Posts Tagged ‘Garage Rock’

The Choir: Artifact – The Unreleased Album

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Cleveland garage rock legends’ stellar unreleased 1969 album

Many rock ‘n’ roll fans were introduced The Choir through the appearance of their 1966 single “It’s Cold Outside” on Pebbles, Vol. 2. In those pre-Internet days, fans learned from the album’s liner notes of the band’s Cleveland roots (and teased Stiv Bators’ 1979 cover), but failed to learn of the connection between the Choir and Cleveland’s greatest-ever pop export, Raspberries. What many found out later is that the Choir’s Wally Bryson, Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley would join with Eric Carmen (who’d unsuccessfully auditioned to sing with the Choir) to form Raspberries. Even less known was that after the Choir initially disbanded in 1968, they reformed a few months later with three new members, including organist Phil Giallombardo, joining keyboard player Kenny Margolis and drummer Jim Bonfanti.

This latter lineup recorded ten tracks in 1969, unsuccessfully shopped the results to labels, released a cover of the Easybeats’ “Gonna Have a Good Time Tonight,” and broke up for good in 1970. Although the title track of this collection was included on a 1976 Bomp EP, and three more turned up on Sundazed’s 1994 collection Choir Practice, the rest of the 1969 project was only recently rediscovered by the studio owner’s son, and is issued here for the very first time. By this point in the Choir’s history their sound was heavier than the garage rock of 1966, anchored by Hammond organ and hard rock, psychedelic guitars. Touches of pop-jazz (ala BS&T) and progressive rock mingled in, but the band retained their melodic roots in the British Invasion, as evidenced here by a cover of the Kinks’ “David Watts.”

Phil Giallombardo cites Procol Harum as a primary influence, but you can also hear the Left Bank’s baroque pop in “Anyway I Can,” Steppenwolf’s roar in “If These Are Men,” Robin Gibb’s fragility in “Have I No Love to Offer,” Santana’s organ magic in the instrumental “For Eric,” and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s good-timey vibes in “Mummer Band.” What’s most bewitching about this material is that three years on from “It’s Cold Outside,” the new lineup touches on the band’s earlier pop roots while seamlessly transitioning to a new, heavier direction that includes explosive drumming, heavy organ and blistering guitar solos. These are finished stereo productions, packaged with a 12-page booklet that includes period photos and a band family tree. It’s hard to imagine how no one took a commercial interest in these tapes at the time, but it’s great to have them now! [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Banditos: Visionland

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Southern rockers with twists of garage, psych and more

The second album from these Birmingham-to-Nashville transplants opens with a garage-rock sound that wasn’t as evident on their self-titled 2015 debut. Mary Beth Richardson’s bluesy vocals are given the context of San Francisco-sound powerhouses like the Jefferson Airplane, and though a banjo peeks through the haze, the ‘60s rock vibe is strong. The title track suggests a psych-rock Richard and Mimi Farina, the ballad “Healin’ Slow” has a ‘50s vibe, “Lonely Boy” might have been a country song written in the Brill Building, and the whispery “When It Rains” could be a fondly remembered ‘70s radio hit. The band seems to be democratic in exploring their influences, cross-pollinating without overwhelming the base flavor of each song. They’ve added new spices to the boogie, blues and soul of their debut and shown themselves to have both musical vision and reach. [©2017 Hyperbolium]

Banditos Home Page

Cowbell: Haunted Heart

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Wicked mix of late-60s and early-70s soul, blues and garage

This London duo’s third album is chock-full of garage-soul built on guitar, drums and splashes of organ that take things into darker places. The title track suggests the voodoobilly of the Cramps, while the rolling “Doom Train” melds sparse blues and tack piano with backing vocals that suggest Dan Hicks’ Hot Licks. There are echoes of the Kinks and Cream, but also the early-60s folk of Richard & Mimi Farina and the 1970s sounds of Laurel Canyon. Guitarist Jack Sandham sings most of the leads, but drummer Wednesday Lyle steps to the mic for the punk-fired “Downlow” and the cool-as-ice “New Kinda Love.” The album is tasteful, but even when taken downtempo, it remains sultry rather than sedate, with horns adding texture to several tracks. This is a sophisticated set that wanders through blues, soul and roots rock, like a shuffle through a music-lover’s record collection. [©2017 Hyperbolium]

Cowbell’s Home Page

The Masonics: Obermann Rides Again

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Ferocious Medway rock ‘n’ roll

Fans of Thee Headcoats, Mighty Casears and Prisoners will rejoice at the ninth album from this all-star Medway band. Fronted by ex-Milkshake Mickey Hampshire on guitar, and backed by drummer Bruce Brand (Pop Rivets, Milkshakes) and bassist John Gibbs (Kaisers), the Masonics offer the perfect combination of unpolished garage rock and blues-based melodies – something you might call rough ‘n’ roll. Even the ballad “I Don’t Understand Her Any More” isn’t exactly tender, with Hampshire pleading his case as more of a complaint than a concern, and the Animals-like “What Do You Do” providing a sobering, after-the-fact look in the mirror. The trio channels Bo Diddley’s rhythmic stomp in “You Don’t Have to Travel” and “The Unsignposted Road,” crank up the tempo to amphetamine punk for “You’re a Stranger,” and nail the combustible tension of the early Who with “You Won’t See Me Again.” The band’s energy is relentless as Hampshire picks guitar solos and Brand rides his cymbals, creating music that’s perfect for a sweaty, overcrowded beer-stained venue near you. [©2017 Hyperbolium]

The Masonics’ Facebook Page

The Royal Hangmen: Hanged, Drawn & Quartered

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

royalhangmen_hangeddrawnandquarteredPysch-edged garage rock from… Switzerland?

If you ever stopped to think about Swiss garages, you probably imagined super clean floors and tools neatly aligned on a pegboard. But The Royal Hangmen (who shouldn’t be confused with the plebeian UK and US Hangmen) have shoved all that aside and dialed up fuzzed-out guitars, thumping drums and VOX organ. Well, actually, they hightailed it to Hamburg where the atmosphere was no doubt more conducive to recording 60s-styled garage rock than Zurich. They’ve parlayed their beginnings as a cover band (which also spawned the fine EP Hell Yeah: An 80s Garage Tribute) into original material that recalls the Shadows of Knight, early Stones and the seemingly endless stream of one-off Pebbles bands.

The Royal Hangmen aren’t unprecedented in Alps-rock history, as period Swiss garage bands included The Sevens, Nightbirds and Bad Generation. There are also contemporaries like the Come n’ Go and at times The Animen, but none capture the sound of ‘65 and ‘66 (or perhaps even more so, the ‘80s revival sound of the Lyres and Fuzztones) as do the Royal Hangmen. Vocalist Vasco Saxer has the attitude to sell epithets like “you got no soul,” and the guitars and organ have just the right tone. The group dips into ‘60s beat with the instrumental “Groovadelic,” riffs on a Yardbirds bass line for “Go Away Baby,” and turns psychedelic on “Step Out of the Dark” and “Feed the Monkey.” Great stuff! [©2016 Hyperbolium]

The Royal Hangmen’s Home Page

The Fleshtones: The Band Drinks for Free

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

fleshtones_thebanddrinksforfreeThe garage door is open and the organ’s plugged in

Forty years and twenty albums from their founding, New York’s Fleshtones are still cranking out garage-powered rock ‘n’ roll. Even more impressive than the length of their career is its consistently high quality amid a lack of commercial acclaim. Though the band parlayed its New York City club following into a deal with IRS, soundtrack placements, an American Bandstand appearance (alongside the band War!) and college radio play with 1983’s Hexbreaker!, it never added up to mainstream success. Which makes their perseverance and adherence to a core musical vision all the more admirable.

The band’s seventh album for Yep Roc puts their guitar, bass, drums, organ and harmonica to everything from a cover of the Hondells’ surf ‘n’ drag-themed “The Gasser” to Peter Zaremba’s original blues “The Sinner” and Keith Streng’s gothic soul “Respect Our Love.” Ten Years After’s “Love Like a Man” is taken uptempo with a psychedelic party vibe, and the excess that sparked the late-70s back-to-basics movement is suggested in the title “Rick Wakeman’s Cape.” Rock music may no longer be in the commercial limelight, but it still retains its punch, particularly in the hands of masters like the Fleshtones. [©2016 Hyperbolium]

The Fleshtones’ Facebook Page

The Bangles: Ladies and Gentlemen… The Bangles!

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Bangles_LadiesAndGentlemenTheBangsThe Bangles’ Rosetta stone is their fans’ holy grail

For anyone who latched onto the Bangles before their major label makeover on Columbia, the first half of this CD remains the band’s Rosetta stone. Though hits and international fame would come later, the eight tracks released in 1981-2 remain the group’s purest statement of their 60s-tinged harmony rock. They never wrote, played or sang with more elan, and the youthful effervescence of this early work is as compelling today as it was thirty-five years ago. The group first appeared on vinyl as The Bangs with the fan club single “Getting Out of Hand” b/w “Call On Me.” Its local circulation left most listeners to meet the band, renamed as The Bangles, on the compilation Rodney on the ROQ, Vol. III, and then retroactively track down the single’s more widely circulated reissue.

In 1982, amid the the Salvation Army’s self-titled debut, Green on Red’s debut EP, the Dream Syndicate’s Days of Wine and Roses, the Three O’Clock’s Baroque Hoedown, and the Rain Parade’s first single, there was the Bangles’ self-titled five song EP on Faulty. The EP’s four original songs were the perfect lead-in to a scorching cover of the La De Da’s “How is the Air Up There?” Though reissued by IRS, the EP was mostly lost to fans the band picked up with their major label debut, All Over the Place, and even more so in the full rush of fame brought by Different Light. Bits and pieces of the EP reappeared as B-sides and on compilations, but the full EP remained unreissued until this collection was released as MP3s in 2014. Now on CD, the EP can be heard without compression.

Filling out this disc are four full-fidelity demos, a pair of 1984 live tracks, and a commercial for No Magazine. The demos include early takes of “Call On Me” and “The Real World,” a harmony-rich cover of the Turtles’ “Outside Chance” and a tough take on Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Steppin’ Out.” The live cuts are “Tell Me” (from All Over the Place), and a cover of Love’s “7 & 7 Is.” The disc closes with 1982’s “The Rock & Roll Alternative Program Theme Song,” a tune the group recorded for George Gimarc’s pioneering radio show. The only thing missing is the promo-only 12” remix of “The Real World,” but that’s a nit. This is the holy grail for Bangles fans, especially those who never completely cottoned to the commercial polish of their Columbia years. [©2016 Hyperbolium]

The Bangles’ Home Page

Psycotic Pineapple: Live 1978

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

First-ever release of this 1978 live set by Berkeley’s own Psycotic Pineapple. Limited edition of 250 cassette-only copies. See them live June 25-26, 2016 at the Burger Boogaloo in Oakland, California. Also on the bill: The Lyres, Real Kids, Mummies, Flamin’ Groovies, Young Fresh Fellows and more!

Holy Bouncer: Hippie Girl Lover

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

From Spain, an interesting combination of ’60s and ’70s influences that include the Doors, Who, Stones and a helping of garage rock. This is the title track from their forthcoming full-length album.

Holy Bouncer’s Facebook Page

In Memoriam: 2015

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

Ben E. King, 1938-2015

Listen to a selection of artists on Mixcloud or Spotify

January
Little Jimmy Dickens, country vocalist and guitarist
Andrae Crouch, pastor and gospel vocalist
Curtis Lee, vocalist (“Pretty Little Angel Eyes”)
Ray McFall, nightclub owner (The Cavern Club)
Popsy Dixon, vocalist and drummer (The Holmes Brothers)
Tim Drummond, bassist (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, CSN&Y)
Bill Thompson, manager (Jefferson Airplane)
Trevor Leonard Ward-Davies (aka “Dozy”), bassist (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch)
Ervin Drake, songwriter (“It Was a Very Good Year”)
Kim Fowley, producer, manager, songwriter and vocalist
Ian Allen, culture jammer (Negativland)
Dallas Taylor, rock drummer (CSN&Y)
Ward Swingle, vocalist (The Swingle Singers)
Edgar Froese, keyboardist (Tangerine Dream)
Rose Marie McCoy, songwriter (“I Beg of You” “Trying to Get to You”)
Joe Franklin, radio and television host
Neil Levang, guitarist (The Lawrence Welk Show)
Stephen R. Johnson, music video director (“Sledgehammer”)
Danny McCulloch, rock bassist (The Animals)
Rod McKuen, poet, songwriter and vocalist
Don Covay, vocalist and songwriter (“Chain of Fools”)

February
Joe B. Mauldin, rock ‘n’ roll bassist (The Crickets)
Thom Wilson, engineer and producer (Offspring, Dead Kennedys)
Sam Andrew, rock guitarist (Big Brother and the Holding Company)
Mosie Lister, gospel vocalist and songwriter (The Statesmen Quartet)
Gary Owens, disc jockey (KEWB, KFWB, KMPC) and television announcer
Steve Strange, new wave vocalist (Visage)
Leslie Gore, pop vocalist and songwriter
Clark Terry, jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist
Bobby Emmons, keyboardist and songwriter (“Luckenbach, Texas”)
Tod Dockstader, electronic music composer
Leonard Nimoy, actor, poet and vocalist

March
Orrin Keepnews, record executive and producer
Brian Carman, surf guitarist (Chantays) and songwriter (“Pipeline”)
Albert Maysles, documentarian (“Gimme Shelter”)
Lew Soloff, trumpeter and flugelhornist (Blood, Sweat & Tears)
Jerry Brightman, pedal steel guitarist (Buckaroos)
Eugene Patton, stagehand (“Gene Gene the Dancing Machine”)
Wayne Kemp, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter (“One Piece at a Time”)
Jimmy Greenspoon, rock keyboardist (Three Dog Night)
Daevid Allen, guitarist and vocalist (Soft Machine, Gong)
Bob Parlocha, jazz radio broadcaster (KJAZ)
Don Robertson, songwriter (“Please Help Me I’m Falling” “Ringo”)
Andy Fraser, rock bassist and songwriter (Free)
Samuel Charters, music historian
Michael Brown, songwriter and keyboardist (The Left Banke)
A.J. Pero, rock drummer (Twister Sister)
Miriam Bienstock, record company executive and theatrical producer
Al Bunetta, manager (Steve Goodman, John Prine)
John Renbourn, guitarist and songwriter (Pentangle)
Preston Ritter, rock drummer (The Electric Prunes)

April
Cynthia Lennon, author, first wife of John Lennon and mother of Julian
Dave Ball, rock guitarist (Procol Harum, Bedlam)
Doug Sax, audio mastering engineer (Doors, Rolling Stones, Who)
Robert Lewis “Bob” Burns Jr., drummer (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Ray Charles, vocalist, songwriter and arranger (The Ray Charles Singers)
Milton DeLugg, musician, arranger, conductor and composer
Stan Freberg, comedian, parodist, broadcaster, advertising executive
Keith McCormack, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter (“Sugar Shack”)
Bill Arhos, television broadcaster and founder of Austin City Limits
Percy Sledge, vocalist
Billy Ray Hearn, record company executive (Myrrh)
Wally Lester, doo-wop vocalist (The Skyliners)
Sid Tepper, songwriter (“Red Roses for a Blue Lady” “G.I. Blues”)
Suzanne Crowe, actress and percussionist (The Partridge Family)
Jack Ely, rock ‘n’ roll guitarist and vocalist (The Kingsmen)
Steven Goldmann, music video director (Faith Hill’s “This Kiss”)
Ben E. King, vocalist and songwriter

May
Guy Carawan, folk musician and musicologist
Errol Brown, vocalist and songwriter (Hot Chocolate)
Rutger Gunnarsson, bassist (ABBA)
Johnny Gimble, western swing and country fiddler
Stan Cornyn, music industry executive (Warner Brothers, Reprise)
B.B. King, blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter
Bruce Lundvall, record company executive (Blue Note, Angel, Manhattan)
Twinkle (Lynn Annette Ripley), pop vocalist and songwrite
Louis Johnson, bassist (The Brothers Johnson)
Johnny Keating, songwriter and arranger
Jim Bailey, vocalist, actor and impressionist (Judy Garland, Peggy Lee)
Julie Harris, costume designer (A Hard Day’s Night, Help)

June
Jean Ritchie, folk vocalist, songwriter and dulcimer player
Dennis Ferrante, recording engineer (John Lennon, Harry Nilsson)
Ronnie Gilbert, folk vocalist and songwriter (The Weavers)
Paul Bacon, album cover designer (Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker)
Randy Howard, country vocalist and songwriter
James Last, composer and bandleader
Johnny Keating, composer and arranger (“Theme for Z Cars”)
Jim Ed Brown, country vocalist and songwriter (The Browns)
Ornette Coleman, jazz saxophonist and visionary
Monica Lewis, jazz and commercial vocalist (Chiquita Banana)
Stephen Blauner, agent, manager and producer
Phil Austin, actor, comedian, writer, musician and radio broadcaster (The Firesign Theater)
Harold Battiste, saxophonist, arranger and composer
Wendell Holmes, guitarist and songwriter (The Holmes Brothers)
James Horner, film score composer, conductor and arranger (Titanic)
Chris Squire, bassist and songwriter (Yes)
Bruce Rowland, drummer (Grease Band, Fairport Convention)

July
Red Lane, country vocalist and songwriter
Roy C. Bennett, songwriter (“Red Roses for a Blue Lady” “G.I. Blues”)
Jerry Weintraub, film producer, manager, promoter and vocalist
Ernie Maresca, vocalist, songwriter (“Runaround Sue”) and record company executive
Michael Masser, songwriter (“Touch Me in the Morning”)
Tom Skinner, red dirt vocalist and songwriter
David Somerville, vocalist (The Diamonds)
Doug Layton, radio personality and Beatles boycotter
Buddy Buie, songwriter (“Spooky” “So Into You”) and producer
Van Alexander, composer, arranger and bandleader
Wayne Carson, songwriter (“The Letter” “Always on My Mind”)
Dieter Moebius, electronic music pioneer (Kluster, Brian Eno)
Theodore Bikel, actor, vocalist, activist and composer
Don Joyce, writer, producer, actor and radio broadcaster (Negativland, Over the Edge)
Vic Firth, percussionist and percussion stick maker
Buddy Emmons, pedal steel guitarist
Lynn Anderson, country vocalist

August
Cilla Black, vocalist, actress and media personality
Ken Barnes, author and producer
Billy Sherrill, producer, songwriter and arranger
Don Kent, blues historian and record label owner
Gary Keys, documentarian and concert producer
Bob Johnston, producer (Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel) and songwriter
Danny Sembello, producer and songwriter (“Neutron Dance”)
Joy Beverley, vocalist (Beverley Sisters)

September
Owen “Boomer” Castleman, vocalist and guitarist (Lewis & Clarke Expedition), inventor (Palm Pedal)
Rico Rodriguez, ska and reggae trombonist (Specials)
Hal Willis, country vocalist (“The Lumberjack”)
Frederick “Dennis” Greene, vocalist (Sha Na Na)
Augusta Lee Collins, blues drummer, vocalist and guitarist
Smokey WIlson, blues guitarist
Gary Richrath, rock guitarist and songwriter (REO Speedwagon)
Peggy “Lady Bo” Jones, rock ‘n’ roll guitarist
Ben Cauley, trumpeter (Bar-Kays)
Wilton Felder, saxophonist and bassist (Jazz Crusaders)
Frankie Ford, vocalist (“Sea Cruise”)
Phil Woods, jazz saxophonist (“Just the Way You Are”)

October
Big Tom Parker, disc jockey (KFRC, KYUU, K101, KOIN, KMGI, KXL)
Dave Pike, jazz vibraphonist
Smokey Johnson, drummer (Fats Domino) and songwriter
Billy Joe Royal, pop vocalist (“Down in the Boondocks” “Cherry Hill Park”)
Gail Zappa, widow of Frank Zappa and trustee of the Zappa Family Estate
Larry Rosen, producer and label founder (GRP)
Steve Mackay, saxophonist (The Stooges)
Hal Hackady, lyricist and and screenwriter (“Let’s Go Mets!”)
Steve Gebhardt, filmmaker (“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones”)
John Jennings, musician and producer (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
Cory Wells, rock vocalist (Three Dog Night)
Arnold Klein, dermatologist (Michael Jackson)
Leon Bibb, folk and theater vocalist
Nat Peck, jazz trombonist
David Rodriguez, vocalist, songwriter and father of Carrie Rodriguez
Herbie Goins, R&B vocalist

November
Tommy Overstreet, country vocalist
Chuck Pyle, country vocalist, guitarist and songwriter
Eddie Hoh, session drummer (Donovan, Monkees, Mamas & Papas)
Charlie Dick, widower of Patsy Cline and record promoter
Andy White, drummer (The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You”)
Martin Beard, rock bassist (Sopwith Camel)
Allen Toussaint, musician, songwriter and producer
Phil Taylor, drummer (Motörhead)
P.F. Sloan, vocalist, songwriter and producer
Al Aarons, jazz trumpeter (Count Basie Orchestra)
Ramona Jones, fiddler (Hee Haw)
Mack McCormick, musicologist and folklorist
Norman Pickering, engineer and inventor (Pickering phonographic stylus)
Arthur Brooks, vocalist (The Impressions)
Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter (Sly and the Family Stone)
Ronnie Bright, doo-wop vocalist (Valentines, Coasters, “Mr. Bassman”)
Wayne Bickerton, songwriter, producer, label executive and bassist
Buddy Moreno, big band vocalist, bandleader and radio host

December
Alex Cooley, promoter (Atlanta International Pop Festival, Mar Y Sol)
Scott Weiland, vocalist and songwriter (Stone Temple Pilots)
John Garner, drummer and vocalist (Sir Lord Baltimore)
Marque Lynch, vocalist (Lion King, American Idol, Mickey Mouse Club)
Franz “Franzl” Lang, German yodel king, accordionist and guitarist
Bonnie Lou, country vocalist and television performer
Gary Marker, bassist and engineer (Rising Sons, Captain Beefheart)
Rusty Jones, jazz drummer
Luigi Creatore, songwriter and producer (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”)
Adam Roth, guitarist (Jim Carroll, Del Fuegos)
Snuff Garrett, producer (Gary Lewis & The Playboys)
William Guest, R&B vocalist (Gladys Knight & The Pips)
Takeharu Kunimoto, shamisen player and bluegrass musician
Stevie Wright, pop vocalist (The Easybeats)
John Bradbury, drummer (The Specials)
Lemmy Kilmister, rock vocalist, bassist and songwriter (Motörhead)
Joe Houston, R&B saxophonist
Natalie Cole, vocalist and daughter of Nat “King” Cole