I used to really love Comet Gain, then felt they kind of lost it when the band split off with all the members defecting to form Velocette. This single represents a return to form in my opinion. The production is much friendlier than the dashed off sound of their last LP which came out on Kill Rock Stars. In fact, 'You Can Hide Your Love Forever' may be my favorite Comet Gain song ever. The song is titled after the Orange Juice debut LP 'You Can't Hide Your Love Forever' which came out on Postcard Records in 1982. That record is one of my all time favorite LPs. 'You Can Hide Your Love Forever' is melodic and fine. It is a great song which lingers in your mind long after the needle has danced through it's grooves. 'Beatnik' is a pretty good song that rocks more than the A-side. It has organ and female vocals. I'm sure some people will prefer it to the A-side.
June, 5, 2001
The Kitchen is a band formed by Manda Rin from Bis and Ryan from the Florida band Discount. 'Better On The Floor' (#1) sounds a lot like X Ray Spex, particularly the vocals. The vocals in 'And He Loves It' (#2) and 'We're Just The Youth' (#3) remind me of Kathleen Hanna. Production on all tracks is lo-fi by standards of their other bands, but in this context it works fine. Fave: 1
This 12" has 3 songs which are remixes of songs from Mescalito's LP 'One Path In A Million'. The mixes make the original materila jump out in the same wag that Jagz Kooner's mix of Electrelane's 'Blue Straggler' did in last weeks gullbuy. Blue State's are ans Eighteenth Strret Lounge Music recording artist in the States and a Memphis Industries artist in the UK. They play a downbeat sound not too far from Thievery Corporation. The Blue States mix of 'Rambla' is excellent. The mix adds female vocals and gloss to the original. Bent are a UK duo that have made some fine 12"s and a CD. Their mix of '1/2 Tested' is just as much a highlight as the Blue States mix. On the B-side Skylab provide a mix of 'Lovegate' that goes through a handful of different tempos and changes. Mescalito are D. O'Sullivan and L. Sheperd. Faves: A1,A2
What a pleasure it is to have the opportunity to write about a cd compilation that literally contains some of my favorite psychedelic pop songs of all time! The artists on this compilation range from the well-known (the Moody Blues, after the beat period of 'Go Now' but before the symphonic concept album Days of Future Past, the Small Faces, known mostly as a mod band but who recorded a few choice psychedelic tracks in their day, and Al Stewart--yes, THAT Al Stewart), to the wonderfully obscure, but no less talented (the Curiosity Shoppe, Felius Andromeda, Garden Odyssey Enterprise). Most of the artists on this compilation are english, though there are also three from glasgow, scotland (the Poets, the Societe, and Al 'year of the cat' Stewart), one band who hailed originally from new zealand (Human Instinct), and one token american transplant (Andy Forray). The one thing they all have in common is that they all recorded for the decca label or it's slightly more adventurous subsidiary, deram. The majority of these songs were originally released in 1967, though there are a few from 1968 and even a couple from 1969. By definition, the word psychedelic means 'expanding the mind's awareness', but it also means 'producing an effect resembling that of a psychedelic drug', which was the whole point of these songs (well, besides trying to have a hit single of course)-- to try to convey the psychedelic experience to the listener in the context of a 2 1/2 minute pop song. like the american surf instrumental bands of the early 60's, who tried to convey through the sound of their songs the feeling of riding the waves to listeners who may have never even seen the ocean, these bands were trying to convey the feeling of being on psychedelic drugs to people who may have never smoked a joint (of course, it probably didn't hurt the bands' cause any if many of their listeners actually WERE on hallucinogens at the time!). Make no mistake, despite all the strange instruments, weird sound effects, phasing, and backwards tapes used in these songs, they are all still very much 'pop' songs, which I think is one of the key things that makes them so special. in contrast to their american counterparts, who had a 'heavier' sound. The british psychedelic bands of the same time period had much more of a playful, whimsical, almost innocent sound about them. One thing I found most surprising about this compilation is the shockingly high percentage of these bands that only put out one '45' in their entire career (8 of the 25 bands compiled here!), which is a real shame, because the singles they did put out are some of the best examples of this genre , so you have to wonder what could've been if they had gotten the chance to record an entire album.
Okay, enough background -- let me write about some of the songs! There really isn't a bad song here, they range from very good to suberb, so I will limit myself to writing only about my absolute favorites. First up(TRACK 1) we have the Tintern Abbey, and the b-side to their only single, 'Vacuum Cleaner', with it's great fuzztone guitar sound and effective use of mellotron. If you ever get the chance to listen to the a-side of this '45' (which is actually called 'Beeside') do so, it is just as good. TRACK 3 features the Accent, and their wonderful 'Red Sky at Night', from THEIR only single. This song's got it all, excellent guitar work, bizarre sound effects, ominous voices of doom -- what more could you want? TRACK 4 is the Curiosity Shoppe with the song 'Baby I Need You', (ONCE AGAIN, their only single) an incredible organ-driven rave-up that builds and builds to a great crescendo. TRACK 6 is by the Glasgow band the Poets with their gorgeous 'In Your Tower' complete with nice indian flute. TRACK 17 is the 23rd Turnoff with their hauntingly beautiful song 'Michaelangelo' (you guessed it - their ONLY single!). With very few exceptions, I don't usually like any type of horns used in rock music, but I have to admit the subtle horn sounds on this one really add to the song. The cd ends with the Warm Sounds (TRACK 25) and their fantastic slice of acid-pop 'Nite is a Comin'' --- but if you want to hear a song of total psychedelic backwards tape madness, search out the flipside ('Smeta Murgaty')
.....and a few side notes:
- the Syn song '14-Hour Technicolour Dream was written to commemorate the multi-media event which took place on april 29th and 30th at the alexander palace, significant in that it was the first such psychedelic gathering in England.
- the Fairytale's 'Guess I Was Dreaming' was covered by none other than american frat-rockers the Kingsmen (yes, 'Louie, Louie') in their stab at psychedelia. c'mon -- it was 1967! -- everybody had to take a crack at it! the most surprising thing of all though, is that their version is actually quite good!!!
- the Al Stewart song here is a Yardbirds cover.
- and lastly, can anyone tell me how Turquoise managed to be prophetic enough to put out 'Woodstock' (not the Joni Mitchell song) A FULL YEAR before the music festival took place??!! (unless of course they had Snoopy's pal in mind)
Needless to say, this cd gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION, especially for anyone who is curious about this genre of music. also, the sound quality on this cd is absolutely suberb. i've never heard these songs sound so good before. FAVES: 1, 3, 4, 6, 17, 25
Pip, June, 5, 2001
A collection of hard to classify songs by New Zealand artists, put together by Phase 5's Round Trip Mars Records and the Different Drummer label. There is an almost J-Pop feel to the bossa, jazzband, scratching, hip-hop beat, dub tracks on this comp from Sola Rosa, SJD, Phase 5, Juse, Mood Unit, and others. The comp starts off on a bossa feel with SJD's 'Gigawata' (#1), which samples from the Marcos Valle/Paulo Sergio Valle song 'Gente'. There was an awesome cover of this same song on the 'Real Carioca' CD on Siesta Records back in '99. 'Gigawata' only uses bits of the tune, but it weaves them into a delectible song that is one of my favorites here. The most upbeat of the tracks is Submariner's 'Tha' Natural' (#3). Is has scratching and jazzband sampling, kind of klike Mr. Scruff and Tetris have done. In addition it has a vocal snippet which I believe is from ESG. The vocal brings this song straight into my list of faves for this CD. 'Daylight' (#4) by Juse has a glockenspeil part that sounds like the Barbara Streisand song 'People who need people'. It works that melody deep into its own kettle of sound. 'Now A Major Picture' (#6) by International Observer is a dub track that has melodica which equally recalls Augusto Pablo and Ennio Morricone. Kevvy Kev's 'Higher Dread' (#8) also has melodica, but the pace of the song is slowed down to make it more a chill out piece than a dub mover. One of the tracks I really like is 'Other Worlds' (#10) by Pains People. It feels a bit like a Yoshinori Sunahara track with the use of flight / space related voice samples, with electronics that are dub and exotica styled. 'Horse Winning Without rider' (#12) by Phelps and Munro stands alone on the disc with its guitar based structure. The guitar reminds me very much of the NYC band Television in their song 'The Dreams Dream' from the (amazing) 'Adventure' LP which came out in 1978. This CD is a joyfully unanticipated find. Any of the songs taken alone work pretty well for me. Faves: 1,3,10,12
The second disc in this series has a lot more sonic variation that it's predecessor. Whenever you pick up a record associated with Stefan Betke (Pole) you have a certain expectation right off the bat. This CD goes a bit beyond the subsonic machine dub that has become his trademark sound. John Tejada's 'A World so Wide' (#3) even has guitars throughout. It is one of the highlights of the disc. I think that this CD takes the spirit of adventure that Stefan Betke had with the 'komfort.labor' compilation one step further. It confidently takes the sound he loves just a little bit further into new territory, with a caste of known and new faces. Fave: 3
Beta Bodega Coalition is a label started by Steve Castro. All BBC releases have a polital tone concentrating on Spanish speaking countries suffering political oppresion at the hands of governments and corporations. This 12" concentrates on Honduras, and the expoitation brought on by the Chiquita Corp. The 12" starts off with General Magic 'The Cause'. General Magic is Andreas Pieper and Ramon Bauer (the founders of the Mego label). On this recording they credit Gerhard Potuznik with vocals, though his contribution has been altered to only the purest electronic essence on this almost broken beat track. Next is Scott Herren recording as Prefuse 73, with the song 'Transmito 73001'. He is joined on this song by someone named V8. The Prefuse 73 song is my favorite on this side. It is a calm song with a jazzy bass like Amon Tobin used to play on his records. Wallpapering the background are radio tranmissions from the Honduras. I can't wait to hear the upcoming Prefuse 73 full length on Warp! The first side closes out with Sony Mao's 'Mancha Brava (preludio)'. It is a short clicks n' cuts styled piece with 2 organic sounds in it's pallette: a frog chirping, and a tribal drum. The B-side starts with California's Safety Scissors doing 'Esperanto'. It is an almost samba song that sounds quite different than other pieces I have heard from Safety Scissors. I like it much! 'Esperanto'is followed by Spike (rumored to be Push Button Objects and Phonem) playing 'Can't Do Sh*t To Stop Us'. It is a noisy song that fits well with the General Magic song that started off the platter. Faves: A2,B1
Reissue of the 1968 record put out by LA's Elyse, on the new Orange Twin label formed by Andrew Reiger of Nuetral Milk Hotel and Elf Power. Eleyse was a pastoral folkrock / psychedelic artist who started off in Toronto before moving to LA. In Toroanto she used to play shows with Joni Mirtchell and Neil Young. Neil guests on one of the bonus songs. Elyse had recorded two LPs after this first one, though they were never released. The Neil Young song is from one of those records. Her sound is like Vashti Bunyan inhabiting Janis Joplin's body, with it's rasping voice. Faves: 3,6,8,9,12,13
This is the follow up to the 12" Stefan Schneider released on Soul Static sound last year. The songs are more minimal than pieces he helps create with To Rococo Rot. All the tracks are completely electronic, though his background as a bass player shows up in the way he structures them. There are 7 tracks on this mini-LP. My favorite is 'Bedeckt' (A2) which has what sounds like guitar in parts, and what sounds like treated vocals in others. My second favorite track is 'One and Three Chairs' (B1). It is a very rigid sounding track with a percolating sound under a repeating clang almost like an alarm. Stefan makes it work though, and makes me whnt to hear it again. Faves: A2,B1
Reuber is a member of the band Klangwart. This is his first solo recording, made with Jyrgen Hall of Groenland Orchester on bass. It is a vinyl only release which is split into 8 songs which play best one side at a time, each track blending into the next. The record starts and ends with similarly titled tracks named 'Hey Ho!!'. Each are somewhat psychedelic with ringing bell-like tones and words floating in and out of the jangling mix. The second track is 'Spielkind'. The bells are still there, but now the base of the song is what sounds like an electronically altered accordion, with an African thumb-harp below. The song starts to lose its form in echo and drifts into 'K.' No firm separation point is provided, but the sound of blowing air into a bottle seems to start 'K.'. It is very interesting the way Rueber has naturally combined electronic and organic sounds without a pretense of fashion (electronic / organic sounds are 'in'). As the song progresses the 'organic' moves up front and the sound of a phone ringing sits below. 'Blinddarn' is a short track that closes out the side. It is very quiet. It is also the first time I can really hear the bass that Jyrgen Hall plays. The second side starts with 'Weit Weg'. It reminds me of the soundtrack music in 'The Lathe of Heaven' (one of my all time favorite movies), the adaptation of Ursula LeGuin's book. Musically 'Weit Weg' is very similar to the two 'Hey Ho!!' songs. 'Im Fredebruch' has female wordless vocals that sound like they could come from the soundtrack to 'The Wicker Man'. The track floats on a wisp of haze before ending to a break of silence before the title song 'Anna'. 'Anna' starts off with a baby girl (Anna?) saying 'Hello' a few times. The song has an electric bass part that reminds me of Kreidler before they lost the wonderful bass playing talents of Stefan Schneider. He made the 'Weekend' and 'Appearance and the Park' CDs magical with his bass. 'Anna' comes pretty close to such magic as the song gets more spun around in the musical miasma Reuber stirs up, climaxing with the second version of 'Hey Ho!!'. This LP is NCP heaven. Staubgold does it again!
The companion CD to Studio One Rockers, Studio One Soul focuses on the interpretations Jamaican artists did of US Soul classics. I like this disc better than the Rockers CD. I could picture any of these songs being played at a Mod party in mid sixties London. Of particualr joy to me are Sound dimension's 'Time Is Right' (#4), Otis Gayle's 'I'll Be Around' (#6), and Richard Ace's 'Can't Get Enough' (#9). Each just send me. You know the songs, yet the versions here are far removed from anything you would hear on one of the cursed oldies stations that plunder the most well known songs of bygone eras with zero spirit of adventure or discovery. Faves: 4,6,9
The single says that the artist is Snares Man!, but this is actually a Venetian Snares 7". It is released on the same label that put out the Pleasurehorse 12". The sleeve of this single is hand screened with the Rastafarian colors of red, yellow, and green in a gradient behind a series of pot leaves. The sound and feel of the single echos releases on the Full Watts label run by I-Sound and DJ Scud. Both labels feature completely over the top takes on reggae mixed with broken beats, left field samples, and noise. This single is a kick to hear. Accordians come into a toast vocal backed by wild beats - and it all works.