Scram #16 reviews
(all by the editrix unless otherwise noted)
The Alphabet when the sun calls your name or, Ghost World
CD (Nashinal Sound Recordings) This set of mostly solo poppy psych
produced by John Nash in his Detroit bedroom is one of the records
that fell through the cracks when Poptones folded. The appealing
tunes are dressed up with trippy homegrown effects. Playful, earnest,
and pleasantly uncool.
Phil Angotti and the ideas Flower Bomb CD (JAM)
High-energy jangly pop, with clever songs and lovely shimmery
harmonies. Includes nifty tributes to mopester pin ups Nick Drake
and Colin Blunstone.
The Bards Resurrect "The Moses Lake Recordings"
CD (Gear Fab) Long-overdue release of the Bards’ 1968 sessions,
showing the Northwest group anxious to explore sophisticated concepts
and the newest studio tricks; producers Curt Boetcher and Keith
Olsen were happy to oblige. Highlights include a chanting Beefheartesque
adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and
the ambitious seven-part biblical "The Creation." Scattered
around are some bubbly pop songs that seem light years behind
the weirder material, suggesting mind expansion midway through
the writing process. An odd, and most interesting, discovery.
Beachwood Sparks Once We Were Trees CD (Sub Pop) Take the most
shimmering, atmospheric sounds of the Beatles and Galaxie 500,
add a little Burritos and Stones, then imagine Tiny Tim fronting
the Jacobites covering "A Whiter Shade of Pale"-well,
maybe not that insanely good, but they sure try. If they manage
to stay humble in the wake of that MTV video, we might have something
here. (Margaret Griffis)
Black Sun Ensemble S/T CD (Camera Obscura)
Slightly altered 2001 reissue of the DIY psych masters’ supremely
scarce self-released debut, moody guitar mystics unfolding like
dreams snatched on waking. Hypnotic, cyclical stuff that, while
recorded in the Arizona desert, feels just as strongly of the
Sahara, or the Gobi, or the bottom of the sea. Byron Coley’s notes
help explain the strange paths that the music took to end up here.
Black Sun Ensemble Hymn of the Master CD
(Camera Obscura) Encouraged by positive response to the Camera
Obscura reissue campaign, troubled BSE leader Jesus Acedo has
put together a new version of the band. If you’re looking for
esoteric instro guitar ruminations, be warned that this disk kicks
off with a skronky thing with Jesus singing about what
a funky monkey he is. Quit snorting: if you go to the hospital
and get out again, you can make whatever sort of music you like.
There are instrumentals, but they too mostly come from a more
carnal zone. The last three tracks are more typically meditative.
It’s all a bit much for me, but with plenty of wild guitar in
play, fans will want to hear what he’s up to.
The Black Widows Arocknaphobia CD (Vital Gesture) All
right, these guys claim that their brand of surf type instrumentals
isn’t surf at all, but spider rock. Whatever you say boys.
I mean spiderboys. Pretty good for music made by insects. You’d
think bugs were just into noise and experimental buzzes, but occasionally
you do get some members of the animal kingdom that can rock like
people. Dark, reverberant garage rock, only occasionally sounding
sissified like it was created by college students. While each
piece does stand on it’s own, they would be rounded out nicely
by some far out vocals, dig? (Margaret Griffis)
David Blue S/T CD (Collector’s Choice) It’s easy to
call David Blue on his Dylan fixation, never more blatant than
on this 1966 Elektra album recorded with several of Bob’s sidemen.
But the pastiche is stylish and brimming with enthusiasm, a fake
that’s in some ways more likeable than the real, ice-cool thing.
Curt Boetcher There’s An Innocent Face CD (Sundazed)
After the Millennium split up, Boettcher (he dropped the "t"
on this album on a numerologist’s advice) didn’t know what to
do with himself. Inspired by what Emitt Rhodes had accomplished
alone with overdubs, he paired up with multi-instrumentalist Web
Burrell and spent two years honing this odd album for Elektra.
It’s a fascinating, intermittently successful mish-mash of pomp,
pop and old timey country, with several stunning love songs sitting
uneasily alongside weird rock star parody "Bobby California"
and the tune about a guitar-playing frog.
Boss Martians Making the Rounds
CD (Musick) Another tuff and tuneful outing from the Martians,
who’ve forged a tasteful garage soul sound distinguished by strong
songs and Evan Foster’s assured, emotive singing. "Dreaming
in Stereo" shows them working a surprising power pop vein.
Single Crown Postcard CD (Recordhead & Mr. Whiggs)
Emerging from long hibernation in an Indiana basement, Brando
is Derek Richey and a rotating cast of fellow travelers. They
make subtle, meandering, thoughtful and layered dream tunes, with
occasional, effective high-energy flashes.
The Briefs "Poor and Weird" + 2 CD EP (Interscope)
Monochromatic fake ’79 punk that might not sound out of place
on a late KBD comp and what wonderful art direction!
Brother JT3 Spirituals CD (Drag
City) One of two new disks from the prolific and ever intriguing
Original Sins leader, offering up a fresh twist on holy rolling
that’s warm, appealing and maybe kinda carnal. Definitely this
summer’s make out record of choice for Jesus freaks and the people
who love them.
Brother JT Maybe We Should Take Some More? CD (Birdman)
You read that title right: this is John Terlesky’s dope record,
partly a meandering soup of muttered suggestions, conversational
loops, buzzing unidentifiable instruments and frog croaks. It’s
also got sweet folkish melodies made sweeter for living in such
a freaky neighborhood.
Bertrand Burgalat Meets A.S Dragon
CD (Tricatel) Bertrand Burgalat, the French Phil-Spector-meets-Kraftwerk
producer-cult-singer, decided to go on a live frenzy. Bertrand’s
backing band A.S Dragon knows how to shake hidden parts of your
brain. It’s interesting to see such a mild mannered man, adept
at churning out sophisticated pop albums, going amok. Bertrand
and A.S Dragon revisit their own repertoires as well as those
of April March, Smokey Robinson and Amanda Lear, to mesmerizing
effects. A nostalgia-free but still vintagey trip that Olivia
Newton-John and her alien friends circa Toomorrow would have raved
about. It’s the perfect mix of raw rock electronic dissonance
and pristine mint harmony. File under Death-Bubblegum disco. (Jean-Emmanuel
Caitlin Cary While You Weren’t Looking
CD (Yep Roc) This Chris Stamey-produced solo debut from gal
who played fiddle and harmony behind Ryan Adams in Whiskeytown,
is closer to early ’70s UK folk rock than to her old band’s off-kilter
C&W. A nice sound, though emotionally falling somewhat flat.
The Centimeters "Help is on the Way" b/w "African
Paper " 45 (Space Baby) Unusually pretty and subdued outing
from the bizarro world (via Los Angeles) cabaret stars, with the
a-side drifting dreamily off into Ed Wood soundtrack territory.
Chad and Jeremy Before and After CD (Sundazed) The duo’s
1965 Columbia debut, recorded in a week with Lor Crane and a coterie
of elderly session cats. Considering the rush, the record turned
out well, and shows the pair honing their signature style amidst
a little experimenting. Gentle whispery C&J ballads share
space with rockers, and lovely trad folk like "Fare Thee
Well." Bonus cuts include alternate takes, the one-off Chad
& Jill 45 and Italian-language songs performed at the San
Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde Of Cabbages and Kings CD
(Sundazed) Recipe for a masterpiece: take two cuddly British invaders
(hitherto known as Chad and Jeremy), add one psychedelic superproducer
(Gary Usher), the full resources of Columbia Records, and a pinch
of Curt Boettcher harmonies. Let rise in a dark place with a pinch
of the British class struggle, world hunger, sexual freedom, the
American death industry, and two heaping dollops of mescaline.
The result: a fascinating, funny, sad and beautiful record that
has long been #1 on my list of things I hoped would see reissue.
Sundazed includes their usual bounty of unreleased tracks and
45s, and terrific Jud Cost notes. Essential.
Etienne Charry Aube radieuse serpents en flammes CD (Tricatel)
Imagine the strange result of a mad scientist’s experiment using
early Beck cells and quirky néo-yéyé Frenchness.
Dream no more, here it is. It’s a shame that Michel Gondry (director
of Bjork’s "Human Behavior" video) is the only member
of Etienne’s band Oui-Oui to have achieved worldwide hipster credibility.
Kindercore, home of the Elephant 6 posse, recognized a kindred
spirit, even if he was an ocean and countless idioms away, and
they decided to co-release this album. Etienne Charry uses collages
and "naiveté" in an unpretentious arty-free way,
like western pop recreated by the Banana Splits high on Gallic
spacecake. (Jean-Emmanuel Dubois)
The Cherokees The GO!! Sessions LP (Corduroy)
A sampling of the Melbourne beat band’s mid-’60s recordings for
the GO!! label. Distinguished by strong vocals, good taste in
covers (Hollies, Beau Brummels) and lotsa energy, this comp is
a swell addition to any Aussie rock collection. Also available
as a Canetoad CD.
Jonathan Coe, Louis Philippe & Danny Manners 9th
& 13th CD (Tricatel) Highly original blend of suave jazzbo
riffing and sardonically romantic storytelling, some stories spoken,
others sung. I didn’t realize on first listen that the words come
out of Coe’s existing books and aren’t meant to hang together
as a narrative. An interesting and quite successful experiment.
The Cosmic Psychos Fifteen Years, A Million Beers
double CD (Corduroy) Catching up with the Melbourne trio some
years after digging "Lost Cause," I find that they’ve
always known how to Keep It Simple, Stupid, and maintain a good
inspiration/ perspiration ratio in their deliciously crass three-chord
expulsions. Taste the testosterone. Now rinse, spit
Crimson Sweet "So Electric" b/w "No Hot
On Cold" 45 (Slow Gold Zebra) Raw postpunk from an NYC trio,
suggestive of early ’80s Manchester moodiness. Noisy and compelling.
The Cryan’ Shames Sugar and Spice
CD (Sundazed) The Chicago band’s 1966 Columbia debut shows them
drawing on a blend of US and British beat influences, with the
Byrdsy outings most successful. Arrangements and harmonies on
the rushed recordings can be ragged, but the Shames slide through
on passion. Bonus tracks feature several originals by transitional
member Lenny Kerley, whose sophisticated writing would make the
next album such a psych-pop blast. Liner notes explain how handless
tambourine player Jim Pilster’s barbed hook won them press attention-and
The Cryan’ Shames A Scratch in the Sky CD (Sundazed)
With album #2 the Shames distinguished themselves as one of the
finest American baroque pop acts. Unforgettable melodies, ambitious
arrangements, and a unusual blend of moodiness and punk energy
make side one of Scratch essential listening, though the
quality of the material trails off somewhat on the flip. With
the addition of 45 mixes and a McKuen inspired b-side, this Sundazed
package is a fine replacement for treasured vinyl.
The Cryan’ Shames Synthesis
CD (Sundazed) And here’s where it all fell apart, into a stylistic
stew that never stops bubbling long enough to allow a proper taste.
Opener "Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith &
Jones" is a punky groover, but with the next track they’re
mourning a Hoagy Carmichael heroine, and later don Buffalo Springfield
masks. While there are some good songs and performances, the variety
is just too extreme to make a cohesive whole.
Curlupanddie Unfortunately We’re Not Robots CD
(Revelation) Thrashmetal the way momma likes it. Brutal. Grinding.
Menacing. These guys from Vegas have been damaged not only by
the sun and heat, but by SST, AmRep and a host of hardcore bands
too. First point of order is the song titles. These have got to
be the best I’ve seen in years. "Ted Nugent goes AOL"
and "Doctor Doom, A Man of Science, Doesn’t Believe in Jesus,
Why The Fuck Do You" make my cold heart warm like molten
steel. The first four titles you have to see for yourself. I can’t
do them proper justice here. If that isn’t enough of a sale for
you, the music’s good. There’s stuff here that will curl the tail
of any deathmetalhead, but there are also arty moments that are
disjointed enough for the average Sonic Youth fan. The vocals
are gurgling sounds of a possum caught in an engine. The only
complaints I have are the possum vocals should be louder in the
mix, and I want more songs on the CD so my ears can start bleeding
properly. (Margaret Griffis)
Dan & Kev and the Deadset Friendlies "Don’t
Change" / "Elvis" CD EP (Corduroy) Upbeat and sincere
punky folk from a couple of lads who sound like they’d be at home
in front of a pint or with noses in books. "Elvis" is
a story-song about a guy whose friends encourage to act the star,
and how he finds out one day he’s been a figure of fun.
Death by Chocolate Zap the World CD (Jetset) The second
arch disk from teeny chambermaid Angie Tillett & co. treats
sixties pop culture like fudge ingredients, boiling wah-wah pedals,
Bentley cars, Bridget Riley’s op art paintings, and The Avengers
down into a thick syrup further flavored with vibes, dreamy bossa
nova beats, and chewy chewy organ trills. Swell version of "While
I’m Still Young" from the Smashing Time soundtrack.
The Decembrists Castaways and Cutouts CD (Hush)
If the long silence of Neutral Milk Hotel chafes at you, try rubbing
these marvelous Portlanders on the sore spot. I am charmed by
their rollicking modernist sea chanteys peopled by ghostly infants,
self-reflexive legionnaires, bedwetters and assorted oddballs.
A Dame Darcy drawing on the cover is all that’s missing.
Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe and Alexander Faem Tribute to Alain Delon and Jean-Pierre Melville CD (Euro-Visions) This
disk is an aural kiss for legendary director Jean-Pierre Melville
and equally legendary actor Alain Delon. Deluxe and Faem star
as the ringmasters while Saint Etienne, Merricks, X-Ray Pop, Mansour,
Monochrome Kid, and Frederik Schikowski play the remixers. Co-conspirators
include a handful of disparate, subterranean talent. Luis Rego
prepares us for the experience to follow with a monologue of tweaked
inflection. April March’s voice is sweet like a chorus of tiny
bells, contrasting with and complementing Deluxe’s endearingly
off-kilter vocals. Deluxe’s inability to sing is his charm. He
is a poet evoking rather than a crooner crooning, and "Paris
Lisbonne" is a gem, pop poetry running after Delon through
gangster-ridden streets and psychedelic sequences in the Metro.
For kinetic stimulation, Bertrand Burgalat’s vibes and keyboards
are splattered throughout. Jacno strums guitar for one of the
disc’s highlights, "Loneliness is a Warm Gun," by far
the sultriest piece as sung by Helena Noguerra. She is sonic striptease,
and the grooves are deftly manipulated in two shploink remixes.
Ariel Wizman chimes in occasionally, in bilingual ’70s flares.
References, both lyrical and instrumental, to various Melville
and Delon scenarios take the music beyond simple pop hooks to
a fantasy level, and there is a short salute to Christophe as
well. Unfamiliar with Melville and Delon? It won’t hinder you
from swinging to the sounds, but if you haven’t seen Le Samourai….
The Gene Drayton Unit "Ordinary Twist " +2
45 (Butterfly) From the land where obscure American R&B singles
sell for more than our car payments comes this modern take on
Hammond dance floor soul, a swinging original instro with bluesy
brass. The flip has a nice flute-led take on "Steppin’ Stone."
The Dukes of Hamburg Some Folks By CD (Gearhead) So
there’s this neighborhood in the Mission where everyone speaks
German and the barbers just laugh when you ask for ein trim.
Down at the biergarten, these lads are shaking the rafters
with their hopped-up beat music that makes even grandma do the
monkey. And their new disk kicks off with the best punked out
version of "Greensleeves" ever.
Steve Earle Sidetracks CD (Artemis/
E-Squared) You’re not going to lose a dime by betting that a Steve
Earle odds and sods collection will be worth picking up, worrying
around in your metaphorical jaws, and thinking about after it
stops spinning. Full of well-chosen covers, outtakes and novelties,
Sidetracks slots Punk Steve alongside Reggae, Activist,
Bluegrass and Write-a-song-so-lovely-you’ll-stop-breathing Steve.
And while on first exposure these disparate characters don’t seem
to belong in the same room, they get familiar quick. This is a
good palliative while we wait on the next proper LP.
Shari Elf I’m Forcing Goodness Upon You CD (Good and
Sturdy Music) Naïve yet knowing, so catchy it oughtta be
regulated, Shari Elf and her omnichord make outsider music that
makes you want to open your door and ask them in for some cookies
and conversation. Thank you, Alicia Bay Laurel, for bringing Shari
along to play the Scram #15 release party, where she charmed everyone
with her odes to crocheted alligators, guys who may or may not
be jerk-a-lators, and (especially) "Seamstress," with
live sewing machine, pinbox and snip-snip scissors accompaniment.
The Excessories pure pop for punk people CD (Sympathy)
Pretty faithful to the Fastbacks type of über-poppy punkity
rock. And since they live in LA, this probably means that while
the Fastbacks have been condemned to near obscurity, the Excessories
will end up on a lot of soundtracks thanks to some A&R guy
who’s never heard punk rock in any of its original incarnations,
but thinks the singer is cute and sweet on him. The music is very
poppy, happy and danceable if you like to pogo. Pure bubblegum,
well executed and exceedingly irritating if you happen to hate
grown up women who sing like precocious little girls. I can’t
imagine anyone with a wisp of testosterone singing along with
this. Honest fellas, it won’t get you laid, except by control
hags who sense your weakness. Amusingly, the singer is also the
lead songwriter and sends everyone else’s songs to the last tracks
ghetto, even though they are just as good. See what I mean by
"control"? (Margaret Griffis)
Foundation X American Folk Horror CD (Estrus)
Grungy dark hard rock with a good sprinkling of the old southern
rock. Recalls maybe the Unsane with Jon Spencer jamming with ’em.
Sounds good, but not enough is done with it. (Margaret Griffis)
S/T CD (Sundazed) Excellent, dreamy 1969 Capitol psych
LP by a band you’d never guess was from Greenwich Village-though
the Tim Hardin and Bonner-Gordon covers are a tip-off. Leader
Peter Sando only got two songs on the album, but they can hold
their little heads up beside "Hang On To A Dream" and
"Nature Boy." With haunting echoed vocals, a studied
languor and sophisticated arrangements that suggest a looser Zombies,
the record didn’t deserve the oblivion it found on first release.
Gasoline Take It To The People CD (Estrus) Wherein
the Japanese trio channel a brutally soulful Detroit primitivism,
weaving thuds and shrieks into a tapestry that reeks of strong
weed and street fighting (or at least affection for the concepts).
Includes four even more reductive songs from the "We Are
Giant "Wishing Bone " + 2 CD EP (Twist) Cocky,
old school bombast & jangle, with bass solos, falsetto hooks
and other signs of an unironic nature, culminating in a song called
"This is Rock" ("the only thing I need/ the only
thing I want"). Shameless, in the best possible way.
Girlband Hey Howdy!! It’s CD (Mufferpuff) Pop
can make you weird. Like, if you’re two big grown up guys, and
you are pop, you might decide to produce a whole record from the
POV of bitchy little girls who just wanna have slumber parties,
wear training bras and sell the last of these goddamn Girl Scout
cookies so they can go home. The results are bizarre-they don’t
sing like little girls, for one thing-but strangely enjoyable.
Gore Gore Girls Up All Night CD (Get Hip) Back
to basics bad girl trio, a little bit Joan Jett, a little bit
Crystals. Nothing earthshaking, but the sha-la-la take on "Keep
Your Hands Off My Baby" is a treat.
Neil Halstead Sleeping on Roads CD (4AD) On his
solo debut, the Mojave 3 leader plies roads previously trod by
Nick Drake, but packs his contemporary cynicism and a friend with
a trumpet. Pretty, if utterly wispy.
The Hamicks "Blow It Out Your Ass" +2 45 (Dropkick)
From the shout-and-bang just-learned-how-to-hold-an-instrument
school of punk rock. Incomprehensible, idiotic, interminable which
are all compliments, of course.
The Hard Feelings "Anytime I Want!" b/w "High
Flying Baby" 45 (Dropkick) Loose and snotty trash rock braggadocio.
The flips’ a pre-pop Flamin’ Groovies cover played with the right
blend of thud, crunch and wiggle.
Richard Hell Time double CD (Matador) Disk one
is the old Roir cassette collection RIP (Heartbreakers,
three incarnations of the Voidoids, Hell in New Orleans) with
a few worthy bonus cuts, disk two the live and dangerous-sounding
Quine Voidoids in NY and London circa 1977-78. Hell’s tricky,
one minute brilliant, the next exasperating. When he was focused
there wasn’t another American punk who could come close to his
iconic precision, of which the rough, bug-eyed beauty was merely
the most obvious sign. He was a "real" poet, and seemingly
simple pop songs about girls and dope often conceal existential
cul de sacs and sneaky linguistic bowshots. The Voidoids crafted
a wonderful spiky castle of noise for this wicked little princeling
to prowl, though the bleating vocals and stuttering rhythms make
it an acquired taste. Don’t miss: the startlingly soulful "Cruel
Way to Go Down," or the casual evil of "Hurt Me,"
which ought to be assigned for discussion in high schools instead
of that tedious Hannah Arendt book.
The Hellacopters High Visibility CD (Gearhead)
The line between Detroit-style hard rock and irony-free heavy
metal seems to be slipping, and the ‘copters have landed on the
side where they keep the hairspray. Don’t light a match.
Iggy & the Stooges Wild Love: The Detroit Rehearsals
& More CD (Bomp) If I didn’t know better, I’d say Greg
Shaw had a giant chicken heart cross-bred with Stooge cells growing
in a nutrient-rich bath deep in the bowels of Bomp Manor, from
which he occasionally took scrapings for public issue. But Greg’s
no mad scientist, just a magnet for rarities, and Iggy freaks
should rejoice at this annotated set of unreleased originals,
covers and best-of excerpts from endless jams. Apparently dating
from the Raw Power through Kill City eras, these
are the loose and dirty shards that inform the finished works,
and weird sidetrips, like Iggy, James Williamson and a drum machine
taking on Dylan’s "Ballad of Hollis Brown."
The Impossible Shapes Laughter Fills Our Hollow Dome
CD (Recordhead & Mr. Whiggs) Wonderfully twee post-pop experimentation
fleshed out with melodica and brass, shambling like an especially
friendly monster that’s about to soak you with its tongue.
Insta Horn Rim Fury CD EP (Sunday) Insta is mainly
Adam and Catherine Cooper, formerly the Pastry Heroes. Their homegrown
whispery Cardigans-esque pop sound is lush and adept, though no
one song particularly stands out on this EP.
Garland Jeffreys Wild in the Streets (Best of 1977-1983)
CD (Raven) It’s long since time I gave this critic’s darling
a spin, because he’s really good. Jeffreys’ quintessentially
New York songs blend reggae, pop, jazz and Latin ingredients into
a persona that’s streetwise yet romantic, and never clichéd.
And the vocals are just gorgeous. This chronological comp features
most of the Ghost Writer album, then touches on everything
through Guts for Love, and has really piqued my interest.
Just Farr a Laugh: The Greatest Prank Phone Calls Ever
CD (Failed Pilot) The subtitle on this post-caller ID era
artifact is excessively boastful, but who wants to listen to humble
pranksters? The best prank calls are those where the recipient
is fully engaged in the conversation and urges the caller to ever
greater heights of strangeness. Track 19, which gives this collection
its title, is a delightfully wide-ranging conversation about yogurt
machines, small business and inspirational literature that didn’t
hurt anyone’s feelings. Other highlights are the exceptional customer
service offered by a supermarket manager when "Isaac Hayes"
calls to complain about being harassed in the parking lot, and
several calls starring Bleachy, a roly poly pleasure seeker who
only wants a chance to serve his country. Good clean fun, with
self-reflexive liner notes.
The Kaisers Shake Me! CD (Get Hip) You can count
on Scotland’s Kaisers for time machine-perfect British Invasion
pop, made more impressive by the fact that the lads write all
their songs themselves. The Searchers didn’t do that! If your
tastes run to twangy guitars, lovelorn harmonies and clean cut
kicks, the Kaisers are your cuppa tea.
The Lackloves star city baby CD (Rainbow Quartz)
Shimmery early sixties-style pop from Milwaukee, with handclaps,
hooks and harmony to spare.
Ted Leo/ Pharmacists The Tyranny of Distance
CD (Lookout) Martial jangle pop with a splash of Thin Lizzy spunk,
eclectic, sweetly sung (lotsa falsetto), and surprisingly on Lookout.
The Loud Family From Ritual to Romance CD (125)
If Scott Miller had a share of Pepsi stock for every time some
ink-stained wretch called him a genius, he’d still probably be
bitter and more prone to threats of retirement than any three
dinosaur bands combined. Just because you write the smartest pop
lyrics of your generation, and have a master angler’s facility
with hooks, and a few thousand people love what you do, that doesn’t
mean anything. Scott learned that in the nineties, and
left the gentle fields of Game Theory for pricklier experiments
as the Loud Family. These tapes, recorded on the band’s 1996 and
1998 tours, reveal the rough, antagonistic power of the late Louds,
their willingness to take Scott’s songs in their teeth and shake
’em silly, all of which made the fundamental prettiness of the
music seem more touching and fragile. With Eno, Pixies and My
Bloody Valentine covers, and a closing salvo that left me breathless
and punching the replay button.
Helen Love Radio Hits 3 CD (Damaged Goods) Like
a tasty pink wad of electro girlie bubblegum punk, wrapped up
in self referential pomo Mobius Strip ribbons stolen off the Shangri-Las,
laid on your doorstep with a note that says "Eat me."
The Love Generation Love and Sunshine: The Best of
CD (Sundazed) On the covers of their three Imperial albums, the
Love Generation looked about as hip as math tutors on a field
trip, but no Calculus geek ever sung as sweetly as the Bähler
brothers. These were the voices that would be tapped to be the
on-record Partridge Family a few years hence, and the treacly
magic was already flowing. Their lush take on prime period themes
like first love, grooviness, summertime sun and finding oneself
is a must for sunshine pop freaks. Pick hit: the glorious "Consciousness
Expansion," where the singer apparently takes a trip into
inner space just from the thrill of renting his first apartment!
This disk compiles most of the deliriously breezy songs from the
Luna Romantica CD (Jetset) Aptly titled collection
of high-gloss guitar and Dean Wareham’s precise and yearning expressions.
To be avoided if the "noodles"/ "oodles and oodles"
rhyme scheme is offensive to you.
The Lust-O-Rama Pure Lust CD (Corduroy) Posthumous
release from lightly accented Nordic Pebbles popsters active
through the early ’90s, fittingly on an Australian label, since
these cats would have fit just fine on a bill with the Psychotic
Turnbuckles or Lime Spiders. Good screams from Arne Thelin, since
gone on to the Kwyet Kings.
Mach Pelican "Kim Salmon Sessions " 45 (Corduroy)
Charming, English language deficient pop fun. A-side "Airport"
sounds like a sleepy Ramones in their wanna be your boyfriend
mode. The flip’s a shaky take on producer Kim’s Scientists classic
Martin & Neil Tear Down the Walls CD (Collector’s
Choice) Working with fellow Village folkie Vince Martin for this
acoustic 1964 Elektra LP, Fred Neil’s darkness is lightened by
Martin’s high, gentle tones. The title track is an optimistic
protest number, and Martin does a talking blues about childhood,
while handsome versions of "Morning Dew," "I Know
You Rider" and the original "Wild Child in a World of
Trouble" teem with Neil’s signature moodiness. This is an
interesting, transitional snapshot of the late folk-blues revival
just before social consciousness, duos and cover songs yielded
to individual voices.
Jana McCall Slumber CD (Up) The former Seattlite
(she was in Dickless) has retreated to Montana, where she recorded
this spooky, individualistic set. When paired with the Ruby Doe’s
intense accompaniment, the clear, fluttering vocals and melancholic
Mello Cads Soft as a Rock CD (Franklin Castle)
In the grand tradition espoused by early Playboy editorials
and the Marquis de Sade, prime Cad David Ponak stakes out his
masculine terrain in a song cycle taking his alter ego "David"
across the emotional landscapes formed by lust and regret. Young
cads sometimes think they need to express themselves through power
chords and shrieking, but cads of a certain age recognize that
channeling Jack Jones, Dick Hyman and Scott Walker is not only
more expressive, but it also grabs the ladies. Paul Williams joins
our troubled troubadour on the bonus version of "The Drifter."
Richard Meltzer, Robert Pollard, Smegma, Antler & Vom
The Completed Soundtrack for the Tropic of Nipples
CD (Off) Okay, pay attention. Not only do you get the Vom "Live
at Surf City" EP (deliriously retarded ’78 punk from the
wisest guys in Hollywood), but also recent declaiming by a bemused
Meltzer accompanied by the soaring noise and looped lunacy of
Smegma and GBV’s Robert Pollard playing a similar role with Antler.
It’s the soundtrack to something or other. I think there’s some
extra Vom material which I haven’t heard before, but the notes
are cryptic. That’s all I can figure out, and I need to take a
damp cloth to the stereo now.
The Mooney Suzuki Electric Sweat CD (Gammon)
We already know what the Mooneys are good at: hard-rocking, stripped-down
Detroitiana delivered with a knee-drop intensity unmatched since
little Michael Jackson tried to shake himself out of his skin.
Well, that and stinky stagewear. And that’s great, and we love
them for it. But on their second full-length album the band is
messing with the formula: to wit "The Broken Heart,"
maybe the most stunning piece of original blues to come outta
the garage rock revival ever. Jesus, boys, you already
had our heads, loins and nostrils. Had to steal our hearts, too?
Mr. T Experience …And the Women Who Love Them
CD (Lookout) Re-issue of the classic EP, but with enough sugary
extras for even the most borderline diabetic to OD on. Re-mastered
along with 19 other tracks that appeared on various collections,
singles, demos and other dark and dank places, this CD-only release
is pretty happening. Is it Poppy Punk or Punky Pop? I’ll take
the latter, since most of the time this would sound more at home
at the house party of some "clever" LA hipster than
at Gilman St. (Margaret Griffis)
The Mystaken "Don’t Fuck Wiv Me " b/w "Hey
Little Girl " 45 (Corduroy) "Don’t Fuck" features
raw, angry vocals over a solid wall of thud, with bassist Maria’s
sweet responses offsetting the ire in Sally’s lead. A neat sexual
inversion of trad garage conventions, and surprisingly catchy.
The flip’s a more diffuse expression of annoyance that makes me
think they’re not such hard girls after all.
Fred Neil Bleecker & MacDougal CD (Collector’s
Choice) On his second record for Elektra (see Martin & Neil
above), accompanied by John Sebastian and Felix Pappalardi, Neil
soars with all original material and astonishing, open-throated
singing. Blue and hopeful, country and citified, he ties up all
his contradictions so they don’t get in his way and stakes his
claim as one of the best singers of the folk revival.
The Paybacks Knock Loud CD (Get Hip) Swaggering,
heartfelt actual Detroit rock & roll, spearheaded by Wendy
Case’s raspy, androgynous vocals. Just right for drinking and
driving, not necessarily in that order.
The Pedestrians An Evening At "Pearl’s"
Hurricane CD (Bacchus Archives) Recorded live in 1979, this
is supposedly Tucson’s very first punk show. Besides the band
and audience, there can’t be too many people who will enjoy this,
but at the same time it’s strangely intoxicating, and an accurate
portrayal of your typical punk/ wave bar band of the period. Only
five original songs littered among lots of "cool" covers:
Rolling Stones, Ramones, both Elvises. This has seen the light
of day because members including Chris Cacavas went on to play
in Green On Red, Naked Prey or Giant Sand. It was originally released
locally in Tucson last year, but those nutcases at Bacchus saw
fit to bring it to the wider world. (Margaret Griffis)
The Periscopes "Beaver Shot" b/w Happy to
Be" 45 (Bacchus Archives) "Beaver Shot" revels
in its more-than-implied lewdness, a dirty, messy frat rock instro
peppered with off color exclamations. You need it for your jukebox.
The flip is a "Louie Louie" rip off that sounds like
it’s being sung in unison by four guys still in the bar at closing
time. Totally retarded, in a good way.
André Popp Popp Musique CD (Tricatel)
The common factor is producer Popp, the ringmaster behind these
twenty giddy, sometimes erotique sixties pop confections. On "L’Homme
Invisible," the invisible man can be heard ravishing some
unsuspecting cutie, possibly Francine Lainé, whose cooing
vocals on "Lolitissimo" are deliciously overdone. Also
features Astrid Gilberto and Claudine Longet, and even Herman’s
Hermits get the Popp treatment with the music hall-esque "Years
May Come, Years May Go."
Patrick Porter reverb saved my life CD (Camera
Obscura) These salvaged teenage solo recordings from ’96-’97 are
gentle, thoughtful lite-psych explorations wrapped around poetic
lyrics that reward reading. The songs don’t really go anywhere,
but the small area they occupy is enticing. "Prodigy"
is a label that alienates everyone involved, so let’s just acknowledge
that this is deep, sweet stuff that shows great promise. He’s
writing books and playing in Phineas Gage now.
Pretty Girls Make Graves Good Health CD (Lookout)
Driving upbeat punk rock that was popular with the young "new
school" punks a decade ago, but with vocals occasionally
distilled from the X-Ray Spex/Vice Squad/Crass era of feminine
wiles. Think Sonic Youth jamming with Fugazi at the Spoke house.
They play their music like their life depended on it or at least
in order to avoid day jobs (which is way more important than life
itself). The first tune "Speakers Push the Air" is a
classic "hit single" that in a just world should be
getting airplay across the country. It’s absolutely perfect. This
is their first full length, but features veterans of the Murder
City Devils, Kill Sadie, the Beehive Vaults, and the Death Wish
Kids. (Margaret Griffis)
Chuck Prophet Homemade Blood LP (Corduroy) Vinyl
reish of the former Green on Red guy’s ’97 release is full of
loose and confidant rootsy rock and roll in the "been there
and lived to regret it" vein.
Public Nuisance Gotta Survive double CD (Frantic)
To be a public nuisance, you gotta question everything-and then
be self righteous about it, too, right? Well, every one of these
28 refreshing songs recorded from 1966 to 1969 by four black-turtlenecked
Sacramento boys who went from being called the Jaguars to Moss
& the Rocks to Public Nuisance, and finally to Glad, is filled
with questions. Question yourself. Question me. Question what
our bodily functions are doing. Question the Now and the Tomorrow.
Question Charlie. But wait, don’t question "love;" question
if you can love your brother and if we can love one another! Nothing
overly preaching here, people. Just groovy heavy exclamations!
Don’t question if some of these songs sound a bit like songs you
already know by the Pretty Things or the Seeds. Question if a
re-written imitation of Blue Cheer is the sincerest form of flattery.
What if it sounds even better? Hell, yes! (Kelly Kuvo)
Joey Ramone Don’t Worry About Me CD (Sanctuary)
On Joey’s first and last solo project, he still delivers. Although
some tunes are reminiscent of the mature ponderings of mid-’80s
Ramones, every tune is delivered in Joey’s trademark bubbly yet
no-B.S. style. Choice tracks include the wacked kid show stylings
of "Mr. Punchy," the Kinks-like "Spirit In My House,"
and "Like A Drug I Never Did Before," with Joey affecting
a bit of a Sky Saxon drawl. Plus there are killer covers of the
Stooges’ "1969" and Louis Armstrong’s "What A Wonderful
World," a personal fave with its "Pretty Vacant"
riff that gives way to Joey singing sweetly of things that make
him enjoy being a boy in love with life. And "I Got Knocked
Down (But I’ll Get Up)" is bouncier than a roomful of red
rubber balls. With all the loving attentions of ’90s Ramones producer
Daniel Rey, and friends Andy Shernoff, Captain Sensible, Marky
Ramone, and punkette Helen Love, Don’t Worry About Me is
an ideal tribute to one of the great bubblerock heroes of all
time. (Jillian Ford)
Tracey Read Everything is Real CD (Chapter) Gentle,
stripped-down songs that pulse with a quiet cynicism belied by
Read’s sugary coo. For early mornings and aftermaths.
Reigning Sound Time Bomb High School CD (In the
Red) Slow, sweet, languid and desperate, with pumping retro keys,
subtly witty lyrics and moments of near-hysterical realism. Sincerely
swell rock and roll.
The Resonars Lunar Kit CD (Get Hip) All by his
lonesome, Matt Rendon manages to make some pretty convincing late
’60s psych, though the one-man band thing means he takes his time
between albums. The new one spins off from Bright and Dark‘s
melancholia with a tougher, garage-punk edge. The constants remain
Matt’s sweetly nasal voice, memorable hooks, and an admirable
brevity. Why waste five minutes when you can get your point across
The Risk songs from the big tomato CD (Twist)
Twist mainman Mark Le Gallez’ own band is a strutting modish confection
very much in the label’s vein, Carnaby Street soul boys with hearts
sewn to sleeves.
RockFour Another Beginning CD (Rainbow Quartz)
Israeli pop-psych combo (singing in English) working a rich vein
of lush, cascading guitar lines and soaring harmonies. Good songs,
The Sadies "Cork & Monkey" + 2 45 CD (Mint)
Jazzy western twang and late night regrets and ruminations, applying
country conventions to a taste for punk and noise to produce something
fresh. Kid Congo guests on one track.
Safe Home You Can’t Undo What’s Already Undid
CD (Sunday) Dutch duo, with Esther Sprikkelman’s round tones mostly
applied to English words. Their gentle sound incorporates organic
and electronic elements with quiet, effective results.
Erik Sanko Past Imperfect, Present Tense CD (Jetset)
The solo debut from longtime Lounge Lizards bassist has a wonderfully
spooky, meandering cartoonishness. Sanko’s weak, whispery voice
carries the haunted house pop that teems with twang and mysterious
Peter Schirmann Fluchtweg St. Pauli OST CD (Crippled
Dick Hot Wax) Swinging, nasty crime jazz soundtrack to a 1971
German hooker flick. Sounds range from big, brassy grooves to
batty exotica, big band disco fuzz to a languid harpsichord bossa
nova. Bonus tracks include remixes and Shirmann’s theme from Bleib
sauber Liebling, with its ridiculous whining faux-Chinese
Raymond Scott Orchestrette Pushbutton Parfait
CD (Evolver) Loose yet respectful interpretations of the cartoon
soundtrack master’s batty work by a seven-piece combo that plays
down the silliness to find and follow strains of classicism, Orientalism,
dada and spy jazz in the repertoire.
The Shakes S/T CD (Teenacide) Jim Freek kicks
off his new label with the long-anticipated debut by the ace Los
Angeles popsters who can’t seem to hold onto a drummer. Pete Gilabert’s
songs are crunchy and cranky, Janet Housden the perfect foil on
bass and nyaa nyaa harmonies. And don’t miss the secret bonus
track, their brilliant arrangement of Britney’s "Oops, I
Did It Again" (shh, don’t tell Zomba).
Shutdown 66 "Stateside Shutdown" 45 (Corduroy)
The harp never stops wailing on these two slabs of garagey goodness,
enhanced by fine grunts and yelps on the demo version of "Sure
Does Make Me Blue."
The Sires "Beneath Me" b/w "Packing My
Bags" 45 (Corduroy) Contemporary London band working the
time-honored tradition of girl-hating three-chord freakbeat. The
high-pitched vocals on the flip sound like Fred Cole’s mom!
Slackjaw Darkest Hour CD (No Karma) This impassioned
Portland three-piece reminds me a lot of early U2, edgy, emotional,
and jangling idealism all over the place.
Songs: Ohia Didn’t It Rain CD (Secretly Canadian)
The harmonies on this latest release by the collaboratory body
that is Songs: Ohia do something to alleviate the desperately
lonely sound of Jason Molina’s voice, but not so much that it
loses its power. Simple, emotive melodies twine around that brave
instrument, and while the emotional palette is fairly narrow,
the effects are impressive.
sparkle*jets u.k. Bamboo Lounge CD (Crab Apple)
The hardest working act in SoCal pop turns in a breezy set of
harmony-drenched should-be summer radio hits, with the unexpected
jolt of Susan West’s outer space bad girl vocals to keep your
ears on their tippytoes. CD-ROM goodies on this classy slab include
an entire burn-your-own live bootleg.
Speedball Baby The Blackout CD (In the Red) Weirdo
slow blues shot through with smutty free-association, chicken-killing
shrieks, layers of chunky texture and a warm, organic flow that
keeps things taut and interesting.
The Spoils Hurtsville CD (Corduroy) Seems the
alt-country bug has been biting Australians, too. These laconic,
lap steel-drenched ruminations on love, loss and being a louse
have a kinda Stonesy swagger that I dig.
Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited Jet Sound Inc.
CD (Dionysus) Releasing this set of witty spy-jazz-gone-surfin’
originals seems a gutsy act in the post-post-lounge era. The perfect
backdrop for that unironic tiki party.
The Stratford 4 The Revolt Against Tired Noises
CD (Jetset) There’s plenty of invention and variety on this brainy
pop disk (from SF, not Blighty), which veers from soft and fuzzy
romanticism to edgy Richmanesque yearning, often with a secondary
set of sounds distinct from the main melody, suggesting an emotional
language running on a parallel track.
Nikki Sudden & Dave Kusworth Jacobites CD
and Robespierre’s Velvet Basement double CD (Secretly Canadian)
The Jacobites could have been the most contrived band to come
out of England since (fill in the blank), but somehow their velvet
jacket pretensions combined to make something magical. It certainly
didn’t hurt that Nikki and Dave each had a marvelous way with
melody, imbuing their simple tales of debased nobles and impossible
girls with an epochal, timeless quality. These first two Jacobites
records-Secretly Canadian will be reissuing all of Nikki’s ’80s
output-recall a time when poets were drunken reprobates who had
to roll in the gutter to come up with something beautiful, something
that was all the more striking for the foul milieu in which it
emerged. No, not the sixties, at least not the nineteen
sixties. Good-bad, but not evil, the Jacobites troll the dark
streets of the psyche in search of gems like "Hearts are
Like Flowers"-where the boys recognize that "you’ll
do things in your life that’ll change someone more than you’ll
ever change yourself"-caught on tape for the ages. If you
missed these scarf-draped troubadours first time around, don’t
miss them now. Old fans will find plenty of bonus tracks, and
Nikki’s somewhat revealing liner notes.
The Thanes One night as I wandered on the Moors The
best of double LP (Corduroy) The Thanes have been plying their
trade since 1986 in the semi-obscurity befitting an Edinburgh
act that never moved to London. When I finally got to see them
at the second Las Vegas Grind they knocked me out, so it’s neat
to have so much of their history in one place. Here are 27 fine
selections demonstrating that ebullient or moody, fuzzy or precise,
Lenny Helsing’s band can always be counted on to take the basic
garage conventions and turn them into something personal and exciting.
Kevin Tihista’s Red Terror Judo CD (Parasol)
Despite several attempts (hey, I’m usually a sucker for this kinda
stuff), I couldn’t get anywhere with K.T.’s debut, Don’t Breathe
a Word. But this time out I had more fun with the baroque,
orchestral arrangements, whispery vocals and loopy tunes. I still
don’t quite get it, but am keeping it around for future reference.
Tren Brothers & Sister "Swing Pts. 1 &
2" 45 (Chapter) Ghostly instrumental act conjuring up a thick,
dark mood with scuttering drums, sighing violin and precise guitar
(by Mick Turner), repeatedly building to subdued explosions and
Townes Van Zandt A Gentle Evening With CD (Dualtone)
Townes, then 25, played Carnegie Hall in 1969, and the tape got
lost in the vaults. Unearthed, it proves a brief yet striking
look at the bard’s earliest live approach, already mingling heartbreakingly
gorgeous songs ("Rake," "Tecumseh Valley")
with rambling jokes and (possibly ad libbed) talking blues numbers.
The only original that’ll be new to fans is "Talking KKK
Blues," but with fine performances and slightly altered picking
from the recordings, the old stuff is well worth hearing.
V/A Born out of Time: The Australian Indie Sound
1979-88 CD (Raven) One of two interesting Radio Birdman-axis
Aussie comps to land in my PO Box in the same week (see Do
The Pop below), the Raven set mostly offers influential 45s
from the Citadel, Waterfront and Au-Go-Go labels, with some inevitable
overlap. Either collection is a good introduction to a vibrant
scene, and you need this one to get Angie Pepper’s luminous "Frozen
V/A Can’t Stop It!: Australian Post-Punk 1978-82
CD (Chapter) Australia’s big enough for sounds bred elsewhere
than Detroit, hence this interesting comp full of arty synth lines,
cryptic symbolism, bleating vocalists and other signs of the neo-futurist
times. Put together by folks who were there, Can’t Stop It!
blends scarce singles and unreleased and live recordings, including
"Help" by the Apartments (refuge of banished Go-Between
Peter Milton Walsh), and selections from Slugfuckers, Primitive
Calculators, Ron Rude and People With Chairs Up Their Noses.
V/A Deep Note: Music of 1970’s Adult Cinema CD
(O.S.T. Grammofonpladen) Entertaining sampler of raunchy jazz,
analog synth noodling, sound effect-drenched pop and spoken word
interludes distinguished by their relentlessly enthused amateurism.
Films sourced include Orgasmatron 75, Diary of a Horny Housewife,
and The X-orcist.
V/A Do the Pop! The Australian Garage-Rock Sound
1976-87 double CD (Shock) If you weren’t haunting the import
bins for Rob Younger-produced Citadel 45s in the ’80s, count on
this fifty-track comp to yield repeated revelations. Unlike some
regional compendiums that try to represent bands with one song,
curator Dave Laing gives a great act like Younger’s New Christs
three chances to knock you sideways. Disk one is slightly more
garagey, spinning off from the twin impacts of Radio Birdman and
the Saints through rare gems by the Psycho Surgeons, Fun Things,
Lipstick Killers and Scientists. Disk two introduces the Died
Pretty’s homegrown psychedelia, Lime Spiders’ ’60s punk primitivism,
and the sublimely catchy Eastern Dark. With plenty of lesser-known
acts like the Decline of the Reptiles, Someloves and Headstones,
rare photos and fliers, informative liner notes and great ears
informing the selection, this one’s a solid joy. Recommended.
V/A Live from the Masque CD (Bacchus Archives)
Well, not exactly: this is a sampler from the two-night February
’78 Masque benefit show at the MacArthur Park Elks’ Lodge recorded
on 4-track by Geza X. Lo-fi and historic, featuring the Weirdos,
Bags, Germs, Skulls, Eyes, Dickies, F-Word, Alleycats, Zeroes,
Randoms and Black Randy doing 1-3 songs each. Appearing at the
shows but not represented here were the Dils, Controllers, Deadbeats,
Shock, Arthur "J", X and Flesheaters. Pick hit: the
Eyes’ pogo-perfect "Go Go Bee."
V/A Teen Feeding Frenzy! A Tribute to the Music Teens
Love CD (Go-Kustom) Bubblegum / teen idol covers comp with
styles encompassing punk, pop, country, industrial and just plain
weird. What comes out is each band’s affection for the source
material and the fun they’re having in the reworking.
V/A A Tribute to Nashville CD (Mint) Corn Sister
Carolyn Marks and her pal Dave Lang are obsessed with the movie
Nashville, and having forced most of their musician friends
to watch it, compelled them to mount it as a stage show, and later
to record this tribute. This disk features pretty much every celebrated
Vancouverite in a down home vein, with music, dialogue and liner
notes directing the listener to rent the DVD. That slowpoke Bangers
& Mash bassist keeps promising to loan me his copy-maybe he’ll
hurry up if I offer this in trade?
V/A What’s the Use?!: 12 Tales of Teen Torment LP
(Corduroy) Tribute to the recently deceased Dean Mittelhauser,
publisher of The Living End fanzine and promoter of lost
Aussie sounds. The comp is drawn from his collection of rare acetates,
and is strong throughout. Highlights: the Unknowns’ unusual blend
of surf drums and jangly guitars, a wonderfully inept and shambling
attempt by the Rockin’ Rogues, the soulful Pleazers, and strange
and rather lovely call-and-response mood piece by the Liv’n’ End.
The LP winds up with a truly unbelievable track: the apparently
pre-adolescent Leprechauns singing "I think we should make
Volumizer gaga for gigi CD (Mint) That rare successful
blend of tough and sweet, post-punk guitar seasoned with tuneful
girl harmonies, neither overwhelming the other.
The Waistcoats Stark Raving Mod! CD (Wildebeest)
This Dutch neo-garage trio crosses between instro and vocal stylings,
throwing some surfy guitar into the raw and crunchy mix. Covers
include Jimmy Page’s early "She Just Satisfies" and
an (inevitably) somewhat redundant "Can’t Explain."
Fine for fruggers.
The Waistcoats Live @ KUT 90.5 FM 45 EP (Wildebeest)
Stopping off in Austin for a morning radio gig in 2001, the band
sounds subdued on these four melodic, organ-drenched numbers,
including an Outsiders’ cover. Wonder what they sounded like the
The Williams Brothers Andy & David CD (Varèse)
This previously unreleased 1974 LP was made by the bowl-cutted
twins under Michael Lloyd’s and Don Costa’s wings. In a precursor
of his successful model for Shaun Cassidy, Lloyd trots out established
Top 40 classics just creaky enough to be new to kids and nostalgic
to their folks. The brothers’ sweet harmonies blend with Costa’s
arrangements into a wonderfully sunny, youthful sound, pure teenybop
time capsule. Pick hit: "Every Other Sunday," a startlingly
topical song about kids torn apart by divorce.
Gary Wilson You Think You Really Know Me CD (Motel)
It’s good to live in a world where people take the trouble to
do such a handsome reissue of a New Wave outsider art object like
Gary Wilson’s album. Maybe they will even make money-after all,
Beck name checked him. Gary Wilson is a lovable freak you wanna
keep at arm’s length. From there you can gape at him grunting
about timeless concerns like girls, kissing and dirty parties
over a percolating backwash of synthesizers and funky bass. Imagine
a retarded Steely Dan crossed with John Trubee if he ever let
himself believe one of those snooty college girls might let him
touch her tit. "6.4 = Make Out" especially is brain
damaged perfection. When lured out of musical retirement-the scuttlebutt
is he’s been working in a "24 hour bookstore"-for an
early Knitting Factory Hollywood set in June, Wilson blew every
mind in the room by coming out coated in flour and making violent
love to a pair of nude mannequins, while a duct-tape wrapped manservant
regularly emerged to whiten him further. His voice sounded even
better than on the record, and you could almost taste the charisma
oozing off of him. The backing band was tremendous, but they couldn’t
detract from the evening’s clear star, still channeling insane
passion for girls who might even be grandmas by now. One of the
best half hours of rock and roll I’ve ever witnessed, and lets
hope it’s not his last.
Link Wray & the Wraymen Slinky! The Epic Sessions
’58-’61 double CD (Sundazed) Here’s every little thing the
raunchy string-bender and his trio waxed for Epic in the "Raw-Hide"
era, including 17 unreleased tracks. Those slow and nasty instros
are what put Link on the map, but don’t miss the scattering of
nutso vocal turns. Batty good stuff.
The Yardbirds Reunion Jam CD (Mooreland Street) Taken from some
early nineties shows the Dreja/McCarty Yardbirds played in London, this set
shows the group sticking close to the raw sound fans dig, yet clearly stretching
out and enjoying themselves. This sounds a lot more like the Yardbirds than
you’d ever expect, given the absence of all those famous guitarists and Keith