This week I am adding just released 'best of' discs by three classic 60's bubblegum artists. Buddah Records have done a great job with the artwork, song selection, and just plain the fact that the original label they came out on (Buddah) is still around to put out these great discs. First up is The 1910 Fruitgum Company. They have 3 hits that are ingrained in our cellular consciousness since before birth. 'Simon Says' ( #1), '1,2,3 Red Light' (#6), and 'Indian Giver' (#9) are each 100% star material. Just perfect pop songs. Michael Quercio, who sang for the '84 'Paisley Underground' LA band The Three O'Clock sang like the vocalist in this band sings on 'Please Me, Tease Me' & '(Play our song) Mr. Music Man'. The 1910 Fruitgum Company have a bit of Motown in their sound. On the Siesta compilation 'Algebra Spagetti' Monday Sinclair covers '1910 Cotton Candy Castle'. I've listened to the Algebra spagetti version a hundred times, so it was strange hearing the original version on this disc. Aside from the bonafide hits, I also like the song 'Bubble Gum World' (#12) on this disc. For some factual info on the band we will go to the rear cover of the CD 'The 1910 Fruitgum Company was the brainchild of Buddah Records house producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz. With The 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Kasenetz-Katz team scored their first major hit, the 1968 Top Five smash 'Simon Says,' launching the bubblegum craze. The band scored seven chart records and released five albums of original material, the best of which is represented on this collection'. Faves: 1,6,9,11
April 17, 2001
From the rear cover of the disc: 'Formed in Oxford Ohio in 1967, The Lemon Pipers were more inclined towards psychedelia than their bubblicious peers. They were also a real, self-contained band who occasionally wrote their own material. They scored a #1 hit in early 1968 with 'Green Tambourine' and recorded two albums before disbanding. Guitarist Bill Bartlett later joined the band Ram Jam, scoring a hit with 'Black Betty'. It's true that they wrote 3 of the songs on this 'best of' CD, but clearly the best songs were the ones handed to them on a silver plate by the hit team of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz. I really like their cover of Goffin-King's 'I Was Not Born To Follow'. The Byrd's covered this song gloriously on the soundtrack to Easy Rider. The Leka and Pinz song 'Jelly Jungle (of Orange Marmalade)' is covered by Monday Sinclair on Siesta's 'Algebra Spaghetti' compilation. I really enjoyed hearing the original version on this disc. Then of couse there's THE HIT: 'Green Tambourine' deserved all the play it got when it came out. What a song! Faves: 1,7,11
Eleventh entry in FatCat's split 12" series. Matmos have 2 songs. The first ('Freak 'N' You') is my favorite on the 12". It is like a sped up Luomo (Vladislav delay's 'house' project). It chops up a vocal based song in a linear fashion - the song still sounds like it has continuity beginning to end. It should be loved by fans of Thomas Brinkman's Soul Center project, Uwe Schmidt's Geez n' Gosh project, or Luomo. The second Matmos piece 'Rigged Seance' is a much more experimental piece featuring David Pajo's (treated) guitar and a guest appearance by Jay Lesser (Matador artist Lesser). My favorite part of the song, which otherwise sounds like a John Cage plucked string prepared piano piece to me, is the sudden loud appearance of a orchestra's crescendo sampled into the otherwise sparse mesh, and the very end of the track, when a bending electronic sound suddenly becomes a whistled bar that ends the track. The Motion side has 3 quiet pieces. The first two ('Re.Coc 2.2' & 'Motor Function Error') include sounds like steam pressure relief valves expelling air. They are at the same time 'soothing' and 'not your usual fare'. The third track 'Electric Pets' continues the feel, but adds acoustic guitar in the beginning, and chimes at the end. Faves: A1
Three killer hits and 2 songs that I completely love. The hits are 'Yummy, Yummy, Yummy' (#1), 'Chewy Chewy' (#6), and '1,2,3 Red Light' (later recorded by 1920 Fruitgum Co., who topped the charts with it). You can hear that this is the earliest of the three discs added this week, just as you can hear that The Lemon Pipers were the most recent of the three. Time moves very quickly, and budgets too. The production on this disc (while never inadequate) is no match for the sheen of The Lemon Pipers. The 2 other songs I love on this disc are the Beach Boys styled 'Down At Lulu's' (#10) and the awesome tune of 'Sausalito (is the place to go)' (#12). 'Nightime' (#5) has the most Motown sound of the songs. Motown was an influence never too far under the hood of any of the bubblegum bands. From the back cover of the disc: 'The Ohio Express formed in Mansfield Ohio in 1967. they released a couple of singles on Cameo Records, before hooking up with the successful Kasenetz-Katz partnership and signing with Buddah Records. Super K reworked the group utilizing many of the same personnel as the 1910 Fruitgum Company, including vocalist Joey Levine. Later Ohio Express single 'Sausalito' featured the band that would become 10cc.' Faves: 1,6,9,10,14
I have been listening to the three discs in this set for a week now in preparation for writing this review and I am pleased to report that it would be much easier to write which songs I DON'T like than to write about those I do. Since I don't like to put time into putting something down, I will just tell you that I enjoy this set much more than I expected to and have found many great songs spread between all 3 discs. The first CD contains all of 1966's Perrey & Kingsley LP 'The In Sound From Way Out' and their 1967 LP 'Spotlight On The Moog (Kaleidoscopic Vibrations)'. The second disc contains the Jean Jacques Perrey 1969 LP 'The Amazing New Electronic Pop sound of Jean Jacques Perrey' and his 1970 LP 'Mood Indigo'. The third CD is a half hour disc containing 2 Fat Boy Slim remixes (both of 'E.V.A.') and 5 remixes by someone called Eurotrash. Believe it or not even the remixes are very good! If you are looking for some reference point as to the sound on these discs, they remind me of Esquivel's discs, only instead of an orchestra, brass, and the wordless vocal singers you just have these very well played synthesizers, with plenty of peripheral embellishments and effects. Like Esquivel's discs many of the songs are versions of very familiar songs you will know. A real joy! From Vanguard's website: 'Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley are pioneers in using electronic music in the popular field. United by their firm conviction that electronic music need not--and should not--be cold, forbidding, and strange, Perrey/Kingsley have combined technical know-how with popular music. The result is an exotic hybrid; different, but not at all difficult--unusual, yet familiar.'
Les Sexareenos are three guys and a gal from Montreal. They play garage rock with nuts, bolts, and a Farfisa - raw, savage beat music that mixes The Mummies, The Wildebeests and mid 60's style garage rock. Les Sexareenos feature members of The Spaceshits, Tempo V, Irritiations, and The Daylight Lovers. The have out a CD called 'Live! In The Bed' (also on Sympathy) and two other singles (one on Telstar and one on Sack O Sh*t Records). Like the CD, this EP (their latest release) was recorded in Detroit by Jim Diamond. The first three songs are originals. The last song is a cover of 'Lights Out' by Jerry Byrne. The original was early 60s West Coast R&B, probably the hardcore of its day. Jerry Byrne's version featured a young Dr. John on piano.
Subtitled '1917 - 1944: high & low', this comp is a well put together 25 songs which really opened my mind. The only other time I really had exposure to music of this era was through the R. Crumb 'That's what I call sweet music' compilation which came out early '99 on the UK Songbook Series label. The R. Crumb CD was a bit overwhelming for me. The Flashbacks series is much more digestible because it is sorted by theme. I intend to add all 6 volumes of this wonderful series to the playlist of WZBC.
'1914 - 1946: crazy & obscure' is the subtitle of this volume. Almost every song is a delight, and only 2 of the songs were known by me before. I am really liking these discs and can't even get specific about songs on them without starting an epic review. Many of the same artists appear disc to disc in this series, so the sound on all 6 discs is pretty close: only the theme varies.
Tech/house and Electro without the 80's feel. A modern dirty sound courtesy of DJ Hell's label International DeeJay Gigolo Records. This double CD set has 24 songs that completely delight. The only artists to get two songs each are Valium and Doppler Effekt. We have both the Doppler Effekt songs on their CD (which came out on this label), but everything else (except the David Carretta track) is new. Station Rose put out a CD on Crippled dick that looked more 'Saint Etienne' than tech/house, though 'Dave' (1.4) has the 4/4 beat, cool electronics, and submerged german talking that make it a great cut which fits on this comp. David Carretta has a song on here from his 'Le Catalogue Electronique' CD. The song 'Automat' (1.7) features Electric Indigo (Susanne Kirchmayr in Marseille) To me the standout song on the disc is Valium's 'Waterworld' (1.11). It features David Attenborough from his 'Birds' series. His distinctive voice is laid over a smooth bed of shifting electronics. Tampopo's 'Add Boiling Water' (2.4) has lots of different treated vocals and a jumping offbeat. Zombie Nation 'Cars' (2.8) cops the phrase from Ian Dury's 'Reasons to be Cheerful', though it changes it to 'dismal'. Zombie Nation is the new band formed by Kevin Martin. Mexican 'Nortec' artist Bostich does 'Polaris' (2.11). Nortec combines the traditional sounds of norteno music with the electronic sounds of techno. Bostich is on the Mil Records/Palm Pictures compilation 'Nortec Collective: the Tijuana Sessions Vol. 1', which this song is from. Finally, Tuxedo Moon (infamously DJ Hell's favorite band in the world) get their song 'No Tears' remixed by H. Platzgumer (DJ Hell himself). Faves: disc1:4,7,8 disc2:4,8,12
Low priced compilation from Sony Japan spotlighting some of the talent they would like us to seek out from them. Therein lies the problem with this disc, which (for me) only scores on 4 of the 14 cuts. It seems that they chose Japanese bands that are making sounds similiar to American or UK artists. What I love about Japanese music is the bands that do not sound like they are from anywhere else. Of those, Jenka has 'Heart' (#6), a song produced by Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto, with contributions by Sean Lennon. The song is really quite good. It bounces and sounds really fresh. Yoshinori Sunahara's 'Clipper's Discoteque Break' (#8) was also released as a 12" on Bungalow Records. It is a great track, like all the songs he releases. I enjoyed hearing his early band Denki Groove, which I had never gotten to hear. Their track 'Nothing's Gonna Change' is on this compilation. It is not one of my 4 faves though. There's nothing wrong with Denki Groove's sound, it just sounds a bit mainstream dancepop for me. The vocal reminds me of Romanthonys vocal on Daft Punks recent hit. Chappie's 'The International Chappie's Cheer-leading Team' (#9) sounds so similiar to something that would have appeared on Readymade's 'La Generation' comp that I had to check to make sure it wasn't an that 9 song CDEP. It is the most 'J-Pop' sounding track on this disc. Kodo's 'Wax On' (#10) is an instrumental that I really like. It has the same kind of clipped sound that Hi-Posi used on their best song 'I Love You'. There is a Puffy song (Asia no Junshin'), but it did not move me like I expected it to. There are three songs that are pretty good although not my faves: Dog Hair Dressers 'Orange Juice' sounds like the Spoozy's or Bis. Boom Boom Satellites 'Fogbound' is actually a great song, just not really my genre. It has a vocal that reminds me of a commercial alternative 80's style goth or industrial band a bit, thought the music is top notch. Supercar's 'White Surf' has this same type of vocal (reminding me of the band Elephant actually) with driving guitar. again, a great song but not really my thing. Faves: 6,8,9,10.
Like a tamer Lolita Storm, even consisting of three girls. Ping Pong Bitches are a new kind of act for Alan McGee's Poptones roster, playing up the tough girl/S&M feel in their leather whips and latex look. No 'El Graphics' art on this disc like all the other Poptones records. The first song 'Beat You Up' uses the Giorgio Moroder (Donna Summer) 'I Feel Love' synth part as it's music, with vocals over the top. 'I Love You Necrophiliac' (#2) is my favorite track, despite its silly lyrics. It has cool music and is the best representation of the Ping Pong Bitches package. 'Rock Action' sounds like Joan Jett a la The Donnas. The guitar on it is by Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols. Except for the middle part of the song it is a completely dominated by Jone's trademark fat Gibson sound. It is my least fave of the 5 songs on this disc. 'Dynamite' sounds like one of the early Peaches songs from the Teenage USA EP. It has Bratmobile style single string guitar and basic drum machine and synth. 'Chinese Song' (#5) is my other favorite. It has vocals completely sung in Chinese (natch!), great production, and a tamer sound than any of the other songs. 'Chinese Song' has a guest appearance by Phil Manzenera (Roxy Music) playing guitar. This band has some friends! Faves: 2,5