James and the Ultrasounds
It was back in 2012 when James Godwin set out to write and record material for a new solo project. He holed up for a few months with a favorite 4 track recorder; singing, playing guitar, bass and drums, he drilled a range of ideas down to their bare bones. As those began to take shape, Godwin looked to two of his former New Mary Jane bandmates to help fill things out: musical polymath Dave Shouse (The Grifters, Bloodthirsty Lovers, Those Bastard Souls) and power house drummer John Argroves (Jack Oblivian, Alvin Youngblood Hart, John Paul Keith).
Together, that trio recorded the bulk of what would become the first James and the Ultrasounds EP, Lovers & Ghosts. Long since out of print, the EP established the breathless energy and force for which the band's live performances would quickly become known. Now, two fan favorites from those sessions are available for the first time on a 7" single - "I Get the Shakes" b/w "Apocalyptic Love." Written, recorded and performed by Godwin, the A side "I Get the Shakes" opens with a quick blast of guitar and an insistent backbeat before rampaging for just under two manic minutes. On the flip side, "Apocalyptic Love" runs roughshod, building to a screeching squall of guitar feedback and Godwin's howling pleas.
"I Get the Shakes" (Godwin)
James Godwin (vox, guitar, bass, drums)
"Apocalyptic Love" (Godwin)
James Godwin (vox, guitar), John Argroves (drums)
Recorded by James Godwin and Dave Shouse
Justice Naczycz met Steve Selvidge when he booked Steve and his dad (legendary Memphis folk singer Sid Selvidge) to play a show in the round, sometime around the year 2000. From that show together, a partnership began that first produced Justice's folk-leaning solo record, "Water for the Withered Root." After finishing the album it became obvious that there was a disconnect between the recordings and the live show. Five years later, these difficulties combined with Justice writing more all out rock songs convinced Naczycz and Selvidge to change the name and the focus of the band. Soon thereafter came their acclaimed high energy power pop and rock gem, "The Service is Spectacular" by Secret Service.
Joining Naczycz and Selvidge as permanent members were drummer John Argroves and bassist Mark Stuart (one of Memphis's most sought after rhythm sections, having just left grammy winner Alvin "Youngblood" Hart's band), Secret Service was born. Possessing one of Memphis's most explosive live shows and having "The Service is Spectacular" chosen Album of the year in 2007 by the Memphis Flyer, the short life of the band saw a lot of success playing to packed houses and later going on tour with the Hold Steady. Unfortunately the band proved impossible to hold together and broke up in 2009 due to touring commitments with other acts.
Secret Service played their first show in 5 years at the Levitt Shell in the fall of 2016, after which Misspent Records approached the band about recording 2 previously unreleased tracks for a 7". Shortly thereafter, Secret Service went into Hi/Low Studios and recorded a pair of blistering jams with sonic aces Pete Matthews and Toby Vest. That the band had been starting to evolve even further before they broke up is evident from the first downbeat through the last insistent shout. With the thundering rhythm section driving forward and the guitar interplay between Naczycz and Selvidge at its best, "Teenage Mustache" and "Outsiders" offer a reminder of what this band is capable of and why their service is spectacular.
"Teenage Mustache" and "Outsiders" by Justice Naczycz and Steve Selvidge with additional music by Secret Service
Justice Naczycz (Guitar & Vocals), Steve Selvidge (Lead Guitar & Vocals), Mark Stuart (Bass), and John Argroves (Drums)
Available now from the SHOP
James and the Ultrasounds
James and the Ultrasounds are not necessarily typical of the Memphis garage rock scene, though they do owe plenty to that tradition. Having played bass with influential Grifters duo Dave Shouse and Scott Taylor in The New Mary Jane, as well as with local luminaries Jack Oblivian and John Paul Keith, James Godwin has been a Memphis staple for years. It wasn't until 2012, however, that Godwin assembled a band to perform material he had conceived for a solo project.
After self-recording Lovers and Ghosts EP to a 4-track in his room and releasing it under the moniker James and the Ultrasounds, Godwin filled out his band with drummer John Argroves (John Paul Keith, Jack Oblivian, The New Mary Jane), guitarist Luke White (Colour Revolt, Snowglobe, The Coach and Four) and bassist David Johnson (Dead Phones, Time). The band has toured since then through the south, midwest and up the east coast, burning through raucous late nights sets. They return now with a new pair of supersonic tunes done with Toby Vest at High/Low Recording. The A side features "Robot Love" - a Godwin tune that balances equal parts space punk freakout and rock and roll shout-a-long. It's backed by a brutal, crunching take on "TV Set," a Godwin favorite from The Cramps' legendary Alex Chilton produced "Songs the Lord Taught Us," recorded 35 years previously at Sam Phillips Recording Studio here in Memphis.
"Robot Love" (Godwin)
James Godwin (vox, guitar), Luke White (vox, guitar), John Argroves (drums)
"TV Set" (Purkhiser/Wallace)
James Godwin (vox, guitar), Luke White (guitar), David Johnson (bass), John Argroves (drums)