The world's worst spot the difference competition. Surely there was more than one picture of The Brood available to the genius responsible for designing the sleeves for Get Hip? Anyhow... Farfisa-heavy garage band from NYC. Good stuff. Download it.
Related trivia: Jon Horne, brother of lead singer, Chris Horne, won the Buddy Bradley Look-a-like contest in Peter Bagge's Hate comic.
In some sense, a respite from the tidal wave of garage punk, budget rock and surf I've been uploading recently, but in other ways an upping of the ante. bIG fLAME were a Manchester three-piece whose output while they existed was restricted to a handful of 7" singles on independent labels. So, no thematic leap from somebody like The Fingers, for example. The band were resolutely political, amateur in the 'Good job done by non-professionals' kind of way, and most of all had a sound as if the history of jazz were written for drums, guitar and bass then pushed down the stairs. They are loud, fast and discordant in a particular early-80s way. Some say Minutemen, and I can see why they do, but bIG fLAME are much less considered, much more organic. Anyhow, if you're only here for The Gories, give it a go. Try starting with Sargasso. A song like a gas explosion.
Planet Pimp, and its genius CEO Sven Erik Geddes, managed to out-do even the casual, don't care, ennui of The Mummies by unleashing this classic piece of exploitation. Releasing a record by the Kings of Budget Rock? Take it down a step by releasing poorly-recorded live tracks in a glued-together DIY sleeve.
Just in time for Christmas, it's Supercharger. If I had to pick one single that exemplified the whole early 90s garage scene this would be it. Two tracks on one side, beautifully sloppy graphics on the sleeve, and completely apt 'production' from Trent Ruane.
A one-sided, two-track single which came with issue five of Speed Kills magazine. Gaunt were an Ohio band who seemed to fall between the cracks in the garage scene, not 'punk' enough and too 'professional'. This is a great single.
The inevitable Gories post. On beautiful shit brown vinyl and limited to 1000 copies, this release was on Australia's mighty Giant Claw, an offshoot of AuGoGo records. Illustration on the sleeve was by Kent Myers who used to produce a comic called Detroit! Murder City Comix, a few early copies of which passed through my hands back in the day. I got rid, so they couldn't have been that good. More Gories to come.
The Statics were a bunch of kids, mainly Master Zack Hoppenrath, from Seattle who charmed the cynics of the garage punk scene into releasing their music. In this case, Steve Turner out of Mudhoney, who released this EP on his very own Super Electro Sound Recordings label. The sound is very much that William Hampshire-inspired Seattle garage sound. Comes complete with a cover of the Supercharger 'standard' (arf) Sooprize Package for Mr. Mineo.
A quick confession. I've had this record since 1994 and I always thought it was a two-tracker; the a-side being called Hell-O Haunted and the b-side being Black Strings. Closer scrutiny of the cover tonight reveals the text 'include 3 songs'. It turns out Hell-O and Haunted are different songs. When you hear how they run together you will understand why I thought it was just one (relatively crazy) track and why I have not chosen to seperate them now. The Evil Hoodoo. A great band.
Two tunes from The Phantom Surfers. Johnny Bartlett's own composition, Flutter Foot backed up with a cover of Skip Roper's Playa Raton. Both tracks were later anthologised on the 1999 compilation LP/CD 'A Decade of Quality Control 1988 to 1999'.
Two covers. A side - The Avengers. Recorded live at Sun Studios, August 19, 1991 (no overdubs) and is an outtake from the Memphis Sol Today LP. B side - Cab Calloway. Recorded live at The Antenna Club in Memphis, August 18, 1991. Band line-up, Jeff Evans - Guitar, vocals on "Minnie", Don Howland - Guitar, vocals on "White Nigger", Rich Lillash - Drums, Jon Spencer - Guitar, backing vocals.
A split single featuring Memphis, TN's Oblivians playing King Louie Stomp, an instrumental song by Impala. This version, however, has vocals by Mr. King Louie himself. Sharing this esteemed company are Torino's furious-sounding Two Bo's Maniacs.
Snak Rock superstars The Go-Nuts were that most prog-rock of things, a surf/garage 'supergroup' featuring members of The Phantom Surfers, The Untamed Youth and The Mummies. They were also greater than the sum of their parts but probably never got their due thanks to their stupid stupid schtick of dressing up as superheroes. And staying in character. There was almost a Go-Nuts TV pilot made, which would have been interesting, and you can see their influence on shows like Yo Gabba Gabba and Glee. Every record they made featured at least one different recording of The Go-Nuts theme. Bit by bit I'll post them all.
The Pastels first single from way back in 1982 has never, to the best of my knowledge, been anthologised or reissued in any way. Which is a shame as it's the perfect blueprint for the C86 scene they were so integral to, but in many ways distanced from. After a second single on Rough Trade they released three classics on Creation (before it went shit), culminating in the still massive in this house, I'm Alright With You / Baby Honey.
This release, on the Television Personalities' Whaam! label, has a typically ramshackle (as per early Pastels) a-side and a b-side which pays beautiful tribute to record producer George 'Shadow' Morton's work with The Shangri-Las and pre-dates similar work by Belle and Sebastian ('Another Sunny Day' on The Life Pursuit being the most obvious lyrical comparison).
The USA's answer to The Headcoatees. This was their finest moment. A single on Hoboken, New Jersey's Telstar Records. It's buzzy, bassy, powerful stuff. That's all I can think to say. The music can speak for itself.
A slight swerve here, and and LP some of you may have heard before. Or you may have heard the cover versions of songs on it as performed by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Beat of the Traps) or Bassholes (Little Rug Bug). It's an LP of songs ... actually, I've tuftied the LP sleeves above from a Blues Explosion website, so I may as well go the whole hog and appropriate their transcription of the sleeve notes in order to give you a proper idea of what this record IS ALL ABOUT.
The small print above: "Wild music; crazy lyrics. Beautiful music; perfect lyrics. You get all this and more with these kinds of records. Strange sounding cheap early electronic keyboards like the Mellotron; out of control drum machines. Normal-sounding budget session musicians; drunk -- or something -- sounding session musicians. And singers who usually sound like they never saw the words to the song until the recording light was on. They probably recorded 50 of these "songs" in one day, sometimes using the same track more than once. It is this kind of set-up that can produce innocently beautiful works of art.
The ads in the back of magazines would say "Send us your poems or song lyrics and we'll get them recorded. Big money could be yours!," or some such come-on. What it turns out to be is that you pay them to put music to your words, then they send you a couple of copies of it on their label. And that's all they do. There are many of these companies, but the king of them all would have to be the MSR label of Hollywood, California -- now, sadly, defunct. Sometimes the song would be pressed on a 45, sometimes on an album collection, maybe with a picture of the house composer to help convince the customer that they're legit.
One day in 1971 I was looking at some albums in a surplus hardware store that had bought out a radio station's record library when I saw an album on MSR Records called Variety Songs For '69. It had a cheap stock cover with a big musical staff and song titles like "Richard Nixon," "More On Ode To Billy Jo," and "Beat Of The Traps," and the back cover was blank. It looked like something I'd better get.
I went home and played it, and by the time I got to the song called "Beat Of The Traps" I knew there was something wild going on here. Not every song was great (they can't all be gems), but the ones that were sounded like they'd reached outer space. Listen to the song "Beat Of The Traps" and you'll see what I mean. These guys must have been recording these songs all day and by the time they got to this cut all hell had broken loose. Everyone involved gives an amazing performance -- these lyrics really inspired them.
From then on, I would look out for these kinds of records and found that there are a lot of them out there. Rod Rogers also turns up on other labels, sometimes under the name Rodd Keith. I'd like to see a picture of him. Once while in Hollywood I called the MSR number, hoping to find out about Rod. A guy answered the phone and I asked him if he knew where Rod Rogers could be reached. He said, "You wouldn't want to go where he is." "What do you mean?," I asked. "He's pushin' up daisies, that's where he is." "Oh no, you mean he died?" "Yep. He was a keyboard genius," was his reply. And I agree. Listen to his perfect track for "Little Rug Bug." The words about a baby are great, too.
I love all the songs on this collection. "Our Hearts Were Meant To Beat As One" is one of my top choices for the "if you could have been at any recording session, what would it be" category. And check the punchline to see what "Lost In Space" is about. From great lyrics, indescribable music. These selections have them all.
-- Tom Ardolino (the man who beats the traps for NRBQ)"
The Spoiled Brats were yet another amalgamation from the limited gene pool that coughed up most of the budget rock / garage scene in the early 1990s. So, here we have Elka Zolot fresh from or on her way to The Trashwomen, The Count Backwurds and The Spastics, alongside Shane White whose career could only head down after The Fingers split up. In the meantime he pouted meanly on behalf of The Rip-Offs, The Infections, The Tight Fits, The Loose Lips and The Bearded Tits. This is a great single, managing to get that shitty Brentwoods vocal sound nailed to the meatiness of The Rip-Offs. It came free with Sooprize Package magazine which was run by a great fella down on the south coast whose name I have, rather embarassingly, forgotten. So, sorry Tarquin Lunchbox, or whatever your name was, but thanks for the finest of the two singles (not including the MRR split) that The Spoiled Brats put out. And I hope that when you put 'Laundrymat Brat' as the flip you were just following orders.
Another release that betrays my weakness for guitar-based pop music failures. Formed in the wake of The Distractions - a Manchester band who were touted for bigger things - The Secret Seven featured vocalist Mike Finney exercising his soulful vocal stylings on the over-produced 80s-sounding but still listenable Hold On To Love and the less enjoyable b-side Up In Smoke, which suffers from yucky production and a relentless tune. There will be a chance to hear the early Distractions singles and material recorded in the 1990s when 'Nothing' is released in 2011.
Stickypedia is skipping like a bastard tonight so I've not been able to do even cursory research on this one. As far as I can work out, it's either a 1990 reissue of a single which came out c. 1981 or a 1990 first issue of songs which were recorded in 1979 and 1981. Or it's a 1990 reissue of tracks which were issued in 1979 and 1981, but on different records and were brought together just for this release. One of you knows. Tell me.
Ah, Supercharger. How many ways do I love you? This single was issued on Darin Rafaelli's own Super*Teem records after the band had split up. It is in no way essential Supercharger. Main track, Sooprize Package for Mr. Mineo comes from Supercharger's self-titled debut LP, but is more famous (ha ha) for having been covered by The Mummies for Fuck CDs, It's The Mummies on Hangman and Never Been Caught on Telstar. The b-side is South City Psycho and this appears to be the only time it was released. Which is understandable as it is very much minor Supercharger.
I must confess I nicked the image above. I'm struggling to get good images from LP sleeves; particularly those with the shrink-wrap still on them, so I took the easy way out and lifted it from some Japanese fellas website. Sorry, Surfy San.
Anyhow, another upload, again from Mike Lucas's Repent label. This one is Heritage-focussed. Lots of 60s surf and not-surf. And The Phantom Surfers.
Apparently John Lennon would have been 70 this year and there has been some activity around this. At what point does it flip from dead pop star would have been X years old to dead pop star was born X years ago? In ten years will it be John Lennon would have been 80 this year or will it be John Lennon was born 80 years ago. Tricky thing, history.
Anyway, how better to celebrate a dead pop star than with a long out-of-print record from a bunch of Japanese Beatleniks released by a Beatle-wig-wearing American. Here's Johnny...