Archive for January, 2011
This post is a tribute to Jan Ashton, born Jan Errico (she changed her name to sound more British, apparently), who is one of few female drummers in rock history. There aren’t many pictures of her online, despite her looks, but the photo above is from the booklet to Not Too Old to Start Cryin’ on Sundazed. She deserves to be as famous as Mo Tucker, even if she did her drumming sitting down. Jan was also a great folk-style singer and co-wrote several songs for the bands she was in: The Vejtables and The Mojo Men, both from San Francisco. According to an online source she was the cousin of Greg Errico, drummer in Sly & the Family Stone. Sly, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, worked for the Autumn label, producing both her bands as well as the label’s class act The Beau Brummels.
Jan was set to release a solo single in 1966: “I Still Love You” b/w “Cold Dreary Morning”. The a-side was a new recording of the Vejtables song, and for both songs she actually had The Vejtables backing her. The songs appeared on Feel the Vejtables, credited to the full band. “Cold Dreary Morning” also appears on Someone to Love – The Birth of the San Francisco Sound (part of the Nuggets From the Golden State series) under her own name. The same comp also includes another solo recording, the impressive “About My Tears”, presumably from the same session. Hear it below! Jan is still performing, but now as a karaoke DJ.
Except for The Frowning Clouds, some of the best Australian groups I’ve heard lately are The Shimmys and The Wylde Oscars. The Shimmys are a girl garage group who have released two great albums, the last came out in 2009. Also from Melbourne are Jay Wiseman of The Hoods’ new band (yes, he relocated from the US) Thee Wylde Oscars. They released their first album Right, Yeah on Off the Hip last year. Curiously, the recent European release has a different title (Do the Wylde) and slightly different songs on it.
One of the albums that almost made it into the Top Ten, was the debut disc from The Rantouls (including Gavin May of the excellent Fevers). Called In the Village of Rantoul, it’s out on Chocolate Covered Records just like most of their singles. I’ve finally heard it in its entirety, and I might have rated it even higher if I had done so earlier. Listen to “She’s a Rebel” below, and expect to hear more on the next podcast!
If you enjoy this, you should also check out Beat Beat‘s self-titled lp from last year. Beat Beat was started by the drummer from Austrian garage group Rodriquez and the album is available from their countrymen at Bachelor, who also released it.
Los Ginkas debut lp came out on the fine Spanish label Spicnic around the turn of the year. On it, you’ll find all but one of the tracks from their previous ep Ongi Ibili Pop-abily that they put out themselves last year, and that rightfully ended up my end-of-year list of singles and eps. The 14 songs on Retumbarama whizz by in 30 minutes, and feature guest appearances by greats like TCR, Terry Quatro and Parade. The video above is a short promo clip with some snippets from the album!
The year hasn’t been very long, but it’s already seen the tragic death of Trish Keenan and two great albums with Woods connections. Their bass player have an album out with The Babies, in which he shares songwriting and vocal duties with Cassie Ramone. Ramone could do with less hype these days, but I can’t deny that the album is stunning. Collecting three tracks from their singles plus “Wild I” and “Wild II” from an upcoming German single release, it only has 5 exclusive tracks. But they’re good, especially the ones that Kevin Morby sings on; none matching the greatness of “Meet Me In the City” but not far off either. “Breakin the Law” is pleasant but also a bit too typical of 90s lo-fi. Still, it’s an impressive debut.
Even more impressive is the new release on Woods’ label Woodsist. White Fence’s second album Is Growing Faith is out now, and while the first was a collection of home recordings by Tim Presley (guitarist with The Strange Boys and, less importanty, Darker My Love), this set is all new and sounds more coherent. Best of all, he’s taken the music in exactly the right direction, in other words: that of “Sara Snow” off of the self-titled album. Plenty of 12-string folkrock and some psychedelic influences. Opener “And By Always” sounds like The Byrds playing from a wobbly cassette – a simple idea but so effective it’s a wonder no one’s thought of it before. Oh sorry, maybe YOU did? Hear it below.
Finally heard Tijuana Panthers’ debut longplayer from last year, and it didn’t disappoint! They expanded on their previous ep, adding 7 new songs, and had the vinyl pressed themselves. It’s still available from them, for a humble $13, which is well worth it. The video above, for the best song “Creature”, will give you a pretty accurate idea about what the Panthers’ music is about. They sound like The Fallen Leaves here, that is, if they’d been teenage surfers from CA.
Our second event is booked! Following closely after my DJ set at the La Sera gig at Debaser, we’re back at Belle Epoque for a proper RECORD TURNOVER night. This time we’ve got an exclusive guest called Marcus Cawood, who should be familiar from a long line of excellent Malmö club nights (Flipside, Reaction, The Gabb). We’ll be playing 60s garage, some French garage by the Happy Family groups and as usual new releases from your favourite labels, like Captured Tracks, Bachelor, Hardly Art and Burger.
Normally, a double-necked guitar has one neck with 6 strings and one with 12. This design, with a fictional double 12-string (I’ll believe it when I see it!) should have gone on the cover of The Parties’ new album instead of this disgrace. Yep, you read right: The Parties are back with their second album, and it came out on Rainbow Quartz, whom I mentioned recently, last year and could have been a contender for the top albums list. Well, I guess since The Resonars didn’t release anything in 2010, that makes Coast Garde the best powerpop album of the year.
I played “Velvet Love Affair” when I was DJing at The Friday Casual actually, so I was glad to discover they had a new release out. (Also preceded by a pretty good ep called Cryin’ Shame; you can hear both the ep and the new lp on Spotify.) They’ve got a new lead guitarist now, replacing Sarah Melfield who’s playing on Can’t Come Down was rudimentary but had a certain charm. Newbie Adam Symons is very adept, but is it his fault there is less 12-string now? Perhaps he’s also influenced the songwriting, which is marred by a few clunky keyboard-based numbers where they try to sound like The Zombies but come out more like sleepwalkers. But there’s enough soaring powerpop here to keep anyone happy. “Catastrophic Storm” alone can smooth over any imperfection.