New Beachwood Sparks single with 2 exclusive songs. Beachwood Sparks are an LA band that include members of Further, the Lilys, and Stictly Ballroom. Their sound is similiar to the 'Paisley Underground' bands of the early 80s in Los Angeles. "Once We Were Trees" starts off with guitar sounding like Television's "The Dream's Dream" from the 1978 'Adventure' LP. The song has the kind of sun fried country sound that New Riders of the Purple Sage perfected in the early 70's, though the intense guitar effect petal climax at the end of the track would never have made it onto one of the 'Riders LPs. The B-side is a cover of the Everly Brother's "Wake Up, Little Suzie" filled with Rickenbacker guitars and petal steel guitar like the post-Dils band Rank & File in the early 80's. I like both sides of this single. It was recorded live, though the quality is top notch and there are no crowd noises. If you liked Beachwwod Sparks Sub Pop full length this will be a treat, as it has the first new recordings released since.
May 15, 2001
An event I had not expected was the release of a new Detroit Cobras LP. I really loved their first disc 'Mink Rat or Rabbit' and the few singles they released. I thought they had broken up as they had never played here in Boston, and The Breakdowns 7" on Kill Rock Stars boasted "ex-Detroit Cobras". It's true that the guitarist and bassist left the band to form The Breakdowns, but the rest of the band remain, with fresh replacements to fill the vacated roles. Like the debut record all 14 songs are covers. The Detroit Cobras have an amazing vocalist in Rachel Nagy. She sings with such energy and soul that the songs jump out at you. Her voice is strong and clear, like a Motown voice with bite. Though I truly like every song, my faves are the Davis Jones song "Boss Lady" (#8), Ike Turner's "Can't Miss Nothing" (#10), Singleton T. McCoy's "Right Around The Corner" (#11), and Otis Redding's "Shout Bama Lama" (#14). The Detroit Cobras are like a perfect synthesis of a Mod and a Rock band. I love their sound and hope that they put out more singles and tour soon. Faves: 8,10,11,14
Somewhat similar to the Block Party Breaks Vol. 2 compilation added April 3rd in the gullbuy, the cover of the disc says "rock breaks and guitars for funky people compiled by DJ Spinna and Monty Burns". I picked it up because it had an interesting cover and track listing. I only recognized the names of half of the 16 artists on the comp. The comp starts strong with Sly and The Family Stone's 1967 track "Trip To Your Heart". Next up is Carlos Devadip Santana "Life Is Just A Passing Parade" from his 1978 'Silver Dreams, Golden Reality' LP. Betty Davis has "Anti Love Song", though we already have that song on her first record and on the 'I'm A Good Woman' compilation. The Moog Machine do an instrumental version of Aquarius" (#5). Can have "Vitamin-C" from their "Ege Bamyasi" LP here (#6). My favorite of the tracks by artists I had never heard was Ruth Copeland's 1971 song "Your Love Been So Good To Me" (#7), vocally sounding an awful lot like Heart. I like the Brian Auger and The Trinity 1968 song "Tiger" (#8), which sounds like it could be on one of Blow Up's Go-Go compilations. The only song I really can't take is Steve Winwood's "I'm A Man" (#9). The song starts off well enough sounding like Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" from the Superfly soundtrack, but as soon as Steve Winwood (the front man from Traffic) opens his mouth to sing, it goes quite wrong for me. I know there are a lot of Funk compilations surfacing these days, but this one is as good as any other if you want to check out older stuff through fresh eyes. The bands I did not know on this comp are: Head Hunters, Julie Driscoll, Yellow Submarine, Babe Ruth, Colosseum, Zoo, and Cymande. Faves: 1,6,7,8
A recording of Pan Sonic playing live in London on October 5th 1995. The 53 minute CD is split into 9 unnamed songs. I like this disc better than the 'Live in New York' disc in this oddly packaged series. I did not get much enjoyment out of the 2 long pieces on the NY disc. The NY disc was recorded on two different nights and just presented each nights set as a single piece. This London disc has easily digestible chunks such as the 3 minute second, fourth, sixth, or eighth tracks, and the 5 minute third, fifth, and seventh tracks. My favorites are the fifth track and the twelve minute finale 9th track. Faves: 5,9
If there's one thing that White Stripes frontman Jack White loves, it's his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Fortunately, he's got the financial backing of Sympathy for the Record Industry, allowing him to put together this 19-song compilation. The album is devoted, as its title reports, to the Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit. Those familiar with the idiosyncratic Long Beach record label will recognize the trademark garage/soul influenced sound of bands like the Come Ons and the Detroit Cobras, each of whom lend a track to the comp. The White Stripes themselves contribute 'Red Death at 6:14,' which is inevitably one of the record's highlights. It continues to amaze me that a band with such a simple and formulaic style, borrowing as much as they do from already established canons like the Mississippi Blues, has the ability to rock through song after song without boring its audience. The real standouts on this album, though, are the tracks from bands that have never been heard before. For months, I have heard Jack White talk up the Von Bondies, figuring he was just into them because his girlfriend is their guitarist. Silly me- they totally rule! Their song 'The Sound of Terror' is more sparse than the rest of the record, building up slowly from an eerie, contorted twang intro to a rhythmic, pounding chorus that reminds me of the Cramps. Another notable newcomer is Whirlwind Heat, whose song 'Decal on my Sticker' has the youthful sound of a home recording, and rocks with an abandon that sets these guys apart from the rest. Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit has the overall feel of a Sympathy release, but with a sort of stripped down, industrial (not like the genre of music, but the kind of buildings you find in old industrial cities) despondency that, I can only assume, is born of living in a place like Detroit.
Sandra Barrett, May 15, 2001
When I first got home with this disc and put it on I though "Ut-Oh. I'm going to get my ass kicked for adding this". Funny thing is, during the course of the 2 weeks I've been listening to it so I could write this review, Benjamin Diamond became my favorite of the discs this week (along with Miniflex). The sound is similiar to the band Zoot Woman. I could picture the Boston band Lifestyle really grooving to this disc even though it is not synthpop. It has the 80's sound all over it, which Lifestyle play to as well. Benjamin Diamond's vocals sound like Prince in places, like Hall & Oates in others. He is a celeb from his work with Daft Punk on their 'Homework' records, and from being the vocalist on the mega-hit song "Music Sounds Better With You", which was covered by The Bartlebees (see April 11, 2000 gullbuy). Why I like this CD so much is that is has good songs and a really clean sound that makes the technology of the crisp production stand out in a positive light. You could say that the sound is very commercial, though I can't picture this getting played anywhere in the US anytime soon. Benjamin Diamond is from France, the CD is made in Austria. My favorite tracks are "Little Scare" (#2), "18 and Over" (#3), and "U Were Born" (#5). There is a second loungier version of "U Were Born" hidden at the end of the last track (#12) which starts at -4:00. If you are not repulsed by glitz and the big sound of pop from a mirrored ball disco, try this disc and you may end up liking 'Strange Attitude' as much as I. Faves: 2,3,5
When Chicks On Speed were in town recently I polled them as to their favorite music right now. The only artist they named was Hanayo. They told me that Hanayo was someone they really respected who was doing something similar to them. The only Hanayo I had heard were the 2 songs she sings on the Schneider tm 'Binokular' 12" (see the December 5, 2000 gullbuy), and the version of "Joe Le Taxi" on a compilation put out by the store Collette in Paris. Hanayo has a CD called 'The Gift', but all I have been able to locate for the gullbuy is this collaborative CD with the noisy artist Panacea. I had never listened to his stuff before, so I don't really know how much different this collaborative full length sounds than what he releases under his own name. I know that he has a new CD out that iwas described to me as extreme 'broken beat' hardcore. Hanayo sings on 6 of the 10 tracks here. My favorite track is "You Hungry Man" (#2) which is a linearly constructed song with electronic music and Hanayo's vocals, which at times remind me of a Japanese version of Nina Hagen minus some of the grandious operatics, or the wilder vocals of Kazu from Blonde Redhead. I also like "Hallo Hitler" (#9) which starts quiet, then builds with Hanayo's vocals cut into a dublike echo over Panacea's background. The hard electronic instrumental "Danger" (#8) is the other of my three favorites from this record. Faves: 2,8,9
Miniflex is Yugo Katayama, the person who usually provides much of the music on Yukari Fresh records. 'Sud' is a thirty one minute disc with 10 songs. The sound he uses places him with Losfeld, Mansfield, and to a lesser extent Cubismo Grafico. The second song "For A Lovely Bust Line" could be any of those artists, listened to with your eyes closed. It has bouncey 'shopping center music' strings, a beat, acoustic guitar,and sampled words or parts of words. It is four minutes I enjoy listening to. "Terrestra" (#3) has the beat, the repeated sample of a phrase, an additional sample of girls saying "Ut-Oh", and sampled snippets of music that sound like Herp Alpert in some spots and 'I Dream Of Jeannie' in others. Again - a great 4 minute track, this one very much like Losfeld. "Till I Die" (#6) sounds more like Cubismo Grafico with the acoustic guitar and laid back pace. It is still textured aplenty. It has female vocals sung in an understated melodic manner - another joy. "New Colors" (#7) reminds me of the Mr. Scruff song "Get A Move On" from the Fila Brazilia 'Another Late Night' comp, with it's cool feel and muted trumpet. I like "New Colors" better than the Mr. Scruff song though. It has the meringue dance feel of a Mansfield track which brings it to the top for me. "Peach, A St. Tropez" (#10) has what sounds like Yukari Fresh singing this airey song with whistling and a "silk blowing on the beach" feel. Needless to say, I like this disc a lot and would recommend buying it in a minute. Faves: 2,3,6,7
3 song EP by Glen Johnson and the cast of people he works with as Piano Magic. The first song "I Came To Your Party Dressed As A Shadow" (#1) is the standout track to me. It features the vocals of Piano Magic newcomer Angele David-Guillou. She sings in a Black Box Recorder / Lori and the Chameleons styled detached voice. The feel of her voice is matched by the music and the lyrics, which make observations about her and the object of her attention as she attends a party, unseen by anyone else. The music is very sparse, with a sound that reminds me of what you might hear walking through the woods alone at night from some unidentified animal. All that accompanies the voice and the sound is Durutti Column/GNAC styled guitar and echoing key notes. There are no drums or bass. The second song is a four minute instrumental called "Blood & Snow". It has a trilling guitar and a twinkling keyboard. It reminds me of snow - cold and crystalline. The third song is a seven minute song called "The Drowning of St. Christopher" which reminds me of tracks form the two Vespertine compilations. Glen Johnson speak/sings on the track. There is bass on this cut but still no drums. It is a very quiet song. Fave: 1