I’ve followed Ganglians since the release of their first ep, through the highlight that was their Captured Tracks single and first gig in Sweden, right up to the new album Still Living which follows through on the promises of “Blood On the Sand”. Therefore I’m happy to announce that the next Record Turnover night will be held under the auspices of Debaser Malmö, where Ganglians will once again occupy the stage. The date is October 19th, and you’ll find the event here, and our most recent Spotify mix below. The band’s currently in the UK, so don’t miss them!
Archive for September, 2011
After the recent excursion into new releases, it about time for the second of four volumes of Bitter Bells – a series collecting moody/jangly 60s garage from other compilations, which usually mainly favor fuzz guitar breaks, howls, and pounding beats. The 23 tracks on each volume were already compiled back at the start of the year, so I’ve heard plently of new favourite tales of woe since then. Maybe enough for a 5th volume?
This second volume is perhaps slightly more eclectic than the first, with the Legends track reaching back to the beat era of ’64. There’s the obligatory Dutch beat ballad, this time from The Cavaliers. The Insane with their maniacal take on Byrds, and The Different Parts’ fuzzed up put-down song “Why”. Most notably, #2 features classic moody garage songs from The Illusions, Brym-Stonz Ltd., The Mojos (not the same Mojos who are in the cover photo!) and The Dovers. Personally though, my oldest and dearest acquaintances are Chris Morgan & the Togas, The Insane and an American group called The Missing Links. Tracklist is below, and check out #1 here. The Mojos in the picture were from Hurricane, WV, and recorded the the great two-sider “Go” b/w “What She’s Done to Me” – not included in this series, but check it out at Flower Bomb Songs.
1. Chris Morgan & the Togas – Would You Believe Challange 593330, 1966
2. The Dovers – I Could Be Happy Miramar 121, 1965
3. The Interns – Hard to Get Uptown 730, 1966
4. The Mojos – Love Does Its Harm Mojo 106725, 1965
5. The Members – I’ll Get By Without You Label 121, 1966
6. The Barons – Time and Time Again SRO 122427, 1966
7. The Foggy Notions – Need a Little Lovin’ Ginny 904, 1966
8. The Wildflower – Wind Dream Mainstream 659, 1966
9. The Indifferents – She’ll Be Back Valor 110, 1965
10. The Impacts – Don’t You Dare Lavender 2005, 1966
11. The Illusions – Wait Till the Summer Michelle 001, 1966
12. The King’s Ransom – Shame Integra 101, 1966
13. The Six Deep – Girl It’s Over De’Lynn 101, 1967
14. The Mid-Knights – Why Style 2001, 1966
15. The Legends – Here Comes the Pain Warner 5457, 1964
16. The Rockers – There’s a Pain IGL 102, 1965
17. The Chessmen – No More BRS 1014, 1965
18. The Different Parts – Why AMS 001, 1967
19. The Malcontents – (I’m a) Roustabout Gems 18347, 1966
20. The Insane – Someone Like You Allen Association 201348, 1967
21. The Missing Links – You Hypnotize Me Signet 6460, 1966
22. The Cavaliers – You Can Not Make Me Cry Imperial 673, 1965
23. Brym-Stonz LTD. – Times Gone By Custom 143, 1967
A perfect film for the autumn is Antonioni’s Red Desert (1964), full of rusty industrial sets, a dubbed Richard Harris and a Monica Vitti of course. It was the director’s first colour film and this new dimension is explored thoroughly in the film, which also seems like the first in which he experiments significantly with camera work. The soundtrack features electronic music by Vittorio Gelmetti, which was quite unique at the time.
If you’re following the Record Turnover podcast, you might already have heard the new instalment, but here is an update just to let you know. It starts of with a track off of the absolutely brilliant Bad Sports LP on Dirtnap. Along with the Veronica Falls debut, it feels like the two most solid albums of the year right now. Never bothered with Bad Sports before, since I mixed them up with Bad Thoughts, but their first and self-titled album is also worth checking out (Douchemaster, 2009). Thee Oh Sees’ label Castle Face gets a fair showing with a couple of tracks of the new flexidisc book featuring five bands off their roster.
This visually striking collection is designed by William Keihn and features two tracks from Bare Wires, who have their 3rd album coming up soon as well as a European tour. “The Right Time” sounds very promising! Blasted Canyons also appear with two album tracks – here you’ll find another cut from their deafening self-titled debut. Also in podcast are songs from new albums by Dum Dum Girls (still getting better!), Mikal Cronin, The Men, Jacuzzi Boys, and Greek garage sensation Acid Baby Jesus (re-released on Slovenly now). And plenty of great singles to boot – full tracklisting below.
I recently designed a timeline for a book titled Space For Urban Alternatives? Christiania 1971-2011 (Thörn, Wasshede & Nilson eds.), published by Gidlunds for the 40th anniversary of the Christiania community in Copenhagen. It was quite tricky but solved in the end by an incremented scale, with the units starting at 100 years and ending at 10 years. There will be a launch and seminars at Galopperiet – Stadens Museum for Kunst on Sep 24 11am-4pm. Copies will be available there, but the book as whole is also available as a free download.
Many of the unsung heroes (well, apart from here) of early 90s garage had releases on Get Hip (like the recently covered Optic Nerve and The Lears) and Screaming Apple (The Kliek, The Beatpack, and The Thanes). Today you’ll get to know another Get Hip group, called Mystic Eyes after the Them track. Mystic Eyes skillfully blended hard-hitting garage beat with slightly psychedelic folk-rock, and boasted originals as spirited as their cover choices (The Dovers, The WordD, The Magic Plants, Sandy Coast, The Human Expression and The Bad Seeds to name a few). The group was lead by singer and songwriter Bernard Kugel, but it feels like the sadly deceased 12-string player and second songwriter Eric Lubsdorf also contributed greatly. Their third single, from 1997, became their last since Eric died the following year. In the ten years prior the group released three singles and two fantastic LPs. According to this old-school website though, they also self-released a few compilations of outtakes. The track below, “My Life Today”, is off of such a tape dating from 1997.
Today I’ve got two 60s garage reissue LPs to tell you about. First, and most notably, members of The Roosters have pressed up 500 copies of brand new retrospective All of Our Days. Led by 12-string guitarist Timothy Ward and vocalist Ray Mangigian, the group released three singles with folk-rock masterpieces such as “You Gotta Run” and “One of These Days” known from several different garage comps. Apart from the uncomped single sides, the LP also includes never-before heard songs straight from the masters, as well as three cuts by their earlier incarnations. I was happily surprised to learn that members of The Roosters also played on The Five More’s scorching “I’m No Good”, which is one of these early tracks! You can pick up this soon-to-be classic from Bomp!, Clearspot or eBay shops.
The other notable retrospective of the year comes from the reliable Sundazed, who have collected Oscar & the Majestics’ singles on U.S.A. and mixed them in with self-released cuts and two unreleased gems. One of these is also available on 7″, which you can get in a limited transparent blue edition from the Sundazed site. The retrospective is offered on both LP and cd (as well as digital) and is more than worth its price only for “Got to Have Your Lovin'”, their fuzz-drenched take on “I Can’t Explain” (The Who) and the title track “No Chance Baby”.
I also noticed, over at Garage Hangover (who have started reviewing new releases), that there is a Pleasure Seekers retrospective out on their own Cradle Rocks label. It’s called What a Way to Die and features 11 tracks by Suzie Quatro and her sister’s teen garage group.
Groovie Records have just made legendary Swedish garage revival group Crimson Shadows’ output available on vinyl again. The cd Out of Our Minds from 2000 is still available as well, and it contains a handful more tracks. One of them, “Nightmares”, is issued on a new 7″ b/w a new version of the previously unreleased “It’s Too Late”. Yes, ‘new’, since the band got back together in 2008. The only original members are Måns P. Månsson and Jens Lindberg, who together with Peter Maniette were behind virtually every great garage group in Sweden since 1985 (The Wylde Mammoths, The Stomachmouths, The Maharajas and most recently The Flight Reaction). One Step Beyond Sanity is available from mailorders now, and check out some more Crimson Shadows sleeve designs here.
Mike Stax’s Ugly Things have done us all a favour and finally given “The Trains” by The Nashville Ramblers a proper single release. Its legend has only grown since the inclusion on Battle of the Garages Vol. 3 and later Children of Nuggets. It would have been one of the best pop singles off all time and now it’s given a chance at last, backed with a cover of The Golliwogs “Fragile Child”. Pick it up here and watch the reformed group live if you can.
Images from Flower Bomb Songs.
After seeing the entry about The Optic Nerve on Transparent Radiation, I realised I had to go back and listen to more than the one track I had heard by this band (from the Children of Nuggets box). I think the reason I initially dismissed them was that, with a name like that, you’d expect sometime more in the vein of The Human Expression (whose psychedelic “Optical Sound” I guess must have sprung to mind). Actually The Optic Nerve was a genuine 60s folk-rock outfit from mid-80s New York. Suddenly it made complete sense to write about them in the same post I had intended to make about The Lears.
These two bands have more than their folk-rock roots in common, and although The Lears got together later Muchler (of the previously lauded Belltowers!) and Dalcin and already been playing separately in The Shades and Green Today in the mid-80s. Both Lears and Optic Nerve disbanded before being able to commit more than a few singles to vinyl, but later both had compilations released post-humously on Get Hip. The Optic Nerve’s Lotta Nerve includes many previously unreleased demos, with a sound that is less electric and dense than The Lears, and with a heavy lean towards the harmonica-laden, P.F. Sloan end of the folk-rock spectrum. In fact, another LP’s worth of recovered material resulted in the release of Forever and a Day, also around 1994. Out of the 23 tracks in total, my favourite is “What’s Been Missing” that you can hear below.
The Lears’ The Story So Far is not a complete discography, but on the other hand includes plenty of extraordinary unreleased songs, with a rich Rickenbacker sound very reminiscent of The Byrds. We get a great cover of Love’s “Softly to Me”, and according to the booklet they’ve also recorded The Pretty Things’ “You Don’t Believe Me” and contributed to the excellent double-disc Gene Clark tribute Full Circle. Among the unreleased tracks the droning “Candle and Birds” impresses the most. Still available from Get Hip!