Friday, December 31, 2004

Holiday Haul

Did I go to the used record store in Eugene, Oregon over the holidays? Hmmm, I might have. I picked up a triple-vinyl Sun City Girls reissue for my brother-in-law and he returned the favor by getting me the John Cassavetes Criterion Collection Boxed-Set!! We've got a good thing going. I also bought him a copy of the Bunnybrains box set on Narnack. Bunnybrains being my brother's goofy and wonderful band. I told Maria that a trip to the record store was present enough for me. She also bought me Choosing Death, a history of death metal and grindcore from Feral House. A good read that I gobbled up in a day or two. Definitely gave me some more album buying ideas. It also made me shamefully realize that I own NO Napalm Death albums. Not a one. I don't know how these things happen. I really don't. Anyway, here's a little list of what I picked up in Eugene. I haven't absorbed them all yet though. I't nice to play them in the comfort of one's own home. Not that the Oregon contingent didn't enjoy some of them. They did.

Jackson Heights - King Progress (Mercury) Ex-Nice guitarist makes nice and sez: "sorry for all those keyboard solos!" by making a lovely and subdued prog/folk/psych album that I have already listened to 5 times. I dig it. I'm gonna have to search out the other Jackson Heights stuff.
Spreadeagle - The Piece Of Paper (Charisma) Surprisingly tuneful and entertaining Shel Talmy-produced hippy-rock piffle. I need to listen some more.

Martha Velez - Fiends & Angels (Sire/London) Nice one! Martha has a big bloozy growl and the production is shiny, loud, & clear. Great guitar leads that are fuzzy AND piercing. She's a belter and can get a little hambone a la Judy Henske (who i love, but not everyone can take the blooze mama bombast), but overall a solid record all the way. Kinda wonder why I've never heard of it. Maybe I missed that issue of Mojo.

Mashmakhan - S/T (Epic) Another keeper. Dreamy and artful Canadian psych/rock/pop. Some really nice ideas on this one and some good playing. I was suspicious of the Gene Lees liners cuz he goes out of his way to say how Mashmakhan aren't just your typical kiddie group. No, they are jazzy! Which is usually a warning sign for bad horn rock ahead. Plus, he namechecks Bobby Colomby of Blood, Seat, & Tears. But no! Tis better than all that. (and no direspect toward BS&T intended. They do have a lot to answer for though.) This record is just one of a thousand really good art-rock albums that came out at the tail-end of the 60's and which were largely forgotten once those shiny new moogs began to blare. 1968 and 1969 were great years for records that weren't one thing or another. Adventurous records that were born dead cuz the dream had died, psychedelia was passe, and we we were going to the country to gig frogs, pick, and grin. (and then pass out in our own waste. And then wake up horrified and end up going to law school. Not ME. Other people. All those gentleman pot-farmers.)

Charley D. And Milo - S/T (Epic) Gentleman pot-farmers unite! This record is a warm breeze of a thing. And again, I must have missed the Mojo that hyped it cuz this is right up their King Parsons/Beechwood Sparks alley. Lovely harmonies, lotsa guitars, acidic baths of twang. Great cover of Richard & Mimi's "Pack Up Your Sorrows". It ends with the weary drug traveller's mantra "Om Sweet Om". Brain-fried C&W fans need this now.

Girls In The Garage - Vols. 8, 10, & 11. (Romulan) I don't know whether I have them all now or what. I dig this series a bunch. Vol.10 is all French and Canadian ye-ye girl action and it's worth its weight in gold. Vol.11 is all over the world with the femme garage/pop/surf beat. Vol.8 has U.S. and Euro gals on it. Die Sweetles, Los Spitfires, Norma Tracy & The Cinderella Kids, Shammy & The Famous Ruis Family, The Liverbirds. You know, all the biggies.

Billy Mitchel - Might Be Hope (Mercury) Billy has a bad case of the scats. He's a homegrown hippie folkie who apparently would rather be the next Ella Fitzgerald. There is a lovely blissed-out track on here called "Electronic Dance" that is all sitar and strange female spoken word and sound effects that really gets a good vibe going and then Billy comes along toward the end and scats all over it!! Dude!! What the fuck?

Love - Four Sail (Elektra) I sold my copy years ago when I used to sell records for money and I always thought I would be able to find another one easy enough but I don't get around like I used to and in the meantime people have discovered that this is a really good record and not the dud that people told them it was and I didn't want to buy a reissue or a -shudder- cd so I finally found a perfect copy for 5 bucks in Eugene, Oregon. Got that? Cool.

Sand - S/T (Barnaby/MGM) This isn't a very good record. Or maybe I just haven't been in the right mood to appreciate all that Sand have to offer. I have always liked the cover photo of a sandy sandwich though. And it was cheap. (Almost everything I bought was 5 dollars or under except for the Girls In The Garage comps.) Plus, now I can actually tell people that I own two albums by two bands named Sand. This Sand is 70's progressive desert vista guitar rock. The other Sand was a cool instrumental groove/jazz/postrock combo from the U.K. and I really dig their Still Born Living album that came out on a Souljazz subsidiary. Kinda like a more organic, acoustic, freeform version of Red Snapper. With no vocals. And they wore masks a la Slipknot. The 70's Sand album does come with two one-sided records for no good reason that I can think of.

Misunderstood - The Lost Acetates 1965-1966 (UT Records) Essential stuff. Hell, maybe THIS should make my pazz & jop top ten. (I still haven't filled my ballot out on-line. I keep changing my mind.) One of the truly great forgotten rock bands. I read the entire mammoth Part 4 of the Misunderstood story in the new Ugly Things magazine by Mike Stax (he put this record out. That's what the UT stands for.) on the plane out west. It's an epic tale. And Mike has taken hundreds of pages to tell it. Who else would? God bless him. Anyway, buy this.

Ides Of March - World Woven (RCA) Ugh. I'd seen their records around for ever and I finally had to go and do it. Bad move. On the other hand, I haven't even made it to side two. Maybe that is where the genius lies. Or maybe I just have to switch my brand of hootch.

Acceleration - Middle Of The Road (RCA) From the label that brought you the Ides Of March comes some shrill eurobubble pop designed to curl toes and decay yer teeth. What do you do for an encore after the timeless elegance of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep and Tweedle Dee, Tweedle dum? This album tells the tale.

Ali Akbar Khan & L. Subramaniam - India's Master Musicians
Hariprasad Chaurasia - Flute Concert
Shivkumar Sharma - Shivkumar Plays Santoor (Bainbridge) All sealed raga action in Bainbridge's Ravi Shankar Music Circle series. Cheap-ass vinyl doesn't mar the loveliness contained within. Transcendent and all that good stuff. I'm a big fan of the santoor. I'll bet you didn't know that.

Shawn Phillips - Contribution
Shawn Phillips - Second Contribution (Both A&M) You know, you can still pick up these records for peanuts and you should. They are groovy like in the movies and Shawn will no doubt have his Mojo resurrection day in the sun if he hasn't already. (I should really subscribe. I'm probably missing all kinds of resurrections.) His loner-folkie midnight vibe tunes are way stonger than the up-tempo topical stuff, but the up-tempo stuff isn't embarrassing or anything. You could make a killer cdr of the sad quiet numbers. He gets dodgier as you travel into the 70's, but even that stuff has its champions. Notice how I say that with such authority. I know about 3 people, tops, who even listen to him. And that, my friends, is how we create common knowledge.

Wild Turkey - Turkey (Chrysalis) Wild Turkey made a great hard/boogie/folk rock record called Battle Hymns. This is not that record.

And yesterday, I did what many a freak will do. I bought crap at a thrift store in the hopes of prolonging my holiday vinyl buzz. In Waltham, Mass (SP?). I had never been to Waltham. Nice town. Lots of Indian restaurants. And a costume store! And the costume store is actually called a joke shop! Someone should do a tally of joke shops in the U.S. How many left? Are there more drive-in theatres than joke shops? I would except "novelty" shop as well. Yeah, so, a bunch of crap. King Crimson - Discipline, Dreams (Brecker Bros. fusion. I can handle it okay, but do I really need it?), Eurythmics - We Too Are One (In the words of Annie herself: ""WHHHHY, WHHHYY" cuz I had forgotten how horrible this records sounds. Jimmy Iovine blows chunks.), some Micky Holliday teen gospel album that is horrible, Robyn Hitchcock - Globe Of Frogs (Which is where me and Robyn parted company if I remember correctly. Or maybe that was when I first heard "Ted, Woody, & Junior". Somewhere in the 80's anyway. But hey, no hard feelings. I still love the good stuff), and Fugazi. Fugazi! Ewwww. I actually used to have it on tape. "Waiting Room" was the only song I ever liked. It's a shame about that singer who isn't Ian. The eyebrow dude. Oh well, it was 99 cents. So sue me. I was jonesing! And oh yeah, a bizzaro comp of 20's music called Rare Records Revisited on Happy Tiger records with Slim Gaillard's "Yep Roc Heresei" on it. But get this, here is what it says in the fine-print: "Some of the selections in the album have been re-recorded by the original artist in stereo..." !!??? I haven't listened yet. I'm kinda hoping they got a hold of Rudy Vallee via Ouija board and he megaphoned new vocals down from crooner's heaven. It's possible Pinky Tomlin or Sir Lancelot were still around when the record came out. Maybe Pinky welcomed the idea of getting a perfect stereo take of his immortal "The Love Bug Will Bite You (If You Don't Watch Out) on record. I know I would have.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey wow, Globe of Frogs was where I stopped buying Robyn Hitchcock albums, too. It was the second mediocre one in a row after the one with the white cover and "Raymond Chadler Evening" on it.

6:24 PM  
Blogger M said...

Bunny Brains is your brother?! I'm enjoying the box very much, actually.

11:37 PM  
Blogger  nathaxnne wilhelmina said...

i have both of the english 90's sand albums. they really do rule! i got them by accident and have been happy with them since. the techno dude who is tube jerk (shades of worms and gary numan!)is in this band. ps: decibel is the only magazine i pay money anymore for other than terrorizer and i like it better, so there! your reviews are always fun to read. thanks!
nathan walker

7:51 PM  

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