Sunday, April 17, 2011

Various Artists "Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Volume 1" USA / UK 1984

Last I checked, a couple of weeks ago, the three Flipside Vinyl Fanzines were not available online (this via my usual source of checking for online availability).  Some blogs had posted them all but the links seem to be down.  It looks like I'll be posting all of them in the coming weeks.

Of the three LPs this is likely the weakest, although it is an excellent time capsule with a few great tracks mixed in.  For those who don't know, there were two major punk zines in the US in the 1980s, which in the era before the internet and when long distance phone calls were still expensive (I sound like an old man!) became the main means of communication in the punkosphere.  One was Flipside, out of the Los Angeles area.  The other was MaximumRocknRoll out of the San Francisco area, which grew out of a college radio program to become the world's central punk resource.

Flipside was the older of the two, had the more "fun" image, was far less political and was more likely to cover music outside of the punk sphere and as time wore on its coverage edged into bands trying to "make it" in L.A, or even bands that had made it years earlier (I recall them covering Twisted Sister and Hawkwind).   It would cover even the odd hair/glam metal band and by the end of the decade had a glossy color cover and took ads from major labels.  MRR was and is the much-maligned heart of hardcore, especially political hardcore.  Always in stark black and white newsprint, it was political and focused on punk and had an editorial line and ad policies actively against music as an industry.  Contrary to popular belief, I think MRR did the best they could to cover many genres of punk-related rock until they got literally too many submissions to review each issue, and had to start drawing a line somewhere.  They would never have considered covering a hair metal band, but for years there were reviews of '60s garage re-releases, neo-surf and neo-garage bands, "crossover" metal and general weirdness like Butthole Surfers on top of the standard thrash and punk.

I was one of many people who read both every chance I could.  They were different but had some overlapping coverage area.  Between the two, reading the MRR reviews and the Flipside "Unclassifieds", you could stay in touch with people from all over the world, buying and trading music, zines etc.  The key was that both were dependable publications which came out like clockwork.  This was no small feat at the time.

The first of the three Flipside Vinyl Fanzines was released in 1984, and for the most part unlike the next two is a straight-ahead punk and hardcore affair.  By this time the novelty of early '80s hardcore speed was wearing a bit thin and within a couple of years the better bands diversified their sounds somewhat.  And that I think makes the next two records from the later '80s better.  All three albums have affixed to the front of each track a short sound sample from each band, who sound like they had a microphone shoved in front of them and were asked on little or no notice to record a message to the kids out there for the album, which ends up being for posterity.  The next two albums feature some experimental playfulness with this concept, leading me to think that people had more notice and were recording something they knew would be a memorable chunk of their bands' legacies.

As best as I can recall only British punk veterans G.B.H. are not Americans.

Side 1

1 The Dickies "Gigantor" (Live Cleveland Agoura)
2 Government Issue "Religious Ripoff"
3 The Freeze "No One Is Ever Coming Home"
4 White Flag "Question of Intelligence"
5 Kraut "Flossing with an E String"
6 F "Attack"
7 Plain Wrap "Meat Between the Treads"
8 Flag of Democracy "Madhouse"
9 TSOL "Suppose They Gave A War ..."
10 Adrenalin O.D. "Me Three Bunch"

Side 2

11 Scream "Fight"
12 The Undead "In '84"
13 FU’s "Warlords" (Live on WERS FM Boston)
14 Black Market Baby "Total Waste"
15 Psycho "Master Race"
16 Gay Cowboys in Bondage "Domestic Battlefield"
17 Borscht "Suburbia"
18 Anti-Scrunti Faction "Big Women"
19 G.B.H. "Give Me Fire" (Live At Perkins Palace, Pasadena)


Flip!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dynastie Crisis "Vivre libre" b/w "Faust 72" France 1972

It was my intention to post a compilation this past weekend, but I was hit with a computer virus that took me most of the weekend to clean out of my machine.  I have a backlog of LPs to post, mostly compilations, but editing and labeling those audio files takes a lot of time, so for now here's a single and I hope to post an LP this coming weekend.

It would be nice to claim that this was a cool find on a trip or at a flea market, but it was simply an eBay purchase that I was the sole bidder on.

With a bunch of hair farmers and one baldhead, these guys look a bit like Spirit, and honestly given the variety of sounds that classic band gave us these guys can be said to sound something like them in places as well.  For some reason many French, Italian and other Romance language speakers seemed to have trouble producing rock'n'roll rhythms smoothly in the '60s, and although some gems were produced from those countries, early on many of the records from southern Europe up through the garage era sound awkward to me in a sense I have trouble describing.  Something about the rhythm section is often just a little bit off, as if the musicians had rock'n'roll verbally described to them once without ever hearing it in person.  (I sometimes think this is somehow related to language as Germanic and Slavic and some other speakers don't seem to have had these problems for the most part, but on the other hand neither did Latin Americans, so who knows...)  Many of my favorite '60s French recordings are things like Serge Gainsbourg productions that aren't really even trying to replicate straight rock'n'roll.  Once we get to the '70s and harder rock and prog, the different groove that France was in actually seems to have worked for them and produced some cool sounds.

The A-side here has some interesting percussion in a good way, almost Latin, and the addition of some flute puts this in the mid-ground between any hard rock early '70s band, Santana and Jethro Tull.  The B-side is even better, a blend of hard rock and prog with interesting keyboard sounds.

The band was only together for a few years, releasing only two studio albums.  More info here.

Live free or die.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Various Artists "Exploiting Plastic Inevitable: Lesson II" LP international 1960s/1970s

Full title: Exploiting Plastic Inevitable: Lesson II Globular Lightning

One of the great things about the internet is how people with similar interests in different parts of the world can become connected when otherwise they would never find each other.  That's the story with this album.

Shortly after posting the rare first volume of these two compilations, my post got some comments from one of the German fellows who put them together.  One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was proud owner of an untouched copy of one of only 700 of these follow-up compilations pressed back in 1996.  A couple of months ago I didn't even know this existed.

So Vielen Dank! to my German source.  The idea was that this was going to be the first time this rarity was posted by anyone, but as luck would have it the excellent blog Paradise of Garage Comps beat me to it by a few weeks.  Seeing the effort that went into getting this LP as far as it came, I'm going to plow ahead and post it again myself.  Two sources for something this scarce can't hurt.  (And yes, this is my vinyl rip... first time the album was played!)

Once again this album is composed of some fantastic garage and psych rarities from literally all over the world, spanning the mid-'60s through the early '70s.

Side 1

1 Les Problemes - Dodecaphonie (Puteaux, France)
2 Brains Ltd. - Change Your Life (Hamburg, Germany)
3 Adam's Boys - Get Away From Me (Athens, Greece)
4 Hide and Seek - Riven Street (Austria)
5 Los Vidrios Quebrados - Que Importa El Tiempo (Chile)
6 Rob De Neys - Bye Bye Mrs. Turple (Amsterdam, Holland)
7 John Wonderling - Man Of Straw (NY, U.S.A.)
8 The Nicols - She Has A Name To Find Out (The Hague, Holland)
9 Ganim's Asia Minors - Daddy Lolo (New York, NY, U.S.A.)


Side 2
1 The Rope Sect - Dae Du Dae (Villingen, Germany)
2 Tom Dae Turned On - I Shall Walk (Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)
3 Berry Clan & The Pollution - My Crock (Belgium)
4 Revolver - I'm Down (Israel)
5 Ram & Sel - Screw You (Sheffield, U.K.)
6 Illes - Nem Erdekel, Amit Monsz (Hungary)

Take a trip!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lalo Schifrin "Theme from Enter the Dragon" soundtrack 45 USA/Argentina 1973

It's a busy weekend and I only have time to post a single this week, although there are a lot of great LPs I have lined up for you folks in the coming weeks.  We'll be getting back to more '60s/'70s rock soon, including some rare compilations I think people will love.  It takes more time to edit an LP into mp3s and do the track listings, especially with compilations.

Here's something a little different, two Lalo Schifrin compositions from the soundtrack of the classic 1973 kung fu flick Enter the Dragon.  Schifrin is from Argentina, and has been involved in both classical music and pop movie and TV soundtracks in L.A. for deacdes.

I much prefer the A-side, which is an up-tempo funk/orchestral pop track punctuated by some awesome '70s kung fu screams.  You can enjoy this with or without irony.  The B-side, "The Big Battle", sounds like the composer was told "OK, we need a song for a long fight sequence... make it sound something like the main theme, but like it could be coming to a climax at any point... but don't do that, just keep it going..."  This was a thrift store find and I likely paid 25 cents for it.

Them kids was fast as lightnin'.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fox "Only You Can" b/w "Out of My Body" UK/USA/Australia/Ireland 1974

Here's another one of those singles that I thought was a rarity, but is just relatively unknown in the United States.  This song hit #2 on the West German and #3 on the UK pop charts in '74, but at only #53 here in the US this is never going to get played on any commercial radio station.  My copy is a German pressing on the GTO label.

Fox was a multinational band put together by American songwriter/producer Kenny Young, and featured Australian Susan Traynor (using the stage name "Noosha Fox") on vocals, which in her case includes suggestive inhaling.

The hit has a loping beat, a softer side of dance-able glam-pop number that approaches, but never reaches, a reggae grove.  I bet they dug this at Rodney Bingehheimer's English Disco.  The B-side is more a psych-pop by way of glam ballad track and has quite the lysergic lyric, although if I had to pick a drug that was in the studio at the time I'd have to go quaaludes.  Despite - or is it because of? - this description I like both sides.  Now I'd like to hear the '75 LP.

Get out of your body.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Marie Laforêt "Vol. 3" LP France 1967

This album was purchased a few weeks back at the same record fair where I picked up this stunning Czech record.  I bought this from a Quebecois guy who came down to sell some records, and I'm glad he was there.  Because I have the first couple of Pop à Paris CD compilations, I recognized the name, and more important the first track on the album, an awesome cover (with an unrelated rewritten French lyric) of the Stones' "Paint It Black."  If you haven't heard this yet do yourself a favor and give it a listen.  It might well be better than the original.  She certainly has a better voice than Mr. Jagger.

That song plus the "Sounds of Silence" cover make the LP worth having by themselves.  As a bonus you get 10 more songs by Ms. Laforêt, mostly orchestral pop-folk of the sort the yé-yé ladies were cranking out by the boatload in the '60s.

You can read about her career in music and movies - both of which she tossed aside for the visual arts - here or if you parlez the French here.  She's also left France and is now a Swiss citizen.  Apparently this is one of 7 roughly annual consecutive albums up through 1970 titled by number, putting her in the same league as Chicago and The Soft Machine in the competition for World's Most Imaginitive Album Titles.  The nice Canadian fellow had a few of the others, and despite him giving me a bit of a price break for actually knowing what I was buying, and trying out my college French, I had only so much cash to spend that day, and this album will have to do for the time being.

Incidentally Marie- douceur, Marie-colère translates as "Sweet Mary/Pissed Off Mary" or something to that effect. Also of interest: she had a euro-hit in 1977 with Il a neigé sur Yesterday ("It Snowed [on] Yesterday"), an homage to The Beatles which is...um... yeah, I won't be posting that.

Face 1

Marie- douceur, Marie-colère
Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes
La voix du silence
Siffle, siffle ma fille
Ma chanson faite pour toi
La plage

Face 2

Toi qui dors
La moisson
Je t'attends
Après toi qui sait
La tendresse
L'arbre qui pleure

Oui!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Various Artists "The ARP Family of Synthesizers" 7" EP USA 197?

This 7" 33 1/3 record was pressed in order to sell ARP synthesizers to the public.  It wouldn't be surprising to me if this were given out for free or for postage, in stores or through mail order.

My copy is a little beaten up, and I bought this in a thrift store in a plain paper sleeve, probably for 25 cents.  As I don't have a picture sleeve and there's no date on the record, the best I can date it is to c. 1972 if the statement on the A side that the Who's Next album was "recent" is accurate.

Side A is basic narration by Roger Powell about the ARP instruments and samples of their use.  The B side has some music samples from Powell and Dave Fredericks, both of whom had synthesizer records out at the time.  The first tracks I would describe as jazz fusion and ambient/easy listening, but the winners for me are the two brief final tracks, which are respectively cosmic experimental '70s bloop-blorp and one of those silly Moog-pop-type songs which sounds like the cartoon theme for an idiot character.  I don't know how else to describe it, but it makes me smile despite myself.

We'll be back to some rock in the next post.  In the meantime, enjoy this little tutorial that explains in part how the '70s sounded so interstellar, man.  Oh, here's a great list of acts that used ARP instruments.  It might have been easier to compile a list of who didn't!  Also check out this tribute page to the instruments.

Side 1

"The ARP Family of Synthesizers" - Roger Powell

Side 2

"Stinger" - Dave Fredericks
"Queene Efineska" - Roger Powell
"Hermetic Enigma" - Roger Powell (both Powell tracks on the 1973 Cosmic Furnace album)
"Mockingbird Hill" - Dave Fredericks

Bloop-blorp.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Various Artists "Killed by Glam 2: 14 Euro Glam Rock Gems" LP international 1970s

This LP came out within the last couple of years on the MoonBoot label out of London. The first volume is all British bands and I'd love to hear that if anyone out there has it. This is all pretty killer '70s glam from continental Europe as the title suggests. Not much more I can add to that. If you like that genre, you'll love this. If you're a sucker for cheesy '70s electronic effects mixed into stomping rock tracks like I am, you'll love it even more.

Unfortunately my copy seems to have a couple of minor flaws in the pressing that cause brief skips in the first couple of tracks. (The obvious way to avoid this is for you to track down the CD or another vinyl copy like this and buy it.)

Overall this is a very nice job of presenting the music - very clean sound, and color reproductions of the 45 sleeves on the reverse with brief liner notes.

Side A

01. Rocket Men - "Rocket Man" (France 1974)
02. Sharaton - "Caught in the Act" (Netherlands 1974)
03. Mabel - "Hey, I love you!" (Denmark 1976)
04. Tiger B. Smith - "Morning Bird" (West Germany 1974)
05. Nicky Bulldog - "Chewingum Rock" (Italy? 1976)
06. House Of Lilly - "Turn Around" (Switzerland? 1973)
07. Walkers - "Fire" (Denmark 1973)

Side B

08. Funky Family - "Part of My Life" (West Germany 1973)
09. Black Fire - "Come On and Do It" (Netherlands 1975)
10. La Strana Societa - "Vento che soffi" (Italy 1973)
11. Lennart Messagie & Dagleth - "You Can Make It Better" (Belgium 1975)
12. Blue Vamp - "Jolly Dolly" (France 1974)
13. Tears - "Ooh Lah" (Sweden 1974)
14. The Killer - "Say Goodbye" (Netherlands 1975)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Various Artists "Radio Bond-Age" LP France 1980s

This cool compilation consists almost entirely of French bands of the 1980s.  Although I believe it was released in 1989, much of the material here dates from in some cases as many as 5 or more years earlier as it was meant to promote a number of releases on the Bondage label out of Paris.

It is one of the most impressive packaging jobs I've ever seen on a true indie release, with an elaborate glossy color gatefold cover and informative English language liner notes.  It seems the album was meant to introduce some French acts to an English-speaking audience.  This was one of the records I most had in mind to post when starting the blog.

There's a mix of punk and related genres, steering clear of the hardcore/thrash scene that also existed in Paris at the time.  You have fairly melodic art punk from (relatively) famous bands such as Bérurier Noir and Ludwig von 88, known for their artsy political stage shows, as well as several other inconnus that take things in a number of post-punk directions, ranging from the twisted folk of Les Nonnes Troppo (who dressed as nuns) and Les Endimanches...to the hip hop-inspired sampling of No Vision, a group that apparently grew out of a "graffiti crew."  Expect from the best tracks some combination of demented B-52s, a touch of Cramps and standard melodic '80s punk sounds along with horns, accordion, and a variety of other instruments.  I can pretty much guarantee that everyone will like some of this and very few will like all of it.

The one non-French band on the LP is The Lords of the New Church, a "supergroup" American/British post-punk band composed of former members of The Dead Boys, Sham 69, The Barracudas and a number of other projects, who had at least one release on the Bongade label and were the first non-French band on their roster.

I bought this in a used record store in Philadelphia in about 1989 or so and haven't seen a copy since.

Face A

"Ready Ready Go Punk Rockers" - The Brigades
"Jardin Potager" - Les Endimanches
"Guerriers Balubas" - Ludwig von 88
"Nuit Apache" - Bérurier Noir
"I Love You - Fuck Off" - Lucrate Milk
"Les Voisins du dessus" - Les Satellites
"Pizza Attack" - Washington Dead Cats

Face B

"Hotel du Labrador" - Messageros Killers Boys
"Le Roi de la route" - Les Nonnes Troppo
"Pop SIDA" - Les PPI (Pervers Polymorphes Inorganises)
"Je suis un evade" - Nuclear Device
"Death Penalty" - No Vision
"Real Bad Time" - The Lords of the New Church

Vive le rock!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Les Luths "Joey" b/w "Smokey Dog" Canada 1969

This single goes for some ridiculous prices online and is featured on at least one digital collection of French Canadian garage rock.  My copy came without a picture sleeve, is a little beaten up and I forget where I bought it, but in all likelihood in an American thrift store for less than $1.

"Joey" is listed as the A-side online but sounds a bit more like a B-side to me.  It's part of the way between a '50s doo wop track and the Stones' "Time Is On My Side."  The B-side is the up-tempo rocker, a mix of Chuck Berry, any '60s garage band and maybe, because of the aggressive, cutting lead guitar, a touch of The Stooges.  "Smokey Dog" is the second song featured on this blog with barking.

Les Luths is French for "The Lutes."  From what little internet research I just did they might be the better known Quebecois band Les Lutins with a bit of a name change toward the end of their career, but I could be completely wrong about that.  I'm sure someone out there in cyberspace will correct me.

Allons-y!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Various Artists "Talkin' Trash!" LP USA 1954-1963

Full title: "Talkin' Trash!: Greasy Rhythm & Blues with Attitude! 1954-63"

I've had this album roughly a decade and likely bought it at a used record store in Philadelphia.  It's a bootleg on the Greasy label, apparently catalog number "R&B5463". although this formula is clearly just a description of the contents.  Not much info of any sort on the album.

It's just what the title says, a very down'n'dirty roots r'n'b slice of lesser known African-American popular music from the mid-'50s through the early '60s.  Influences come sometimes a bit more from the gospel side of things and some a bit more from the craps game in an alley behind the bar.  In either event this is real, formative rock'n'roll with energetic performances and fun lyrics.  If it doesn't make you smile I would seek medical attention.

Most compelling is the story of The Honeybears' "Whoa!", in which our lyricist passes out from drink in a local watering hole only to have a cork - and I certainly hope I'm hearing the word cork - shoved up his bunghole.  When your parents say "they don't write 'em like they used to", I would point to this song.

The two most famous performers here are the venerable Pigmeat Markham, who scored a huge novelty hit in the late '60s with "Here Comes the Judge", and Rudy Ray Moore, best known as a blaxploitation film actor (Dolemite).

Put the cork in the bunghole!

Side One

"Talkin' Trash" - The Olympics
"Your Wire's Been Tapped" - Pigmeat Markham
"Alley Rat" - King Coleman
"The Hunt" - Sonny Boy
"Didn't It Rain" - Evelyn Freeman
"Homeboy" - Mr. Wiggles
"One Bad Stud" - The Honeybears
"Let a Woman Through" - Morine & The Zercons
"Pork Chops" - The Dorsets

Side Two

"Roll Dem Bones" - John Tee
"Look to Jesus" - Reverend Lofton & The Holy Travellers
"Show Me Where It's At" - Morine & The Zercons
"Ugly George" - Melvin Smith
"I No Longer Believe in Miracles" - Ada Ray
"Whoa!" - The Honeybears
"One Bone" - Claude Cloud
"Hobo" - Earl Curry
"Step It Up and Go" - Rudy Ray Moore

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mike Roger and His Machine Guns "Dance the Slop" 45 West Germany 1963

Part of what I'm trying to do on the blog is present vinyl rips of material that I have not seen on other blogs.  I've been visiting dozens of high quality blogs pretty regularly for more than 5 years, and I tend to have a pretty good memory for what I have and haven't seen available.

The plan for today was to post the Mike Roger and His Machine Guns song "Dance the Slop" and the similar, German-language B-side.  The accent of "Mike Roger" would tell any native speaker of English that that was not the man's birth name.  In trying to figure that out and trying to figure out if the record were from Germany or elsewhere in Europe (my copy, bought in an American record store years ago for $3, has no picture sleeve) and get a release year for it, after recording mp3s of the single I did a (very) little research.

Immediately I discovered that the 45 has already been posted on the excellent Berlin Beatet Bestes blog, which I had somehow forgotten about and has now been added to the blogroll at right.  I'll send you there to hear the music, see the pic sleeve - which is more than I can provide - and get the whole story on the so-called "Mike Roger."  Since this was my planned post for the day and I already did most of the work necessary to provide it only to discover that someone else did a better post than I could... that's going to be my updated content for today.  I'm sure that Andreas will appreciate the traffic; he does an excellent job with the records he presents.

This weekend I will be posting at least one LP that I have never seen available at any blog, so be sure to visit again in a few days for that!  From now on I search for the record first and work on the post later!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Various Artists "Exploiting Plastic Inevitable" LP international 1960s

Full title: Exploiting Plastic Inevitable: Lesson 1, World Wildlife Soundation.  This is a rare and great compilation of garage (on the "Drinking" side) and psych (on the "Smoking" side) from all over the world.  There is a second volume out there which I believe was also limited to 700 copies, and I'd love to get my hands on a copy of that or at least hear the music if anyone out there has one (hint, hint to other bloggers!).  These releases appear to have been pressed around 1995, and I likely bought this in a used record store shortly thereafter.

The claim is that this is Yahoo Records 009; I'd certainly be interested in what the 8 previous records were if they exist.  [See Comments below... Yahoo is the German guys who do the Prae-Kraut Pandemonium series .] The few photos of this I've seen online have a yellow cover, so I feel special with my blue construction paper one.  The title is obviously derived from the Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground Exploding Plastic Inevitable events, which I believe is what was satired in one scene in the movie Midnight Cowboy.

The music selections are mostly excellent and psych/garage collectors will certainly recognize some of the bigger names.  Most songs are originals, but there are a few covers (of Bo Diddley, Lothar & The Hand People, John Lee Hooker, The Easybeats) and the Los Yorks track is at least initially derived from the Kinks' instrumental "Revenge."  Some tracks have appeared on other, better-known collections, but others I've only heard on this release.  The Sir Henry & His Butlers track has appeared elsewhere, but I've heard it comped before with the piano coda missing, so this might be a different edit that was for a different format/release.

A couple of items in the tracklist below are altered from the info in the liner notes.  I believe the multinational Rhythm Checkers also had a Luxembourg connection [it turns out I am wrong about this - see Comments!] and The Cedars (a.k.a. The Sea-ders) were Lebanese but are identified on this LP and sometimes elsewhere as being Israeli, which I would imagine would bother them some, especially with the cedar tree being the national symbol of Lebanon.  It'd be like calling a band with the name The Stars of David "Jordanian."  Note also that as the name "Diaz" suggests, Danny Diaz and The Checkmates were Filipino, not Chinese, and worked in Hong Kong.  Blogger kept my Labels (below) for the post to 20, so unfortunately I had to leave out a few countries.

Also of interest: Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band was a project of Norman Greenbaum a couple of years before his massive hit "Spirit in the Sky."

Smoking Side
1 "Jigsaw" - Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band (USA)
2 "I'm Looking in the Universe" - The Rabbits (Greece)
3 "Hard Work" - Mogollar (Turkey)
4 "Machines" - The Cool Cats (Norway)
5 "For Your Information" - The Cedars (Lebanon)
6 "19.8" - Los Walkers (Argentina)
7 "Pretty Style" - Sir Henry & His Butlers (Denmark)
8 "Mira tu" - Los Yorks (Peru)


Drinking Side

1 "Pills" - Shorty and Them (UK)
2 "Clock on the Wall" - The Guess Who (Canada)
3 "She's So Fine" - Danny Diaz & The Checkmates (Philippines / Hong Kong)
4 "Far Away" - The Countdowns (Switzerland)
5 "Yo grito" - Los Sirex (Spain)
6 "'Cause I Need You" - The Rhythm Checkers (West Germany /France)
7 "We Are Happy" - The Seasons (Chile)
8 "You Don't Love Me at All" - The Moonjacks (Sweden)
9 "Boom Boom" - The Tempters (Japan)

Smoke and drink.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sue Saad and The Next "Gimmie Love / Gimmie Pain" b/w "It's Gotcha" USA 1980

Just doing a quick post today so excuse the somewhat blurry photo.  This is an Italian release of a single by a California band.  And, yes, this means yet another single from the 4 for 10 euro stack bought in Rome several weeks back at a used bookstore.

Sue Saad and The Next have a detailed Wikipedia page, which I refer you to for their history.  They released one album and a few singles, none of which charted in the top 100 anywhere.  A career highlight appears to have been their work in the 1980 movie Roadie, both on the soundtrack and in the film.

The sleeve announces in English that this is the Sound of the '80s and then in Italian I believe it says that this is "changing the colors of rock", both of which are overstatements.  The label is Planet Records.

The band has a very New Wave look, a little too polished to be quite punk.  This also describes the music, at least on the A side.  Sue herself has a nice commercial mainstream rock voice and despite a very punk title "Gimmie..." sounds like some mixture of ... let's say... The Knack, Blondie and maybe Heart with a familiar touch of any commercially succesful rock or even country female vocalist the past few decades.  Not bad rock but nothing to get too excited over.

The B side is much faster and more in a punk direction, although the production and performance are too clean for this to be included on any Killed by Death compilation.  Still worth a spin and the main reason that I'm posting this at all.

Gotcha.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Petra Janů & Pro-Rock "Exploduj!" LP - Czechoslovakia 1979

This LP was purchased yesterday at a record show in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia, and has leapfrogged several other records I had in mind to be today's post ... because you need to hear this now!  It's rare when an album meets up to the expectations of cover art and photos this far out there.  Back cover photo posted below.

This is a pretty wild, often punk-intensity, hard-rocking psych-prog release with the odd orchestral and/or synth passage.  I could see it appealing to fans of several genres.  It was a release on the state Supraphon label, which seems to still be in operation in some form.  Lyrics are in Czech; there appears to be a futuristic/space thing going on here but this isn't a language I understand.  Since the '60s and up through the Velvet Revolution, Prague has had a reputation for harboring an avant garde arts scene which has crossed over into popular music and included socially relevant bands such as Plastic People of the Universe.  That makes the presence of this sort of release less surprising coming from that corner of the world.

Ms. Janů, who might have been born Jana Petrů if I'm reading this Czech social networking site's info correctly (it looks like you might be able to contact her directly!) has been active in the Czech music scene since the mid-'70s.  She has a discography here - this appears to be the second album and I'd love to hear the first.  She's been performing the title track from the first album as recently as last year - and in the US!

Note that I'm categorizing records based in the country that existed at the time of their release.  Note also that my track listings are missing some of the diacritical marks over certain letters required by the Czech language.  I figure you either knew what was meant if you can read it or you wouldn't understand it anyway, so I'd save myself a bit of effort.

There's a whole lot going on with this album and in some ways I feel in hearing this as I did upon hearing Os Mutantes (which this does not sound like) for the first time... a bit pleasantly disoriented, amazed that this exists, that it could be this good and this unknown here mostly because of language, cultural (i.e. the refusal of most English speakers to listen to music in other languages), political and probably economic barriers.  Similarly I think the variety of influences is going to make this interesting listening for years to come.

Czech it out.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spinach - "America-America" b/w "Rhythm of Love" - Italy / West Germany 1970

This is one of the few items I'll be posting that was purchased on eBay, in this case probably a decade ago.  I recall this not being cheap for a single - I'll bet close to $20 with postage.

Here we have one of the many projects of alpine/German-speaking Italy's producer Giorgio Moroder (his official site is down unfortunately), who began producing rock and pop in Europe in the mid-'60s, rode and popularized a number of trends including bubblegum pop, electronic pop and proto-glam, and found huge success as a disco producer (Diana Ross) in the late '70s.  He was a big proponent and composer of electronic music, which led to his composition of over 100 film and TV soundtracks.  Apparently he's living in Beverly Hills these days, penning tunes for Hollywood's crap factory.


Earlier on the soundtrack work was interesting electronic stuff (Midnight Express), but by the '80s this went pretty mainstream schlock (Top Gun), where things likely sit today.  Between 1966-1971 or so there are dozens of singles out there which are his work, mostly pretty cool crazed bubblegum/garage stuff typically with a mangled English lyric.  Often the projects are attributed to his first name or are called "Giorgio & The... [pick a band name]."  Check out this very detailed discography.


Spinach dates it appears from his Munich producing and composing days, which is a very good thing for us.  Side A is a bubblegum piece with a lyric about the stereotypical USA; it sold over 400,000 copies in Japan in the early '70s.  (There is a 1973 Japanese LP of this material which is likely not cheap.  Anyone heard it?)  The B side has more interesting percussion and some of the early synth sound that would come to dominate his work in the coming years.


Noteworthy is the naked woman covered in leaf spinach on the front cover, and a horrid enough view on the back cover of Moroder and his partner in this project, Michael Holm, dressed pretty much as the Festrunk Brothers, the wild'n'crazy guys of early Saturday Night Live fame.  It would be wrong of me not to include a photo of that as well.  You know they just want to get down and make funky with a couple of swinging American foxes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Various Artists "Guitar Mood" LP - international 1960s

This is the first LP I'm posting.  Most of the albums I'll be putting up are rarish compilations released in the past 30 years of even earlier and rarer music.  I don't own many original LPs by single artists that haven't been posted on other blogs, but I do have some and they will be posted eventually too.

This album is a bit of a mystery, with no label listed, not even a one-time joke label name as some compilers might use.  The notes suggest that the release is from France.  There are minimal liner notes on the back cover, and in cases where the compilers speculate I added question marks to the info below.  I believe I bought this at a used record store here in the US, likely for around $10, roughly 5-8 years ago.  I don't know when it was released.

The subtitle is Quite a Collection of Rare Instrumentals from Around the World!  This is an above average surf compilation, with tracks ranging from competent to excellent.  Recommended for fans of the Strummin' Mental series, although these tracks are less frantic and gimmicky, and the sound quality is better.

Of special note are the tracks by Japanese guitar god Takeshi Terauchi; these are reworkings of Japanese folk songs apparently.  "Tsugaru Jongara Bushi" might be the coolest instrumental I've ever heard.  The track "Damaged Goods" according to the compilers was The Ventures recording anonymously for the soundtrack of an STD instructional film.  Don't know if that's true but I'd like to believe it!

Side One:

"Tsugaru Jongara Bushi" - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans (Japan)
"Limonsa de amores" - Los Relampagos (Spain)
"Damaged Goods" - Ventures? (USA)
"Spatial Slow" - Les Guitares (France)
"Rising Guitar" - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans
"The Big Scroungy" - The Tronics (USA?)
"Hay quien dice de Jaen" - Los Relampagos
"Changhai" - Les Frangins (Belgium)

Side Two:

"Nit de llampecs" - Los Relampagos
"Moscow Guitar" - The Jokers (Netherlands is what the compilers said, a commenter says they were Belgian)
"Johnny on His Strings" - Electric Johnny & His Skyrockets (Indonesia/Netherlands)
"Sentimental Guitar" - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans
"Java Guitar" - Timebreakers (Indonesia/Netherlands)
"Galaxie" - Les Guitares
"So-Ran Bushi" - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans
"El Cumbanchero" - The Jokers

Bonzai!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bulldog "Doggy Doggy" b/w "Where Did She Go" - UK 1975

Another single from the 4 for 10 euro stack purchased in Rome, and again I was hoping for something a little more glam and got something more on the pop end.

There is no info on the sleeve about any band, and I suspect that this was a studio project hoping to score a novelty hit.  Songs were compsed by "A. Taylor" on the Blue Jean label, and distributed by "Spark It." (Italia?).  It seems safe to assume this is British.

The A-side reminds me of the George Baker Selection hit "Paloma Blanca", only with barking.  Seriously.  There's barking.  The B-side is filler, an Elvis impersonator-type goof on '50s rock'n'roll/pop that sounds like a Bonzo Dog or Move joke track.

Woof! Woof!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doldrums - 4 song 7" EP - USA 1988

The most modern entry on the blog thus far is the first (and possibly rarest?) record put out by the Gainesville, Florida punk label No Idea.  This apparently untitled 7" EP was included in an issue of No Idea zine, which is still around and has an extensive website and huge roster of bands.  I probably bought the zine with this as an inclusion in 1988.

Unfortunately one of the first things listed in tracking down the band via search engine is the premature obituary of guitarist Russ Johnson, who passed in 2010.  He seems to have been a staple in the Gainesville music scene.

"... those who knew and performed with Johnson, or were touched by the music he made in bands in Gainesville's early punk era of the 1980s, will remember him as a nearly unstoppable presence on a scene for which he had undeniable impact.

The guitarist played in a host of groups including Stabilizer, All Star 69 and Dredge but is perhaps best known for playing in Doldrums, a band that played between 1986 and 1988 and were featured on the first, 7-inch EP produced by No Idea Records in the zine that formed the beginnings of the Gainesville record label in the mid-'80s.

“They were the obvious first choice (on which to feature an EP) because they were the band that locally brought everyone together,” said Var Thelin, founder and owner of No Idea Records. “They would bring in punk kids and they were bringing in kids who were leaning more toward metal; they had that fusion of hard- core and hard-rock, especially early on,” Thelin said."

There's no doubt that with the fuller than usual production and metal riffing this will appeal to NWOBHM fans as well as hardcore fans.  That's twice today I've been all excited about researching who the people were behind the music only to find out about a premature death.  It's probably best to just leave off of the posting for the day.

Guy Bedos et Sophie Daumier "La drague" b/w "Private-Club" - France 1973

This is another of the singles I bought at a second-hand store in Paris for a very small sum, probably 1 euro.  It's in excellent condition.

My college French told me that the A-side translated as "The Pick-Up" so I figured this would be a keeper.  It's pretty close to what I expected, a generally similar track to the scandalous Serge Gainsbourg / Jane Birkin classic and international hit "Je t'aime... moi non plus."  Only this isn't as good and there aren't the moaning sounds.

In fact this is less a couple of songs per se than a spoken word/comedy novelty item with minimal background music, especially the B-side which sounds to have been recorded live at some dinner theater-type venue.  This will likely have limited appeal for non-francophone readers unless you want some background sounds for your swingin' retro cocktail party.  Honestly a lot of this dialog goes by so quickly that I'm missing a third of the content and most of the jokes.  I find the B-side especially hard to follow.  If someone who understands more would like to comment on the content, please do.

So, who are these people?  "Guy Bedos (born June 15, 1934, in French Algeria) is an actor and stand-up comedian, mostly known in France for his part in the film Nous irons tous au paradis.  He is also famous for his left-wing political affiliation and support to politicians such as François Mitterrand."

"Sophie Daumier (24 November 1934 – 1 January 2004) was a French film actress. She appeared in 28 films between '56-'79.  She was born as Elisabeth Hugon ... the daughter of composer Georges Hugon. She was married to Guy Bedos from 1965 to 1977; the marriage ended in divorce."

Divorced and then dead... this is turning out to be one downer of a post, huh?

Remember better times here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Matia Bazar "Play Boy" b/w "Tu simplicita" - Italy 1978

Antonella Ruggiero began recording as "Matia" in 1974 and formed the band Matia Bazar (meaning simply "Matia Bazaar" in English) a couple of years later, in Genoa.  The band represented Italy in the 1979 Eurovision song contest, and had one #1 hit in Italy and Belgium (this is not it).  I don't think anyone in the US knows them.


Here is an extensive and quite cool official band site, here is their Wikipedia entry and here is a Russian-language fan site.  The official site also has a Russian option, so they must have a following there as well.


I had never heard of them until stumbling across this single in a second-hand store in Paris a couple of years ago, where I picked it up for 1 or 2 euro.  I bought a handful of other European discs with more obvious appeal (glam and surf) there that day, and a few will more will be posted here.  My copy is a French pressing although the lyric on both sides is in Italian.


The five-people-taking-a-bubble-bath cover led me to the purchase, and frankly at the price asked I didn't care much what the record sounded like.  As a bonus the music is quite good, the A-side despite the high-pitched female vocal reminds me of a later period George Martin-arranged Beatles song in a number of ways, down to a very George Harrison-style brief guitar solo.  The "kazoo" backing vocals especially make this sound like a song that would fit in with the early '70s "toytown" pop compilations that have been popular with psych fans in recent years, and I'm surprised that people were still turning out that kind of music several years later.


The B-side is a bit more sedate but also a nice pop tune that I would have guessed was recorded at least 5 years earlier.  Quality stuff.


Give it a listen!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nass el Ghiwane / ناس الغيوان "New Dervich" 45 - Morocco 1972

What tropicalia is to Brazil, the 1970s pop drawn from the Gnawa tradition is to Morocco.  One of the two big bands dating from the 1970s that led the movement was Nass El Ghiwane (link to their blog, in French).

"American film director Martin Scorcese once referred to them as The Rolling Stones of Africa. Their music merges the traditional music of Morocco with modern subjects. ... Nass el Ghiwane was formed in the late 60's by four young men from the poor district of Hay el Mohammadi in industrial Casablanca. ... Nass el Ghiwane specialized in writing colloquial poetry about topics related to the social and political climate, and arranging its music in the Moroccan tradition. ... In a time where the only music available was middle-eastern pop music that sang about love, Nass el Ghiwane had prepared something new for Morocco: they mixed the Sufi chants and litanies of Zaouias ... with the elegant colloquial poetry of Melhoun adding to it the ancient rhythms of the Berbers and the healing dances of the mystical Gnawas. Morocco has just had its independence from the French and its population, still uncertain of what the future is hiding, was shocked and moved by the texts of Nass el Ghiwane: corruption, injustice and degradation of society. They were the first Moroccan band to mix such a diverse and rich heritage and to speak their minds even about the most forbidden subjects, public discussion of which may have led to imprisonment at that time."  (See their Wikipedia entry for more.)

This record is from 1972, two years before the death of Boujemaa Hagour, who is described often as the leader or main initial creative force in the group.  Every time I spoke with a Moroccan music shop owner about this group, the owner would point him out in CD photos as "the one who died."  I bought this disc last year in an amazing music store in Essaouira called Bob Music, which is accurately described in some detail over at the Crud Crud blog (get yourself to the July 2010 entries).

This and a couple of the other records I'll probably post in the future are likely the very same ones that were mentioned there as too beaten up to be worth buying.  I likely overpaid for this at about US $10, but the same shop owner let me have some quality CDs at very low prices and I wasn't about to complain.  I enjoy even having the sleeve of something this cool.

This is one of my all-time favorite covers on a single, with striking colors and graphics.  The sound quality on this even after cleaning it is fairly rough; hope you like pops and crackles.  I suggest buying yourself a compilation or two of the band's releases, as I have, if this strikes your fancy.

Listen here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Julie Felix "Heaven Is Here" b/w "Soon" - UK/USA 1970

It's exciting how much music is out there.  No matter how much I think I know, there are always new artists and even whole genres to dig into of which I was previously unaware.

This is yet another one of the 7" discs I picked up in Rome at a used bookshop 4 per 10 euro.  Like the Chris Spedding single I opened the blog with, I picked this up in part because it was a Mickie Most/Rak label production.  This is the second post on the blog already of an Italian pressing of a single I assumed was a British artist, but is an American who had been working in Britain for a substantial period, becoming better known there than here.

I'm too young to have caught the '60s, but I have a pretty massive collection of '60s recordings, and you would think that I would be familiar with Julie Felix for one of any number of reasons.  The cover art plus the year gave me a pretty good idea of what this was going to sound like while I was still in the store, not knowing the name.

She played the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969, recorded several (mostly folk) albums in the UK beginning in 1964, was the resident singer for David Frost's BBC show, had her own TV show where she hosted performances of The Kinks, Jimmy Page (check out this video!) and Leonard Cohen.  This was the second Top 40 hit (#22) of hers in the UK for 1970.

Yet I'd never heard of her!  Ms. Felix is American but has lived in Britain for about 50 years.  She has an extensive website with info about her ongoing performances, ways to order CDs that cover a lot of her material spread over some years, and even join her fan club.

"Heaven Is Here" is an excellent pop-folk-rocker that Americans should hear.  The B-side is an OK typical B-side, providing a more introspective, slower song.  At times when Felix is really belting it out her voice reminds me of Joan Baez, but that's a starting point of reference and she has her own sound.

Give it a listen.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Naked - "One Step Forward Towards Reality" 7" EP - UK 1983

At long last, the first truly punk post of the blog.  This EP is on the Bluurg label, which has been continuously putting out punk since 1980, likely making it one of the oldest operating DIY labels on Earth.

If you follow the link to the label above, they have a CD out with what I'm sure is a better quality version of this EP plus four demo tapes of this band.  A few years back I checked out the website and this material was not apparently available in any format.  I'd like to order the CD myself, this sounds like a band that should have been able to record more than one record.

As early '80s punk/hardcore/thrash goes this is relatively melodic/ "musical" stuff.  Bluurg is the label run by Dick Lucas of Subhumans UK/ Culture Shock/ Citizen Fish fame.  That's about as solid a punk pedigree as exists, more than 30 years of DIY dedication and likely more benefit gigs than can be counted.

Lucas seems to have a fixation on fish and the catalog numbers all begin with that word, thus this record is fish 4.  At least it might be; according to the label's included ordering sheet that's the number for a cassette by a band called Organized Chaos; the record's label is marked fish 4 too.

I bought this 7" EP many years ago solely because it was on this label, and generally whatever was on the label displayed more talent and more thoughtfulness than most punk offerings of the '80s had available.  I wish I knew more about the band other than that they were English (County Kent) and on Bluurg, but that's what I've got.  Any additional info is welcome.  Some sources online have this as a 1982 release but the sleeve states these songs were recorded in 1983.

My two favorite tracks are "Smile" and "Alienn", and I have no idea why the latter is spelled that way.

Side A:

One Step Forward
Alienn

Side B:

Frightened
Smile
Evil Faces

Located here.