Posts Tagged ‘Merseybeat’

Various Artists: Today’s Top Girl Groups, Vol. 1

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

1998 sampler of international lo-fi, punk and girlgroup sounds

After several Rock Don’t Run volumes [1 2 3] of mostly male bands, Spinout collected sixteen girl groups for this 1998 release. But other than Sit ‘n’ Spin’s note-perfect homage to the sixties, this is more punk rock than girl group. There’s primitive Merseybeat from Japan’s Pebbles and 5,6,7,8s, buzzing post-punk from San Francisco’s Poontwang, Ramones-like intensity from The Neanderdolls and Bobbyteens, and garage rock from Holly Golightly and Greece’s Meanie Geanies. The Neptunas give a swinging instrumental surf spin to Max Frost & the Trooper’s “Shapes of Things to Come,” the Friggs’ drum-and-guitar heavy “Juiced Up” brings to mind the late, lamented Pandoras, and the Maybellines’ Bo Diddley beat was studied at the feet of the Strangeloves. Best of all, though, is the drums-bass-and-grunting of the Godzillas’ “Pass the Hatchet.” If the Litter had made soundtrack music for the softcore porn scene of an AIP cheapie film, it would have, if we were lucky, sounded like this track. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

The Poppees: Pop Goes the Anthology

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Teriffic Merseybeat sounds from the heart of the punk era

Amid the skinny ties, safety pins and DIY ethos of late-70s punk rock, a few brave souls stood in contrast with well-crafted pop and tunefully sung harmonies. Among them, the Poppees most visibly swathed their sleeves with Beatles influences. Well, “influences,” is probably an understatement. Though they weren’t a Beatles tribute band, per se, “homage” is a more accurate description of the group’s sound. Like the bands sprung directly from the Beatles’ wake (e.g., Uruguay’s Los Shakers, Poland’s Czerwone Gitary and New Jersey’s Knickerbockers), the Poppees didn’t so much take a cue from the Beatles as they took whole pages of music, along with the Fab Four’s fashions and haircuts.

The Poppees actually got their start in 1974, a year before the downtown New York City scene exploded with new music. Their first single,” If She Cries,” was produced by Bomp head-honcho Greg Shaw in 1975, and opens tellingly with the same guitar strum with which the Beatles led their cover of “Do You Want to Know a Secret.” The flipside, helmed by soon-to-be-Ramones-producer Craig Leon, was a cover of Lennon and McCartney’s “Love of the Loved” that features the winsome qualities of Gary Lewis & The Playboys. In short order the group was playing CBGB and Max’s Kansas City alongside punk and new wave bands who would soon become icons. The following Spring the Poppees cut their second – and last – single, the original “Jealousy,” backed with a cover of Little Richard’s “She’s Got It.” Produced by Cyril Jordan, the single is even hotter than the debut.

Only a few months after their second single was released, the band split, sending lead guitarist Arthur Alexander to start the Sorrows (soon to be joined by drummer Jett Harris), and bassist Paddy Lorenzo and rhythm guitarist Bob Waxman to start the Boyfriends. Bomp’s CD fleshes out the band’s two singles (which, on their own, are worth the price of the disc) with demos, live performances and an unreleased studio track. The extras are often as good as the original singles, highlighted by the Harrison-esque volume pedal of “Sad Sad Love,” the flaming hot (and crisply recorded) CBGB live cut “She’s So Bad,” a harmony call-and-response take on Dusty Springfield’s “Stay Awhile,” and demos of “If She Cries” and “Jealousy” whose charms may be even greater than that of the finished singles.

Unlike fake Beatles bands (such as the Buggs, Liverpools, and Beatle Buddies) whose budget labels sought to fool unsuspecting buyers, the Poppees celebrated the Beatles with their original echo of the Merseybeat sound. There are Rutles-like moments of “spot the Beatles,” such as the “All My Loving” guitar figure in “I’ll Be Loving You” and the “This Boy” riffs in a cover of “Since I Fell for You,” but like those who earnestly rode the wave in the mid-60s, it’s affectionate and terrifically infectious. By the time they played “Woman” at Club 82, the group was moving towards a harder rock sound, having exhausted their exploration of Please Please Me and With the Beatles. But those early sounds are great to hear, and sound as fresh as they did in 1976 and 1963. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]

MP3 | Jealousy
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