Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Michael Yonkers With The Blind Shake - Period (2012)

Yonkers' story has been well-documented elsewhere and thus won't be recounted here, but if you find yourself unknowledgeable on the man, do yourself a solid and track down some reading and a couple of his other gems of albums. This, accompanied by fellow MPLS band The Blind Shake, is Yonkers' latest effort, a melding of psychedelic blues and 60's garage rock in grand Microminiature Love vein. I'm not sure what the band is about on their own, but on this album they make a tight and comfortable fit with the man. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bo Diddley's Beach Party (1963)

A blistering live album, especially in mono (the re-channeled stereo LP is barely passable), cut by Bo Diddley and company at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on July 5 and 6, 1963. This album contains 30-plus minutes of the best live rock & roll ever issued on record: Diddley and company are "on" from he get-go, a killer instrumental erroneously credited as Chuck Berry's "Memphis" (which it ain't) that's a showcase for Diddley's attack on his instrument and a crunching assault by the rest of the band (all in that shave-and-a-haircut-two-bits beat), cymbals on top of an overloaded bass, and what sounds like every rhythm guitar in the world grinding away. And even that instrumental seems to "talk" to the audience, telling a story; once Diddley's voice comes in on "Gunslinger," the picture is complete, and perfection is achieved on the frantic, gyrating "Hey, Bo Diddley." The crowd is driven to an audible frenzy as the thundering band crunches in time to Diddley's sometimes shrieking punctuation around his rhymes. Some repertory here may elude modern listeners; this was a dance, and any tune that could be turned into one was fair game, even "On Top of Old Smokey" as a slow number, which leads into the frenetic "Bo Diddley's Dog." Diddley does even better adapting the Larry Verne novelty tune "Mr. Custer," making it his own, and has some fun on "Bo Waltz" before switching gears to the softer, ballad-like "What's Buggin' You," all of that leading to a roaring finale on "Road Runner." Diddley and the band show off most of their bag of tricks amid the man's joyous, buoyant laughter. Apparently, the shows weren't entirely a laughing matter: the police threatened to arrest the band when Jerome Green leaped into the audience with his maracas waving and the female members surrounded him; this all happening in the still-segregated South of 1963 (and wouldn't a film of the whole show be a treasure today?) Mishaps, provocations, and non-musical spontaneity aside, this is some of the loudest, raunchiest, guitar-based rock & roll ever preserved for public consumption, and it captures some priceless moments: "I'm All Right," which was the original side two opener, was lifted wholesale by the Rolling Stones for their live sets, from 1964 until as late as the end of 1966; but the whole approach to music-making here lay at the core of practically every note of music that the Stones wrote or performed for the first three years of their history; indeed, no Stones collection is truly complete without this record attached to it.

-AMG review by Bruce Eder

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dizzy Gillespie no Brasil com Trio Mocotó (1974)

Recorded in eight hours of rehearsals in '74, after which Gillespie absconds with the masters and mum's the word until 2009. Summer approacheth, this album in tow.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Causa Sui - Pewt'r Sessions 1 & 2 (2011)

A forewarning: Here be locked grooves and massive walls of amphetamine-guitar in a glorious Kraut-via-Denmark vein. Open your windows. Scare the fickle neighbors.

Pears - Sterling Postures (2010)

It's getting to be that time of year in this hemisphere. Brilliant lazy-assed, sun-fucked chill out tunes. Check out this guy's Bandcamp. Definitely what you'd call prolific. I want to take my lady on a picnic.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Equals - Retrospective Journey

The Equals are fucking legends in my lexicon. Band members hailed from Jamaica, Guyana and the UK and were racially integrated in the 60's (hence their name). Coming out of London, they never garnered the appreciation they deserved in their time. 'Baby Come Back' hit number 1 in the UK, but only after being re-issued tailing it's success in The Netherlands and Germany. The Equals play R&R tinted R&B, with distinctive vocalist Derv Gordon contributing brilliant pop lyrics. 'I Get So Excited', 'Green Light', 'Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys', 'Baby Come Back', 'Police On My Back' (later covered by The Clash) are all brilliant 60's pop tunes. Now I want to throw open the windows, letting spring air flow through the place and crank this album up.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ozzie - The Parabolic Rock 1975 - 1982

"It is 1971 in a small town near Santa CruzCalifornia. Three friends from Sacramento have just polished off a bottle of cheap wine to the sounds of Captain Beefheart’s Strictly Personal and wander on to the beach with a couple of harmonica and a guitar. For the next couple of hours, they howl out some Beefheart inspired blues yuck. Thus begins a musical relationship that would become the band Ozzie. From their wine-soused, Magic Band obsessed roots to their art-rock/new wave end some ten years later, Ozzie made some fantastic music. They built up substantial followings in SacramentoSan Francisco, and Los Angeles. They were a Mabuhay Gardens regular, sharing the bill with bands like the Weirdos, The Sleepers, VOM, and the Nuns. In Sacramento, they played with everyone from the Rutabaga Boogie Band and the Talking Heads to the Nerves and the Fleshtones. However like many bands of the time, their limited output (only three 7”s during their lifetime) and difficulty fixing them to one musical subgenre led to their obscurity and ultimately them being forgotten. In the early 90s, S.S. stumbled upon Ozzie’s 1977 debut single, “Android Love”, and flipped. He tracked down one of the band’s main members, William Fuller, and struck up a friendship with him. 
A decade later S.S. tosses Fuller the idea to reissue “Android Love” single with a different B side. Fuller digs out some reel to reel tapes, an act that starts a multi-year odyssey through the Ozzie archives, recordings and print material spanning from the mid 70s to the early 80s. The proto-punk meets glam wildness what made “Android Love” (produced by Public Nuisance/Twinkeyz David Houston) such a great song was present in the tapes, but there was more: Massive doses of Blue Oyster Cult inspired hard rock brilliance, Roxy Music glam drama, Sparks-like art, Bomp! Records-worthy power pop, edgy new wave that recalls the Suburban Lawns, and mid-Seventies-style underground rock sounds that thrill any collector of private press obscurities, all with a Keith Moon/Jethro Tull inspired drummer.  By the time, S.S. was done digging through the archives, he’d assembled a solid double album worth of unreleased and live material, as well as alternative tracks and a few gems from Ozzie’s previously released stuff."
-S.S. Records

Total proto-punk art rock bizarro greatness.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Black Bananas - Rad Times Xpress IV

Post-Trux Jennifer Herrema genre-bending genius. Or you'll hate it. Either way, you'd be right.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ty Segall - Ty Rex (2011)

Never really listened to Ty Segall before, but I'll be damned if these aren't some fine Bolan covers.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

ESG - Come Away With ESG (1983)

Emerald, Sapphire and Gold were the South Bronx Scroggins sisters who mastered the sound of post-punk/disco dance tunes. The eleven tracks found on this, their only full-length, seem to represent a song cycle, with a seemingly common atavistic, yet complex polyrhythmic drum beat throughout and tight walking bass lines. ESG were highly influential in the early hip hop movement, with their tunes being sampled to death over the last thirty years. It was only 1992 when they released an EP (under a reformed band) titled Sample Credits Don't Pay Our Bills. An out-&-out classic that everyone should be in the know about.

The Bongolian - Bongos For Beatniks (2011)

Highly rhythmic, deeply melodic. The Bongolian serves up funk, soul, acid jazz, latin and boogaloo-styled instrumentals. Lots and lots of glorious Hammond organ and, well, bongos layered with as much bass and propulsive guitar as you can handle. Think of a modern Incredible Bongo Band.

Monday, April 9, 2012

White Hills - Frying On This Rock (2012)

Oh thank Bog for White Hills. Our finest contemporary purveyors of life-in-a-capsule space rock have provided yet another.

The heavy freight train that is White Hills seems to stop for no man. It's not even been a full year since the release of the classic H-p1 and we now have a new epic space-rock document in the form of Frying on This Rock. This record is much more raw and blunt in its sound than H-p1; however, the songs seem very concise, very measured, and constructed with precision. The last song, "I Write A Thousand Letters (Pulp on Bone)," is over 13 minutes long and even it seems intricately planned and executed as it spirals and swirls into a precise cacophony. It sounds like chaos, but in the vein of free jazz, everything has its place and purpose. "Pads of Light" and "You Dream You See" are focused psychedelic space-rock assaults that perfectly represent what White Hills do best. And as the stand-out track, "Song of Everything" has heavy hitting 70's rock riffs and psych-noise infused into a big space rock sound. 

Then comes the second half's odd but strangely appropriate spoken/chant vocals. It's not what you'd expect, but it works well within the constructs of this song. Frying On This Rock is a nice addition to the White Hills catalog. This record sees the band delivering their psychedelic space rock landscapes with a focus they have never demonstrated in the past. If you're new to White Hills or count yourself among their devoted following, be sure to track this one down.

-review from

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Turtles - Turtle Soup (1969)

The Turtles' final album, critically well-received but commercially under-appreciated. Inspired by The Kinks' concept album ...Are The Village Green Preservation Society and produced by Ray Davies himself (this being Ray's first non-Kinks production). There's no "Happy Together" or "Elenore" type pop radio hits on this album, which is to say that they weren't in it for the commercial aspect here anyhow. Opinions on this album are pretty split, with it's fair share of detractors and fans alike. I don't think I've ever seen a photograph of Mark Volman without that shit-eating grin.

Turtle Soup

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Disappears - Pre-Language (2012)

Third album from Chicago's Disappears. If Lux and Guider were their kraut albums, this is their foray into post-punk. (Keeping in mind that it's difficult to pin down exactly what sub-genre of rock to bind their music to) Most noticeably different here is the rhythm section, seeing as how Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley has been added behind the drums. Guitar still in the prescient form of psych scrawl and songwriting and production up to their usual top-notch level. In my opinion, Disappears are one of the true heirs to the rock and roll throne.

John Talabot - fIN (2012)

Barcelona-based John Talabot's debut full-length album of minimal house. Simple, bright-then-hazy synths and drum loops on tracks that meander between the beach and the basement.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Cigarettes - Will Damage Your Health

Essential British mod-punk 78-81. This album compiles their 7"s, unreleased studio tracks, some compilation pieces and a John Peel session. While this type of thing is usually best relegated to core fans of a band, "The Cigarettes Will Damage Your Health" is perfectly suited to the uninitiated.

The Cigarettes

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Sufis - Demo (2012)

Nashville's The Sufis have herein presented the absolute best throwback psychedelic tunes I've ever heard.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Cardiacs - Archive Cardiacs

Odd punk-prog, definitely an acquired taste. Highly layered and spastic yet containing a distinctive thread of musicality throughout. "The mix is almost head-spinningly overloaded at times, with tiny little voices and distant exclamations vying with saxophone parps, pots and pans, and fine-tuned kitchen sinks rattling around. All this detail, though, is cleverly orchestrated chaos that never forgets that it is there to embellish the songs, and it never drowns them out." I've seen them described as a mix of Frank Zappa, The Kinks and Devo, which comes pretty close. Just listen to the damn thing. You can always delete it if you're not hip to it.