Saturday, December 25, 2010

Annum Novo: Reissue Wrap

And so it came to pass... another year spent hunkered in the bunker unwinding my gears to the endless parade of long-eared gasps at eternity, loose-limbed strumblers from specks on the grass to the peaks of the fountains, nay-sayers and rambling loquacious losers on the necks of swans. To say the least, it was a good year - a full year, and feeling like the gentlemen above during this fair fair holiday crush and cookie crumble, I procrastinated my long overdue "Stocking Stuffer" shopping list for the mixed up mangled up lovers of the other mothers into the oblivion of a New Years reissue wrap up - so that if you missed the boat - maybe the boat hasn't missed you - yet, or ever, or unecessary to add I'd just like to see these fine productions, retreads perhaps - but essential - find essential homes - become cartridges for the slipping steam should the winter thaw to break the frost, the fragile loam surrounding my brain - HEY - so dig these discs this winter or else! I'm opposed to numerical order - these are all special, and deserve YOUR time if you can handle a little wayward loving, symphonic gloving, sisterly mugging... etc. al etc.!!!

To get things off on the right foot, I'd like to start with a record I only heard for the first time in early 2010, and the story of that discovery is nearly as miraculous as the fact that it has materialized as a gorgeous reissue less than a year later. Having played El Gusano's Fantasia del Barrio a million times since the initial WOW, I can say I've only grown closer to this dust coated desert hallucination, but perhaps am no nearer to fully realizing what exactly they had in mind when laying this set of highly original instrumental set of Latin funk down on tape. The back of the album describes a loose set of ideas pertaining to the movements of individuals - the ebb and flow of border-town life during war time, and more generally a consciousness pertaining to the human fabric of labor, family, and ideals. This of course is all a loose topography for the sounds - a deep, weird, earthy trip into the most cerebral riffage - epic tawdry cinematic dystopic dive-bar be-ins crashing up against rabid grooves and loud electric guitar - the flash of windchimes and roach buzz, hallowed chasms of a new "thing" - to think it alone in a small town on the edge of nothing in South Texas, the poetry of this motion almost the singular imagination of a band fused by the lysergic stoicism of a true survivor... well, I'm rambling, but if you've even caught wind of this already you probably get the idea. It's a bonafide keeper and easy to check out thanks to the upstarts at Heavy Light Records in Austin, TX.

Though perhaps not as epically proportioned to crowd-please every long-legged turntable this side of the Milky-Way, Wilcox-Sullivan-Wilcox's Album of Original Music is unquestionably one of the most worthy candidates for popular consumption this year, and a record that over time has taken on monumental importance to me personally, spiritually, and musically speaking. It is worth noting truly how many records there are that start off somewhat like this dynamic trio's New Mexico debut from 1971, and yet how few actually deliver the promise of transcendence and a nascent, otherworldy consciousness through acoustic folk music that this group delivers as easily as the flow of water through a mountain stream. I have spent a tremendous amount of time in this album's grasp and could probably babble on about it for just as long. The crux of it all though is in submerging yourself in their crystalline glow, imbibing a truth in the liminal lyrical phrasings, and taking pause at every subtle gesture of the steel guitar as it weaves hexagonal grace above and below wordless vocals that seem to echo forth from the supine harmony of growing hair, dogs drinking warm milk, people smiling and actually meaning something by it. This record is just that real, and I can think of very little else that touches it from the 70s whether privately pressed or majorly labeled. You've just got to spend a little time getting to know... Graciously made re-available by the original label, in resplendant unadulterated re-master (this thing sounds GOOD), and with a few clicks a mint CD of it can be yours. Read more here, buy it here, live this always. Amen!

Though I feel as if the popular discovery of Justen O'Brien's hypnotic AOR gyroscope of an LP has been long coming, the beautiful co-production of Time Will Tell by Yoga and Guerrsen Records certainly feels a bit slept on this year with all of the new things that have come to light in 2010. There's no doubt in my mind that the record, as magnificent and fully realized as it is, could work it's way into a lot of unsuspecting playlists, yet maybe folks just need to come to this one on their own terms. Time will tell... For me - O'Brien's high-plains seeker in a self-made limo was a true gateway drug - a world-class LP that illuminated the catatonic zone where most of my favorite records dwell: highly original musical citizenship without a clue in the world as to how utterly of themselves they appear and yet how beyond themselves they sound, like drawing raw energy from a star: their chords and guitar tunings secretly living on the dark side of the moon. If you've never gotten astral with Justen, it's just about that time of the year when things are dark enough for the true underbelly of the record to make sense: the maddening reality of life always on the edge of warmth, fame, and love - careening slightly out of control. If you were to take a trip out to the desert feeling like that, then maybe the lights would appear to you too... I'm never one to disbelieve! Available as a download from the fine folks at Yoga Records and on LP by Guerrsen with the gorgeous originally intended color jacket as seen above. This is a heavy one. You've been warned!

In the straight out of left-field department comes Doug Hream Blunt's Gentle Persuasion. This is one of my favorite re-press jobs this year, and another magical LP I had never heard til just a few months ago... Blunt's late 70s blend of soulful breezy funk, silky smooth production, and bouncy gleeful unabashed lyrical refrains completey won me over on the first spin and I have been thinking to myself, "Girl I just wanna chill" ever since. Located somewhere in the cross-section between new-wave and modern soul, the music has an irresistible groove that extends beyond time and space in a late-night cruising mode - palm trees flapping, circus animals walking all over the hood of your car, colorful ladies catching a ride... the atmosphere is pure magic and Blunt's laid-back croon will work out all your kinks by the time you have to get back to the real world - a softer place now, somewhere you can live, dig? Orders can be placed with: This extends to you rockists too! Seeya at the big-top...

If you've ever thought to yourself that a half-way decent version of the after-life is a murky basement filled with endless mold-covered master-tapes of 70s home-brewed rock and down-home folk, then the Numero group's Lone Star Lowlands comp is an essential pick-up this holiday season... The celebrated archival label went well out of their way to rescue a small Mom and Pop Texan studio's stash of just these kind of rough-hewn shoulda-been hayseed pop star epiphanies and blissfully toked out rural rock barn-burners. The results are absolutely stellar and should be mandatory listening if you like your denim severely frayed and long for the days when a beer can needed two holes to be drained. Musically the set spans all kinds of 70s nomenclature... and illuminates the freedom of expression in rock music before FM radio and "adult" oriented music marketplaces took the stage. I live and die for this stuff, so naturally this set was such a welcome addition to the seemingly bottomless well of long-lost long-hair croon and spoon. Loose, sun-baked, stem-munching bliss, brother. Check it out!

In other 70s pop miracle zones comes a welcome vinyl reissue of friend Paul Levinson's effervescent flower-pop magnum opus, Twice Upon a Rhyme. The LP, if you haven't already checked it out, is a glowing outburst of psychedelic color and stoney early 70s home-studio groove. I've long enjoyed the record and took time out to chat with Paul last year about his wonderful creation. Will speak personally to say that I've lifted many a foul mood with this meticulously crafted gem... and would love to spend some time in the shady glen that produced "The Coming of Winter"! The reissue is a very limited pressing so I suggest acting now... copies can be ordered directly from the label at:

In a final blurt I've got to give a shout out to my two favorite almost-reissued in 2010 LPs... the wild and wooly double-header of Michael Farneti's Good Morning Kisses and Stan Hubbs' Crystal, which will both see the light of day on the legendary Companion Records label out of Oakland, CA. I've waxed poetic enough times about both LPs, but needless to say - they are entirely worlds of their own, and Hubbs in particular might get my vote for the single greatest piece of private press zonk rock ever. Seriously. It's that freaking good. Not for the faint of heart, and a truly heavy trip even for the most well-traveled ears. Our proverbial anti-guitar hero was camped out in the foggy nether-underground of northernmost Sonoma county in the late 70s-early 80s, cobbling together local musicians to play his mutant breed of smoked out quasi-metal stoner rock unprecedented in this galaxy, then or now. The record has just a monumentally personal, earthy, strange presence that makes the walls breathe and the hair on your neck stand on end. I can't think of a single other disc that pushes me that close to the brink... Firm firm personal fave, and will be the reissue to beat in 2011, cowboys!

So many words... and so many more things to come... feeling tired now, and a little bit scared so it's time to travel on... May the new year treat you kindly, and stay in touch. Yours in music... JDF

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Follies Bazaar - Right to Little Rest

Curiosity struck when I realized that this above average comp from URI had not a single artist credited on the label and a suspiciously blank back jacket. Having spun it last month as winter settled, I figured others might appreciate that kind of Northeasterly hypnosis which the LP speaks to perfectly. Daydreaming, stoned, lodged in the snow... indeed, there are many excellent tracks here, and while maybe not quite as atmospheric as Take Flight - I find myself coming back to this one... easily the better end of the Follies Bazaar series, a collective at URI which issued an annual student music sampler well into the 80s. If wintry folk explorations and jammy lo-fi Deadhead pirouettes aren't your bag, you at least have to needledrop the astounding, "Am I Not the One," a perfect slab of (even then) retrospective Ballroom psychedelia... Like everyone else, this highlight goes uncredited, and so I must leave it to the foggy mists of the Rhode Island Sound to give us any clues... Anyways - enjoy, and talk soon!

Am I Not the One

Sunday, December 12, 2010

World's First Kinbotes Cover?

Imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to a completely unexpected e-mail from new musical co-conspirators Friends With Benefits who had graciously sent along their spur of the moment trip-hop (?!) cover of future-science Kinbotes smash-hit "Hang Around"! Seriously made my day, dudes! Simply unbelievable... and makes me think we need to have a covers contest someday soon... a little "Top of the Morning," anybody? Anyways - BIG thanks to Tony and Crew - and rock out already to this! Magic!

Hang Around by Friends with Benefits

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Duende Out-Take: The Moon Lions on DJ

Here's a missing link from that old mix... absolute mystery band (whatta name!), on a mega obscure El Paso label - and as usual with the border-town blasters 1 side is scorching and the flip is a pretty mellow traditional waltz... But what a scorcher! "Voy A Llorar" sounds alot like a traditional mid-60s garage work-out (primal scream before the break included) but is lost in a fuzzy early 70s (?) tunnel... epic dive bar atmosphere, total twilight zone material, here... An LP full of stuff like this with some longer work-outs, moody ballads, etc. is just a complete dreamland record for me. Have asked a few Tejanos about this label and it's kind of a head-scratcher, though I'm sure someone knows the scoop. Have to doubt there's much more from the Moon Lions though... but hey, one can dream!

Voy a Llorar

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Dash of Yule with Summer Madness

Admittedly this is as close as I'm going to come this fair Holiday season to posting anything actually related to Christmas music, and with that being said, it's really only a wee bit of the ol' jingle and mostly just some very odd jangle... I found this beguiling 7" EP recently and immediately fell in love despite the fact that they cover "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (rarely as listenable as their wonderfully progressive take would have you believe) and round it out with, yes "The Little Drummer Boy" among other strange cover choices (an undeniably spooky "Hills of Shiloh" is, however, magnificently refurbished with basement electronics and atonal vocals!!). The one group original is a beautiful mini-slab of psychedelic pop that sounds like an out-take from Surf's Up era Beach Boys! Seriously! With all this being said, I am nowhere near figuring out what exactly is going on here, but I really like it and figured I'd post it up for further examination. Housed in a cardboard sleeve with a wild psychedelic illustration and self-released on their own Summer Madness imprint, there is little else to add in the way of information from the cryptic package. Check it out, stay warm, and be in touch! Talk soon, J

Side A - Little Drummer Boy / Hills of Shiloh

Side B - Leaving on a Jet Plane / Summer Madness

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back with a Blast: Sonaura on Uncles Richie's

Hopefully this marks a return for a while at least of steady dependable brain dredge from yours truly... had a blast down south and am now back to the wintry lair, trying to keep the puzzle put together! Stumbled across this ungodly raw blast from an early 70s hard-rock group (sounds like a trio) called Sonaura... I tried tracking them down but couldn't quite figure it out. To say the least the vibe here is frantic, desperate, and dark - matched with a production that sounds like it was recorded in an empty castle... which checks off most of the stops on my short-list to perfection! "Song of Sauron" is the hype here, but I dig the flip too which is a moody down-tempo basement number... This kind of shit absolutely slays me in part because of how good it is, but also just how buried it stays on 45s... If anyone has further info give me a shout, I'm curious about the label too...

Song of Sauron

Don't Ever Leave

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Salt Creek - 1

Sorry posts have been light, lately. So much going on in my personal sphere right now... kind of overwhelming, and a two week sojourn that is about to commence had me thinking I should probably put something up here before an entire month passes in absence! A good friend turned me onto this nocturnal melancholic folk-rocker during the summer and I had the pleasure to talk to one of the band members who recollected recording the whole thing in one shot from midnight to 6, natch! Salt Creek was a thrown together combo of Army brats in central Mass, and this LP is the extent of their recorded output. Also worth noting, is that it's a different band altogether than the other rural folkster who privately released "Just About Due" in '77 from upstate NY (??). There are a few duds here, but all told I really like this record... just such a sweet autumnal lovesick vibe (ambiance, baby!), w/ one or two left-field Christian songs thrown in elbow to elbow w/ the one 'good time' cut - "That Good Old Horny Feeling" (!!). Such it so often went on these 70s homemade releases... this one custom pressed by the United Sound label. Worth a listen for sure, and hopefully I will see YOU - sooner, than later!

The Salt Creek boys recline...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Heavy Summer Rock Mix: Duende

A little late for the summer haze, but here's a rocking mix I made for the annual Waxidermy mix swap... Accents on despair, ghosts, and Latin rock! Some of my all time favorites here, and also some new friends too. Check it out... Talk soon, J

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Technical Difficulties...

It's been brought to my attention - that, for whatever reason a lot of my old embedded div-share players are dying out... In lieu of that, and my extremely basic tech-savvy I'm wondering if anyone could help me out with an alternative to this crappy file-sharing service and tacky looking embedded player... I spent the better part of an hour trying how to figure out the classy Java-script one upon realizing that I don't actually have any kind of server space to link this up to. Any suggestions? Ideally I'd like to have this stuff stored somewhere reliable, and be able to have a track or two up for alot of the albums too, for a sample once the album link expires... Please let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Turiiya - Waiting

Here's a very special LP that quickly crept into being one of my favorite new spins of 2010... My friend Callum mentioned this Kiwi folk-psych long-player in an e-mail exchange a few months ago as being a true delight, and so I immediately tracked down a copy to check it out. I was quickly sucked into their lush cosmos of nocturnal vocalizations, looming cello runs, and odd drawn out song structures. The record in a sense seems born out of some loose stage of new age phenomenon, hailing from the late date of 1986, and the band being annointed with a Hindu word meaning, "pure conciousness," in turn much of the lyrical flavor comes through on this level: gorgeous female vocals intoning the depths of the forest, the Aboriginal "Dreaming," vantages onto island travel and living a small life in the bounds of Anglo Oceania - calling to mind at times Campion's wonderful film, Sweetie, as well a host of other celestial and earthly energy fields. Musically the group is indeed first and foremost a kind of loose aggregate of spirituality born to sound. Sonically I can't help but flash on things like Comus or the Christ Tree... yet Turiiya are of their own place and time, and it would be reductive to just tag them with the much overused folk-psych tag and be done with it. They seem formed within some kind of a far flung indie rock scene, but simultaneously orbiting well beyond the identity politics and catch-phrase jingo-ism that usually inform those kinds of records. I know New Zealand had its share of shambolic forthright female outfits in this time period, yet Turiiya still seems to be beckoning from a mistier clime... In any case, being hard to pin is one of my favorite aspects in sound, so I'll let my hypotheses rest here. The record is a mash of organic, strange, illuminated ideas and it really should just be enjoyed. I can find virtually no references to the LP online, so any further info is much appreciated. Talk soon - J

The Mysterious Women of Turiiya

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ringing Endorsement: The Exotica Project

If you're anything like me, you can't help slipping deep inside the prehistoric womb of Yma, Denny, or Ahbez whenever the needle happens to drop on a side... Exotica is and has been a timeless genre for all kinds of music freaks, but fairly unknown to me, and I think others, was how deep the genre ran on 45s... no one who's ever gone looking for records hasn't picked up a Denny or Baxter LP at some point, and they're great - don't get me wrong, but thanks to a wildly in depth new site spearheaded by a friend, Dan Shiman, the parameters seemed to open on all kinds of things I had never encountered before once the speed was set to 45 RPM! Accompanied with some great writing on the topic, side-length mp3 clips, and beautiful hi-res scans of over 100 45s the site is truly something worth taking the time to explore. I'll quote from Dan, as to why if you dig lost music, generally speaking, the site may really gel with your view:

"A wide variety of artists from a wide variety of backgrounds populates exotica's back pages: established jazz musicians and Latin congueros, landlocked surf guitar combos, forgotten actresses-turned-thrush and cruise ship combos, hinterlands nightclub singers, frustrated session musicians and studio arrangers, for-hire African percussionists, R&B vocal groups and chitlin circuit B3 wranglers. The genre-spanning diversity of exotica is reflected here.

The role of the 45 format must not be overlooked, either. Exotica abounds on 45, the best examples wilder, looser, stranger, more eccentric, more ambitious - more experimental, even - than their album track counterparts."

Seriously! Check it out, already!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mix: Nocturnal Plant Life

Here's an oddball 80s mix I fooled around with recently, and decided to stick out there... Strange intersection of harder wave edges and ambient new age textures. May be the first in a small series of mixes on this theme. There are a few artists included here, who'd I'd love to write about at greater length as time allows, on the blog. In the meantime, enjoy...

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Jugs - First Batch

I've always complained to no end that the state of Vermont never reached it's quota of truly fried private press hippie rockers in the seven-ought-tees, a disgrace considering the plethora of granola osmosis the state endured from '69 onward. The Philo label sucked up a lot of local talent, and while impressive in their scope and professional flair, most of those LPs lack the grit and gristle that drives me wild... Having grown up in the Green Mountain state I can count a mere handful of actually home-made longhair releases I would go to bat for, so resigned I've been for the most part on anything new coming to light on this... though one can always dream! It seemingly took forever, then, for this slab of teenage Deadhead litanies to surface on the collector scene - a whole long player's worth of rural jamming w/ properly zonked shit-kicker attitude and a few ace original tunes, the perfect antidote to the last time you actually forced yourself to sit through a Mark Winokur LP. "First Batch" was issued in 1981 on the custom press imprint at Green Mountain Records, the band consisting of 5 students from the Vershire School in southern Vermont who had recently returned from a class trip to Mexico where the bulk of the songs were written. The small private school was closed several years later, due to various tawdry reasons which seem in keeping with the existence of "First Batch" as a musical reminder of the place and time it came to be. I can't proclaim this some kind of masterpiece that will appeal to everyone, as it's a true paen to late 70s Deadhead mores and moves, but for me the thing just oozes summer charm, and many stony vibes close to the heart of this olde Vermonter... so jump for joy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Latitudes: 1974

This compilation from Montgomery Community College has been known about for years, but I had mistakenly slept on it for as long as I've been buying private press stuff, and now thanks to a good friend who recently gave one to me - all of that has been changed. I figured since I had already posted the volume from '75 I would give this one a post too, and was doubly motivated to do so because one song on here just kind of worked its way into being something of a summer anthem for me, the deliriously glammy, lite-Rush melodic power-pop gush of the band Y and their alternate-universe hit "Silver Screen Betty" - so go figure! Several of the groups here, including Y just nail that dreamland private press sound, and I would take even a half-hearted (or baked) full-length from any of them. Particular stunners include the stoned basement art-rock of the Tubular Chamber Ensemble, the immaculate hard-prog of Puddleduck, the singularly bizarre folk-rock lyrical mash-up of Donna Pretsch, and a superb folk-psych cut from the Shack People. Even the seemingly goofy hick outfit, the Ambler Ramblers who receive two slots on the billing, at turns deliver a gorgeous piece of instrumental psychedelia called "High Harbor." I owe Brennan in VT a big thanks for swapping this out to me, and if anyone has further info on these bands or anything else they did, drop me a line. I'm interested, too, as to if there are any LPs in this series from before 1973... Here's a link to the full LP, and below a sample for those just curious... rock on, Betty!

Silver Screen Betty

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tyger on Tiger Records

Well, with summer vacation now winding it's way down I will be back in some capacity for the duration of the hot weather and peak annual beer consumption. The above record is something I only found out about recently - and is a total mystery to me. Found in a thrift store in Arizona, none of the usual sources seem to know it at all, and but for a stunning home-made sleeve and limited info on the labels I can't even verify the band name - etc. But what there is, is an album's worth of very nice folk rock that reminds me at times of Wilcox, Sullivan, Wilcox though a bit more amped and AM ready. Tasteful violin playing gives it an edge like Jackdaw or Canada's Mantra but this might be all more a factor of my own personal mind garden, and you may just hear some charmingly low-key longhair vibrations not altogether that distant from America or (gasp) James Taylor. I think it's a real nice LP and worth a few spins at least, especially in all those dusky twilight summer moods I'm sure you're kicking up out there... Big thanks to Bruce in California for sharing this, and hoping this post may shed some kind of light on who or what this release actually is. I've posted label scans below, and here's a track-list too, for good measure. Any info can go here, and otherwise enjoy!

1. Wendy's Song
2. I Need You to Give
3. Manna
4. Where Do You Get Your Ideas
5. June Brown Wheat
6. Tell Your Lies
7. Your Eyes
8. Rented Room
9. Think About the Music
10. Sunday in the Country

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dennis Harte on Roundtable

A few years ago, right around this time I found a copy of a bizarre and great kids-play-rock LP by a duo known simply as Donnie and Joe. Their long-player debut, "Dreamin' Wild," totally bowled me over when I brought it home from an antique store in Eastern Washington. Hazy, heartfelt crooning that seemed to project out of this really lonely but familiar place - backed by slightly off kilter instrumentation - it became a quick favorite with me, and as the word spread, with many others too. They had such a peculiarly singular sound that I was truly surprised to find something that I thought matched it in the *wow* department, but also that the 45 in question just sounded uncannily like it could be those same two kids casting off a 7" ... albeit from across the country and culturally as far from Spokane Valley farm-land as you could get. I know very little about Dennis Harte or the Roundtable label out of New York City, but he and his brother cut at least 3 7"s, one of which I'm missing (unfortunately). The best cut of the bunch is this utterly powerful slab of teener summer sneer that just buzzes and hisses it's way across the thick Manhattan haze, an intense wall of sound backing the pleas of Dennis as he extrapolates his heart-ache. I've listened to this song 50 times since picking up the 7" and still can't get over how much this sounds like Donnie and Joe... total goosebumps! I'm not as in love with the flip but it's worth checking out nonetheless.

Summer's Over

Treat Me Like a Man

Let's Get Out of the City

I Don't Need Anymore

Anyways, the other 45 I have to share is nowhere near as epic or mind-melting as "Summer's Over" - but it's worth posting up as it has kind of a quirky lo-fi dork-rock charm of it's own. Sounds to me like it's an older brother singing on these songs... there's some great wah and a mildly psychedelic edge on the flip, too, which may be the stronger song of the two. If anybody has further info on the Roundtable label or the Harte boys - please let me know. Would love to hear more from these guys!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Al Huskey in Tennessee

Here is an absolutely exquisite home-made country LP from Illinois. I have been dumpster diving through stuff like this for years and can honestly think of but a handful that I like this much. It's tough to say why so many private country records are weak, but it may have something to do with the singles oriented format for the genre. It also just seems to be a grouping where you get a lot of cover material filling out a record with one or two songs aimed as a hit, making LPs full of original material just plain rare. Al Huskey’s “In Tennessee” is one of these, and somehow he wrote 12 songs that capture a depth of moods and expression that are personal, beautiful, and just wonderfully quirky - soulful, occasionally bizarre. In the best tradition of self-released music the LP presents a cross-section of genuine talent and slightly unconventional production. The whole thing glows, foremost with Al’s unmistakably original voice, as he moves from tales of blind men making it to heaven, to debunking the color lines, to bemoaning lost loves and discussing the peculiar otherworldly nature of an echoing voice. It’s a 70s record, but the production is warm, earthy, almost hit’s a “rock” stride on a few trax, and ultimately it's all about the songs - several of these I would love to hear dusted off for cover. “Whipping Boy” for example has that perfect moment of soaring honky-tonk denouement every country-hit yearns for - the point where the minor-key verse changes gears into a massive open chorus - and the narrator gets to finally stand on stage and deliver judgment for the abuses he has suffered. For me the highlights are the moody almost country-rock flavored late night tumblers… “I Won’t Cry” and “Echoes” both just completely wreck me. Al is still active in music today, and can be reached via his MySpace page. This is a pretty easy LP to find if you’re looking for the vinyl, and is usually pretty cheap. Really a great record, and recommended even if you’re not usually keen on this kind of thing. Talk soon, JDF

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Suzanne on Birchmount

I was alerted to this groovy Quebecois femme-pop LP recently by an old Paul Major radio broadcast that was circulating amongst some friends. The set closed out with two magical tracks from this obscure LP released on the Birchmount label with about half the songs penned by Greg Hambleton of A Passing Fancy. These two songs have been on constant rotation the past few weeks, and I hope will captivate your imagination as well. "Shendah" is a love song written to a horse, and is just totally heartbreaking - in only the way that it could be! "Island" is a ballad of teenage alienation couched in gushy organ fills and a subtle marching drum-beat. You could make a killer 7" out of these two! Check 'em out... and I'll see you next week.




Thursday, June 10, 2010

Austin Sirch - Self-Titled

This is a little bit of a shameless plug for a friend, but I don't want anyone to be confused - I'm a big fan of the guy's work. Austin and I go back years and years of kicking around in green grass pastures, the mis-adventures of mouse-infested cabin life, the ever-present hourglass passed in puffs of smoke, and the nite-time as John Lennon would speak of it in that song with lots of saxophone and sunglasses. Austin's music is a joyous cacophony of strings laid bare to effervescent harmonies and shimmering lush psychedelic pop atmosphere. There's an effortlessness to his whole jag, a push back to summer dawns bathed in the Beatles and strong dope. I'm biased I suppose, as I associate the songs with really fond memories, but rarely does one find such a warm repose, an envelope sonically arranged for you to crawl inside and find the things you love about home-made music all over again. The distinction for me is that he's a writer, and the songs stand out as fully crafted paths through a forest of days lost to the grind of getting older and heartaches that seem heavier as the years go on. Really personal beautiful stuff that is super close to my heart. This is a CD EP from 4 or 5 years ago. If you like it, let him know. With that I bid you warm summer feelings, breathe deeply - eat something you enjoy. Warmly, JDF

I. Wishing Bell
II. No(is)e
III. When the Ships Come In
IV. Something Else
V. The Missile Blues
VI. Sophie's Song

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dog Ear on Planet Chant

Easily one of my favorite 45s from the spring... gorgeous home-made cosmic country that sounds like Bobby's Blues Band + a slide guitar and desert sand under their feet. Absolutely killer mellow vibe that I would die to have an LP of. Called around on this and got absolutely nowhere... I was hunching that it was from Texas... 1973, on Planet Chant Productions. Enjoy!

Just Children

The Man Who Left Her

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mix-tape Re-run: Bummer in the Summer

It's been two years since I made this garbled mix-tape of woozy lounge cacophony, psychedelic rock, and stardust crooning... and I'm just rounding out a similar mix for later in the summer but figured I'd return to this one for a little inspiration. The track-list is long gone, but I could probably identify most of the artists, at least, if you press me. It's literally a tape turned to a CD so apologies for lack of track splits. Hope you enjoy, and sorry for occasionally miserable fidelity issues (2nd to last track on side B is embarrassingly in the red and all but ruins it, yikes!). Some familiar faces await, some less familiar ones too. Talk Soon, JDF

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Peach and Pockets

I realize stuff like this 45 appeals to about 5 people out there besides myself, but ever since first hearing Peach and Pockets several months ago, I have had "Top of the Morning" running through my head, encouraging all of my bad habits and drenching my dreams in cheap champagne... For fans of Michael Farneti, this is about as close as I've come to finding someone else who occupies that delirious space of 70s swinger lore made manifest in absolutely unchecked musical indulgence. Issued on "Duckbilled Platters," a small label from Mercer Island, WA, I implore you to have at least a "One Time Thing" with Peach and Pockets ... this marvelous duo I have literally no further information about. If anyone has any other 45s on this label, please drop me a line... I'm totally curious now!

Top of the Morning

One Time Thing

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tim Cain - For You

Traded a friend for a copy of this over the winter and was really pleased with some of the songs on here. Tim was a multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, formerly of the Sons of Champlin, who retreated to Eureka, CA in the late-70s, and released this project in 1981. An intriguing mix of kids songs, rural rock, story-telling, and folk - I can't say I love it all but the best tracks exhibit an exquisite post-hippie come-down vibe that feels perfect as things get green outside and you can osmose a little sunshine and dew, yet again. Tasteful woodwinds are to be noted, as well! One thing for the skeptics out there is a truly jaw-dropping acid-folk cut entitled "Whispers and Screams" by a lady named Linda Mortensen who does back-up vocals on a few of the other songs here, and snuck this one solo cut on as well. What I would give for a long-player from her! "Whispers" is a haunting track that lyrically ponders failed love affairs in a rather psychedelic manner. Simply amazing, and a gorgeous voice. I asked Tim if Linda had recorded further, and he wasn't sure. I never heard back from Linda herself... Enjoy the tracks and you can check out Tim's website here for more info on his other projects.


Whispers and Screams

Song of the Wind

Old Moon

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Black Fox on Transplanet

Beautiful 45 I recently encountered from Sacramento, an interesting blend of outer space lyrics and imagery with a superbly primitive folk rock groove. I know very little about this outfit, though I think this is the only thing they ever did. The A-Side has got this marvelously frantic vibe happening replete with a kitchen-sink percussion breakdown, but it's the B-Side which totally slays me as it lays psychedelic love philosophy on the pursuit of exploration in all kinds of space, and fades out on a ramped up swaying riff with wordless vocal refrains. Really haunting, magical stuff. Hope you enjoy...

Voyage to the Moon

Journey of Men

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wheelhaus on Pacific Avenue

Found a copy of this 7" about a month or two ago and really dug the sound, sorta reminded me of a cool laid-back mash up of the Dead and Big Star! Hailing from Omaha, Wheelhaus was comprised of the Van Fleet Brothers, Larry and Gary, and their buddy John Cannon. I called up Larry and spoke with him about the band which was a short-lived outfit playing the usual home-town gig circuit of bars and regional festivals. They recorded this one single at Pacific Ave. studios, and were able to get it some local airplay and in the juke-boxes. I was hoping they may have had an LP I had never heard of before, or even just a few more 7"s, but alas this is it! Can't say I'm complaining though, as this 45 is just about perfect... that rare combination of mellow 70s groove and an almost effortless power-pop sensibility. Musicianship is really high too, just dig the shimmering guitar explosion at the end of "Room at the Top"! That song has been stuck in my head for weeks, something about it just catches the vibe of kicking around in the summer twilight so perfectly, the bliss of having nothing to do. It's a love song though, too, slyly winking at that girl who'll never quite come around... melancholy, but free. My gut tells me these guys would've put on quite a show! You can check out Larry's further career in music here, he's still very active in the Omaha area. He kindly sent along these clippings. Looks like great times! Thanks, Larry!

Room At the Top

You've Got to Give her Rock'n'Roll to Keep Her Home


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lewis - L'Amour

Easily one of the most sincerely weird - and great - records I came across last year was this private press LP from Santa Monica by a guy simply known as Lewis! A good friend turned me onto the record with the caveat that we should try to find him, a trail which was becoming increasingly confusing and eventually impossible. Our search for Lewis ended with a Guam address sans phone number, so I'm going to leave it at that! But the music still stays lodged in my brain, a bizarre floating late night SSW trip with cosmic synth washes, enigmatic vocals, and just a truly wigged mood. I'm completely serious when I say that the vibe on here is just about the closest thing I've found via vanity press records to the highly atmospheric universe of David Lynch's Twin Peaks... Like that show it's ostensibly a really cheesy platform but everything is just so soaked in some kind of weightless transcendence and spooky subterfuge that it just totally destroys me! There's something very very world weary about the LP but couched in this great faded mumbly croon that seems effortless, yet pushing at somewhere far out... I've really been fascinated and mystified by the whole thing, and I hope some other folks will be too. Thanks to Aaron in Canada for first turning this up! Lewis if you're out there, get in touch!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sage on Sandwich

Picked up 2 45s by this group recently and have been grooving on their slightly subdued late 60s small-town vibe. Has that fumbly earnestness mixed with bare bones country rock sentiment that makes records like the hallowed Hickory Wind of Indiana just glow. Have literally nothing to report on this band, though I'll say the above 7" is the better of the two. They get a great late night rehearsal sound on Midnight Memories, and She Fades Away is a perfect breezy ride through rustic heart-aches.

Midnight Memories

She Fades Away

On the Road Again / Lookin' for Love is basically two sides of the same song with different lyrics in a pretty straight ahead country rock vein. Fun laid back vibe with some great barn acoustics and swamp wah on the solos. Make sure to listen to the lyrics of On the Road, they crack me up - especially the marvelously out of touch bit about not getting paid at one gig in Louisiana but being invited back again next year for being so nice about the inconvenience! Anyone with further info on this mysterious combo, please drop a line... And as always, I will see you soon!

Lookin' For Love

On the Road Again

Monday, March 22, 2010

Danny Espy on BJ Records

Enigmatic rainy day loner garage 45 from California... I've had it for a few years and puzzled over the why's and where's but a friend recently was able to make contact with Danny who lives in New Jersey and recorded the 7" sort of ad hoc on a vacation to Southern California with his family in '74. Still can't quite figure out if this is Buster Jones' "BJ" label which had a number of soul releases and was active more or less when this would have been recorded. A band was provided for the occasion, and that's about all there is to tell. Enjoy the fragile teen ambience on "Lonesome Man" and warbly basement shuffle of "When Will the Sun Shine." It's a rare one!

When Will The Sun Shine

Lonesome Man

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Interview: Phil Lewin

I had the pleasure of speaking with Philip Lewin recently, a Toronto area song-smith and musician who released two marvelous LPs back in the 70s. I would describe both records as very personal statements from a unique perspective... something all too rare when it comes to self-released folk and rock music from those halcyon days. Phil is that wonderfully dialed voice which possesses a beautifully cynical mysticism, an intellectual drift fallen on hard times, and ragged musical ends that find their home just because they can. I was so caught off guard when I first heard Diamond Love and Other Realities a few years ago that I played it back to back for days in a row, before finally giving Phil a call a year or so later. Upon hearing Am I Really Here All Alone? a bit later the whole picture clicked, and I could see all these fascinating threads weaving in and out of both records... heartfelt, sad music that reached out and commanded everything I had as a listener. Astonishing late night epiphanies that arose from something very familiar and pushed far out into the atmosphere: cerebral moving dystopic visions of love and longing, of magic and holy people moving in tawdry circles, dark and light like the album cover flashing in the fog, all of this - mind you - wed to a canvas of fragile electric leads and accomplished confident song-writing... Watercolors, which I've posted below is a piece of music that has always stopped me dead in my tracks, an epiphany of the slender line between existential ecstasy and dread, as heavy a song as anything you'd call to mind from your 70s folkie pantheon of Tims and Bobs... and so it is I remain rapt and raving! It's my pleasure to present this interview, as I consider myself a true fan and hope a few more people might dig into these records and enjoy Phil's story. I'm surprised too that Am I Really Here has not been reissued on vinyl yet, as it seems like it would go over well with a wide group of folks - in lieu of that, I've posted a track from each record for you to check out... and should you wish to purchase a CD of either album from Phil himself, he can be contacted here. So without further ado... Phil!

Interview with Phil, March 14, 2010

A snap of Brian Gauci and Wyatt MacDonald, from the Diamond Love Sessions

from Am I Really Here All Alone?

Diamond Love
from Diamond Love and Other Realities