Posts Tagged ‘Garage Rock’

Hypercast #6: In Memoriam 2015

Friday, December 25th, 2015

A collection of music from some of the artists who passed away in 2015.

Billy Joe Royal Down in the Boondocks
B.B. King Early in the Morning
Bonnie Lou Friction Heat
Ben E. King (The Drifters) Save the Last Dance for Me
Don Covay Come See About Me
Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate) Emma
Don Joyce Crystal’s Snowdrift Disco Bar & Thrill
Jack Ely (The Kingsmen) Louie, Louie
Leonard Nimoy Highly Illogical
Kim Fowley The Trip
Buddy Emmons Witches Brew
Cory Wells (Three Dog Night) Mama Told Me Not to Come
Jean Richie Dulcimer Pieces
Johnny Gimble Lone Star Rag
Little Jimmy Dickens Me and My Big Loud Mouth
Lynn Anderson Flattery Will Get You Everywhere
Curtis Lee Pretty Little Angel Eyes
David Somerville (The Diamonds) Little Darlin’
Ronnie Bright (Johnny Cymbal) Mr. Bass Man
Frankie Ford Sea Cruise
Allen Toussaint Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky
Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat & Tears) Spinning Wheel
Ramona Jones Whiskey Before Breakfast
Chuck Pyle Rio Rey
Cilla Black Conversations
Michael Brown (The Left Banke) Pretty Ballerina
Rod McKuen Jean
Percy Sledge Warm and Tender Love
Lesley Gore I Don’t Want To Be a Loser
Johnny Keating Theme From Z-Cars
Ward Swingle (The Swingle Singers) The Little Fugue
Jim Ed Brown Pop-A-Top
Owen Castleman Judy Mae
Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) Creep
P.F. Sloan Halloween Mary
Dave Pike Jet Set

Them Howling Bones

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Scorching hot blues-rock from the garage, with shades of Cream, George Thorogood, ? and the Mysterians and Lonnie Mack, with some of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ menace thrown in for good measure. This LA combo sounds like something Wolfman Jack would have played on XERB to terrify your parents. Check out a few tracks below!

Them Howling Bones’ Home Page

The Royal Hangmen: Hell Yeah! An 80s Garage Tribute

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

RoyalHangmen_HellYeahReviving the garage rock revivalists

Garage rock has turned out to be a gift that keeps on giving. The original mid-60s singles movement was recognized in the writings of Lester Bangs and Greg Shaw, and memorialized in 1972 on Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets. The sounds continued to echo ever more scratchily in the follow-on avalanche of Pebbles, Boulders, Back From the Grave, Girls in the Garage and their myriad peers, and the ethos took root among the DIY punk movement of the late-70s. By the early 1980s, a full-blown revival was underway, and over the succeeding decades, the sound has morphed and been reborn around the world.

Enter Zurich’s Royal Hangmen, who released their first demos in 2006, the single “Mary Jane” in 2009 and their self-titled debut LP in 2012. Their latest 4-song EP salutes the first wave of garage revivalists, including covers of the Chesterfield Kings (“She Told Me Lies”), Wylde Mammoths (“Help That Girl”), Miracle Workers (“I’ll Walk Away”) and Cynics (“Yeah!”). Just as the first-wave revivalists stocked their sets with covers of obscure singles from the 1960s, the Hangmen have selected their material with a connoisseur’s ear for the revivalists’ originals, and recreated the same sort of sweaty reverence these sides deserve. There are some great memories here, given a fresh shot of fuzz by the Royal Hangmen. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

The Royal Hangmen’s Home Page

The Buckinghams: The Complete Hit Singles

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Buckinghams_TheCompleteHitSInglesThe original recordings, but not the original mono singles

It took Chicago’s Buckinghams five tries to crack the singles chart. Their second single, a 1966 cover of James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy,” bubbled under, but their fifth release, “Kind of a Drag” raced up the Billboard chart to sit in the top spot for two weeks in February 1967. The group continued to chart through 1969, with their last entry, “It’s a Beautiful Day,” creeping up to #126. In between, they clicked with four more pop icons in 1967, “Don’t You Care,” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song” and “Susan,” and posted several lower-charting singles – all of which are included here – on the charts.

The Buckinghams built their initial success with six superb singles and an album on the Chicago-based U.S.A. Records label. The album was released in both mono and stereo, but the singles, which were aimed at AM radio, were released only in mono. Varese has included all six of the A-sides, but, as has generally been the case for the Buckinghams in the digital age, the less impactful stereo mixes are used. Apparently Sony (who owns the recordings) wouldn’t or couldn’t produce the mono masters. And that’s a shame, as the wide stereo mixes dissipate much of the energy conjured by the hot mono singles. Also a question mark is the last of the group’s U.S.A. singles, “Summertime,” which is offered at the album’s 3:53 length, rather than the single’s reported 2:17 edit. Perhaps only the DJ single was edited, but if so, it would have made a nice inclusion.

The group moved to Columbia Records, where they produced three albums and nine singles, the latter of which are included here, again in stereo. The one novelty among the Columbia material is an edited version of the hit “Susan.” Originally issued with a thirty-second instrumental freakout inserted by the group’s producer, the single was reissued in edited form, and it’s the latter that’s included here. Beyond the hits scored for Columbia, the group had several fine singles that charted lower or not at all, including “Back in Love Again” (which turned up the following year as a “moldy oldy” on Chicago’s Kiddie-A-Go-Go!), the bubblegum soul “Where Did You Come From,” light-psych “This is How Much I Love You” and two more non-LP sides.

Other than “Susan” (and the inclusion of “Summertime”), these recordings appear to be the same as released on the earlier Mercy, Mercy, Mercy compilation. What distinguishes this set from Mercy are the stereo mixes. When Mercy was produced, a number of tracks were remixed by Vic Anesini; Varese asked Sony for the original period mixes, and assuming that’s what they received, they’re a great addition to the group’s digital canon. The absence of original mono singles, particularly for the U.S.A. sides, merits a more accurate title for this collection, but the 12-page booklet includes rare photos and excellent liner notes by Clark Besch, and Steve Massie’s remaster sounds great. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

The Buckinghams’ Home Page

Rubinoos vs. Psycotic Pineapple

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Given the incestuous relationship between the Rubinoos and Psycotic Pineapple (Jon Rubin and Tommy Dunbar were charter members of the Pineapple, and early Rubinoos keyboardist Alex Carlin joined the Pineapple for their hey-day), it probably shouldn’t be surprising that artist (and bassist) John Seabury drew inspiration from (and took friendly aim at) the Rubinoos single. Still, how did we not realize this until today?



John Seabury’s Facebook Page
The Rubinoos’ Home Page
Psycotic Pineapple’s Facebook Page

The Jeanies: The Jeanies

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Jeanies_JeaniesGarage-bred power pop time-warped from 1978

This is music that could only have arrived through a tear in the space-time continuum. The Jeanies have somehow managed to create mid-70s DIY power pop forty years after the fact. The mid-fi production and endless hooks are so genuine as to rise above mere homage. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear this is a reissue of a long-lost Bomp release. Actually, and even more impressively, it sounds like an anthology of indie singles whose B’s were as heartfelt as the top-sides. Each track has you humming along almost immediately and invites you to listen again – if only to keep you from arriving too quickly at the end of your new favorite record.

If you collected singles by the Nerves, Neighborhoods, Zippers, Stars in the Sky and Shoes, you’ll remember how uplifting it felt to find music this good. You had to hunt for it; you had to make friends with record store clerks in small independent shops and hope they’d stash a copy for you behind the counter. And when you found albums by the Beat, Real Kids, Dwight Twilley, Flamin’ Groovies and Raspberries, you couldn’t believe your good fortune in finding something to expand your love of the Beatles, Beach Boys and Byrds. That’s how you’ll feel when you unwrap this one. And as good as it sounds in digital form, it’s going to sound even better when you play the limited edition cassette in your Chevy Vega. It’s a shame they didn’t issue this as five singles.

Songwriter and lead vocalist Joey Farber evinces just the right sense of angsty, adolescent longing as he recounts the breathless anticipation and unrequited moments of first sightings, second thoughts and postmortems. The guitars (courtesy of Farber and Jon Mann) strike a balance between sweet and tough, with succinct, melodic leads that verge winningly into garage-psych for “I’ll Warm You” and “Her Flesh.” There’s bubblegum-glam in “The Girl’s Gonna Go,” and the Who gets a nod with “The Kids Are No Good.” Fans of the Heats, Plimsouls, Posies (another band that debuted on cassette!) and Flying Color will dig this album from the downbeat. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

The Jeanies’ Facebook Page
The Jeanies’ Bandcamp Page

The Electric Mess: House on Fire

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

ElectricMess_HouseOnFireNew York garage rockers up their attack

New York’s Electric Mess returns with a new album that intensifies their Farfisa-laced mid-60s garage rock with the raucous bombast of the Stooges and Dolls. Esther Crow still spits out her lyrics with the ferocity of a latter-day Paul Pierce, but this time the organ plays from the sidelines as the group’s louder, harder instrumental attack takes center stage. Even when the tempo slows for “She Got Fangs” or the licentious “Lemonade Man,” the ferocity doesn’t dip, and up-tempo numbers like “Beat Skipping Heart” sound as if they’re being sprayed from a high-pressure fire hose. You can still hear the band’s mid-60s roots, but the location has changed from a suburban garage to a downtown squat. [©2014 Hyperbolium]

The Electric Mess’ Home Page

The Living Kills: Odd Fellows Hall

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

LivingKills_OddFellowsHallDark psychedelic rock from the garages of Brooklyn

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Merrill Sherman returns with an expanded five-piece line-up of the Living Kills for this new EP. As with their album Faceless Angels, the whining tone of Jennifer Bassett’s organ pinpoints the band’s inspiration in the garages of the 1960s. The rhythm riff of the opening “Anywhere” suggests the Moving Sidewalks’ “99th Floor,” but Bassett expands the epoch with some space-age Moog. Sherman’s songs explore B-movie and horror-related themes previously championed by the Cramps, and the arrangements buzz with the energy of the 13th Floor Elevators, Doors and UK Freakbeat. Newly added drummer Brian Del Guercio keeps a punchy backbeat, and bassist Ross Fisher adds a rumbling bottom end that will catch anyone walking by the garage. [©2014 Hyperbolium]

The Living Kills’ Home Page

X-Ray Harpoons: Get Attuned to Our Tyme

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

XRayHarpoons_GetAttunedToOurTymeTerrific throw-back garage fuzz psych

Though they’ve been kicking around in one lineup or another for eight years, this Bonn-based quintet has only now recorded and released their debut LP. That’s given them plenty of time to hone their fuzz guitar, whining organ and solid garage rock beats. The band cites vintage touchstones in the Music Machine, Brogues and We the People, as well as the sounds of 80s revivalists like the Fuzztones and Gravedigger V. The strong organ presence also brings to mind Country Joe & The Fish, the Doors, Lyres, Rain Parade and Chesterfield Kings. The band’s eleven originals mix easily with two finely crafted covers (the Daybreakers’ “Psychedelic Siren” and Sonny Flaherty and Mark V’s manic “Hey Conductor“), as the band plays Eastern-tinged psychedelia, buzzing garage punk and organ and drum-driven rave-ups. The vocals are swaggering, snotty and with the Mellotron effect of “City of Light,” trippy. The album is well stocked with catchy melodies, sharp hooks, fuzz-powered riffs and inventive production touches that will really please garage and psych aficionados. [©2014 Hyperbolium]

The X-Ray Harpoons’ Bandcamp Page

OST: Toomorrow

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

OST_ToomorrowOlivia Newton-John on the doorstep of stardom in 1970

This 1970 soundtrack to a blink-and-you-missed-it Don Kirshner-produced film would likely have remained a quick blip on the pop landscape, had the like-named group, film and soundtrack not featured a young Olivia Newton-John. At the time of the film’s release, John was still a year away from breaking through internationally with the Dylan-penned “If Not for You,” but she already had plenty of experience under her belt. She’d recorded a terrific cover of Jackie DeShannon’s “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine” and was gaining notice from club performances when Kirshner (who’d found success assembling the Archies and Cuff Links after being booted as the Monkees’ producer) brought her into the group.

The film was part of a deal Kirshner struck with James Bond producer Harry Saltzman, and after funding troubles sank the picture’s prospects, it was shelved shortly after release. The soundtrack album was released concurrently on RCA, but given the film’s vanishing act, the vinyl quickly followed suit. The group released a follow-up single and B-side on Decca, but Newton-John was soon off to the beginning of her superstar solo career. Real Gone’s first-ever reissue of the soundtrack, struck from the original master tape, includes the album’s original dozen tracks.

The film stars Toomorrow as the only band with the “curative vibrations” that can save an alien race dying from a lack of emotion. The screenplay is filled with late ’60s tropes, faux hipster dialog and science fiction cliches, which, of course, makes it worth screening. But the project seems to have really been a launching pad for the group, as had been the Monkees television show and the Archies’ animated series; unfortunately, there was no commercial lift-off. The soundtrack, written and produced by veteran pop songsmiths Mark Barkan (“She’s a Fool,” “Pretty Flamingo,” “The Tra La La Song”) and Ritchie Adams (“Tossin’ and Turnin'”), is an amalgam of bubblegum sounds that include pop, soul and lite psych, hints of folk and country, and is threaded lightly with primitive synth.

Olivia Newton-John is featured on the Motown-inflected “Walkin’ on Air” and the closing “Goin’ Back.” She’s also sings harmonies and takes a verse on the title theme. Guitarist Ben Cooper provides lead vocal for the space-age garage-rocker “Taking Our Own Sweet Time,” the pop-blues “Let’s Move On,” and the hippie themed “HappinessValley.” A trio of instrumentals includes Hugo Montenegro’s bachelor pad-styled “Spaceport,” and orchestral arrangements of “Toomorrow” and “Walkin’ on Air” that sound as if they’re drawn from a commercial production music library. This doesn’t measure up to ONJ’s later hits, but as a quirky start to her career, it’s great find for fans. Real Music’s reissue includes a six-panel booklet with extensive liner notes and full-panel front- and back-cover reproductions. [©2014 Hyperbolium]