less Than Jake, Screeching Weasel, and a whole bunch more. With the release of Three, Diners set out on tour in 2018; keep an eye out for them this summer!

In 2000, J. Mascis and Mike Watt partnered with Ron Asheton of The Stooges and George Berzman to drum. Iggy Pop heard about them a few years later and decided to reform The Stooges.  The band would record some new material for Iggy’s solo 2003 LP Skull Ring, but would ultimately release a brand new, Steve Albini produced, Abbey Road mastered album in 2007 called The Weirdness.  From that reunion album, we played “Free & Freaky”.

Our Set 4 Score this week goes to the Austin, Texas punk band Flesh Lights.  We’ve now had Flesh Panthers and Flesh Lights as a Set 4 Score feature.  Now if only we could find a band called Panther Lights.  Anyway, Flesh Lights released their debut 7″ in 2010 with the debut LP the following year.  Their sophomore album Free Yourself fits perfectly on your record shelf next to The Only Ones, The Plimsouls, Teenage Fanclub, and other power pop/punk bands.  The difference is, this band can wail when it needs to.

Coming up in our punk/soul set, we’ve got Candi Stanton.  Candi gained major fame in the late 70s with the release of her single “Young Hearts Run Free”.  We’ll play a track from her sophomore LP Stand By Your Man.  Yes, that “Stand By Your Man”.  The title track was a cover of the famous Tammy Wynette tune, though giving it the Rick Hall Fame Studios soul touch sure helped out.  Here’s the album closer “Freedom Is Just Beyond The Door”.

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DJ: Wowzers! Things got pretty intense there for a moment!  The 2001 album from the SoCal punkers Pennywise was their most political one to date. The album featured tracks like “My God” which was obviously about religion, “Fuck Authority” about, well yeah, and the single “The World”.  “The world is a smoking gun that is loaded, soon its gonna blow you away”.  Times haven’t changed, sadly.  Here’s to hope though! From 2001’s Land of the Free?  that was the title track.

NOFX isn’t unfamiliar with the political atmosphere in the punk rock world.  Although they’ve always been critical of politics in some way or another, they turned up the heat when Dubya was elected.  Fat Mike formed the punk voter movement to get Bush out of office but to no avail.  Fat Mike also recently got the band in trouble when he made a tasteless joke in Las Vegas about the shooting that had killed 51 people there.  “At least they were country fans” he chuckled.  Even more recently he announced via Instagram that the band has been blacklisted in the US.  We’ll have to see how that pans out.  Either way, I’m still a fan.  They’ve been making tasteless jokes for 30 years now.  It is what it is.  We played “Freedom Like A Shopping Cart” from their 1996 LP Heavy Petting Zoo.

Ricky and Free Weed chimed in with a track from 2015’s Introducing.  Ricky teamed up with Unkle Funkle in 2016 to record an album of 90s cover songs.  Songs like “Black Hole Sun”, “In The Meantime” and “Man In The Box” were true-to-the-original takes after they’d been acid washed in 20-year-old bathwater.   Similar, yet not the same at all. The latter song closed out the album and sounds the vocals remind me of aliens, or giants, or maybe men in boxes.  Who knows; its legit either way.  Totally worth checking out!

James Carr suffered from bipolar disorder for most of his life and struggled with performing live because of it.  He even froze on stage in front of an audience following an overdose of antidepressants in 1979.  Nevertheless, James recorded some phenomenal soul music in the late 60s, including his biggest hit “The Dark End Of The Street“.  He released “Freedom Train” for Goldwax Records in 1968, but the label would close down shortly after leaving him stranded. 

In our last set of the day, we’ll hear a deep cut from the one hit wonder Fontella Bass.  First, though, we’ve gotta get our Tommy fix. Pete Townshend became quite the follower of Mehar Baba in 1967/68, so much so that his music would be influenced by him for the next few years.  Sort of like George Harrison and The Beatles meeting  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and suddenly adding a sitar to their music, haha.  Pete wanted the concept of Tommy to be about expressing the teachings of Mehar Baba.  The character Tommy was deaf and blind, reminiscent of Mehar Baba’s lifelong silence observation.  Yep, he stayed silent for like 40 years. Anyway, here’s “I’m Free” from Tommy.

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DJ: A few years before that epic scene in Braveheart when Mel Gibson’s character William Wallace screams “freedom”, Zack de la Rocha had already perfected the execution.  The passion behind both yelps was the same, free from oppression.  Rage’s “Freedom” music video was focused on the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM).  Leonard has been the subject of many freedom rights activists’ fights since his incarceration in the late 70s.  As of now, he’ll be in jail for the rest of his life.

Jack White dropped by with his “Freedom At 21” single, the third released as solo material from his debut album.  The single was released during Jack’s creative release phase after starting Third Man Records.  1000 Flexi-Disc “Freedom At 21” singles were attached to blue helium-filled balloons and released into the wild.  According to statistics noted by Third Man, roughly 10% of similar balloon releases were recovered.  According to Discogs, only 37 people own the record.  I’d venture a guess that closer to 100-200 copies were found.  What a waste!

Fontella Bass smoothed out the middle of our set.  You might know her 60s Motown-esque classic “Rescue Me“.  On her solo follow-up album to the smash debut, the 1972 LP Free,  she got more political and civil rights movement inspired, with tracks titled “To Be Free”, “My God, My Home, My Freedom”, and “Talking About Freedom”.  Let’s get some of that freedom with that last one.  Here’s the smooth voice of Fontella Bass and “Talking About Freedom”.

Ty Segall’s aura practically lives here at FMF.  Cheers to him for helping bring back the garage rock that started to fade away as the 21st Century chugged along.  The 2018 release Freedom’s Goblin saw Ty and his backing band The Freedom Band covering an old Hot Chocolate 1978 track; “Every 1’s A Winner”.  We took “I’m Free” from Ty and The Freedom Band’s Freedom’s Goblin. OMG, all that FREE!

Alright everyone, that about does it for us today.  We hope you enjoyed the two-hour freedom fest that was, even though you may be on freedom overload from the Independence Day celebrations earlier this week.  Or maybe you were like me and stayed home to write instead.  Have a great day and we’ll see you next time on Feel Me Flow! 

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