Archive for March, 2007

The Bonzo Dog Band “Cornology”

Cornology

If you are a fan of British humor, Monty Python, John Cleese & Fawlty Towers and all that stuff, than I highly highly highly highly highly highly highly highly HIGHLY highly highly highly highly recommend recommend. I’ll repeat that, highly recommend that you check out THE BONZO DOG BAND.

It’s the subtlety, I think, that makes these bits of dialogue, silly orchestrations, and bizarre lyrics and song topics so growingly hilarious. It’s better with each listen, and I can’t recommend recommend enough that you try this one out on a road trip (where more than one person is actually listening intently to an album, for once). For, although the Bonzo music is incredibly rockingly satisfying, to fully appreciate the experience their discography requires your complete, complying, curfew-denying, centered and well-mentored concentric concentration.

Ok, well that’s enough of that. My attempt at wit just doesn’t find par with these vaudevillian joke meisters. But my point is, we don’t just have humor here. The Monty Python albums, uproarious as they are, don’t suit casual, real-life listening. The Bonzo albums on the other hand, hilarious as they can indeed be, will fail to spoil the delicate hipness of your careful being. Though the mp3 below is a classic, it was hard to choose one, as these tunes vary between brilliantly witty, insanely catchy, and psychedelically rocking.

If you have read this far, then I recommend you just dive in deep and purchase the 3-CD boxset, Cornology. You’ll get everything you need from the band who so luckily pulled off a guest spot in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour movie performing a song that modern wonder group Death Cab For Cutie payed tribute to, borrowing its title for their bandname.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe”

3 CD Set Import, (check out the used&new prices)

Moby Grape “Moby Grape”

Moby Grape

Moby Grape’s debut encapsulates the frantic power and inspired genius of the group in the brief moment that it existed. All members contributed songs to this explosive record, giving each song a fresh feel within the triple-guitar rock/country/psych Grape sound. The songs are quick, great, and perfect illustrators of the San Fransisco sound from whence they came.

The problem is, things practically fell apart for the Grape after their debut record; it’s widely reported that the talents of this great, legendary band fell prey to mismanagement. If the Jefferson Airplane were today’s “Strokes,” then Moby Grape were “The Vines” or “Jet” or whatever over-hyped carbon copy band the music industry could get on the shelves in the wake of the former. Their record company released five singles at once, trying to stir up an artificial demand. Worst of all, the mismanagement continues today with the Moby Grape name being held hostage by some guy named Matthew Katz (hence, the still exorbitant CD price). The 2007 reissue of this record from Sundazed has been halted as well, producing a stilted run of 180G vinyl lps that are going for hefty prices on ebay.

Following the recording of this record, frontman Skip Spence lost it Syd Barrett style and took an axe with him on a short rampage at his band member’s hotel before being committed to Bellevue Hospital. After his release, he would take off on his motorcycle, equipped in pajamas rather than leather jacket, on the way to record his magnificent, and only solo album, Oar.

But despite these unfortunate circumstances, Moby Grape’s eponymous debut remains well respected as one of the best albums of the psychedelic era, its sound still holding up extremely well. In fact, you may have even heard the sometimes classic rock radio-worthy Omaha. And while this powerful debut may be one of the best rock records of all time, the Grape managed to reinstate its spirit in moments over several more excellent albums during their frenzied life span.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Fall On You”

[ Reissue @ Amazon ]

Maxfield Parrish “It’s A Cinch To Give Legs To Old Hard-Boiled Eggs”

It's A Cinch To Give Legs To Hard-Boiled Eggs

Maxfield Parrish’s only album was released in 1972, well after the band had split up. Members from the great California band Kaleidoscope produced and played on this underappreciated record which was originally recorded in early 1969. Had this album seen release in 1969, it would have been regarded today, as an early, innovative slab of country-rock.

It’s A Cinch strongly recalls the Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers/Easy Rider era or even the New Riders early material (great stuff!!), with strong songwriting, superb musicianship and a few nifty psych/space rock moves. There are some great, catchy acoustic rock songs in “Julie Columbus” and “Cruel Deception.”  The weirder creations, “The Widow,” an 8 minute mantra, and “The Untransmuted Child” work really well too. In particular, “The Untransmuted Child” is excellent, sounding like a trippy mountain hymn with hillbilly vocals, organ, harmonica and hallucinary guitar sustain.

Fans of the Byrds, Dillards, and Euphoria should not miss this one before it goes out of print forever!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“The Untransmuted Child”

[ Available as Import ]

EDIT: Read the comments below to hear the story direct from lead singer David Biasotti and some of the other folks behind the creation of this record.

The Can “Monster Movie”

Monster Movie

Few bands have had such an influence on modern underground and electronic music as krautrock heroes The Can, subsequently named just Can.

The Can today is most revered with their album Tago Mago, which perfectly showcases their hypnotizing, improvised (then edited) garage rock jams. Before japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki joined the group, however, The Can released their debut record featuring Malcolm Mooney as lead singer, and it’s a beast!

The first three songs on this album echo the psychedelic and garage scene that The Can came from. Unlike subsequent albums, you can hear a bit of a pop song format squeaking through on these excellent psych gems. The real heart of this album, though, is the epic track, Yoo Doo Right, apparently edited down from six hours of studio tape. It’s a beauty, with a laid-back and driving rhythm section, catchy bass, nutty drums, eery organ, and swirling guitar backing Mooney’s scream-tarnished voice. This song, more than the others, would foreshadow the Can to come.

If you haven’t heard The Can yet, you are in for a ride. Listen to this LOUD when you are in a panic! Their sound holds up remarkably well today, noobs will think this was recorded in 2005!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Outside My Door”

Available as Hybrid SACD and Remastered

John Cale “Vintage Violence”

Vintage Violence

I was listening to a Paul McCartney album the other day, thinking about how when you listen to his solo work, you can then go back and hear just what his contributions were to the Beatles. More likely, you don’t even have to go back, if the Beatles albums are as ingrained into your head as they should be. We get that same opportunity with John Cale and the Velvet Underground, listening to Cale’s brilliant Vintage Violence.

Granted, John Davies Cale left the VU after finishing their second album, but you can tell they missed out on a good thing. This record, unlike the surprising cover would imply, is a perfect pop gem. You might think you’d be getting into a full LP’s worth of Sister Ray type viola droning and electric mayhem, but Cale proves he’s got mad pop song skills to match his solid, driving piano stomping.

No doubt some of these songs should have been hits. That’s what we’re here for though; I’ve got ten bucks that says a song from this album ends up in the next Wes Anderson film (editors note: fail), and if I had to pick one I’d probably go with Amsterdam, certainly a competitor to The Zombs’ The Way I Feel Inside.

If you are into Brian Eno this is going to be very essential for you. John Cale would go on to create more wonderful music and produce some seriously classic albums, so get started here.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Big White Cloud”

Available At Amazon

The Idle Race “Birthday Party”

Birthday Party

The Idle Race’s “Birthday Party” is one of the great, neglected English pop albums. This was Jeff Lynne’s first album from 1968, although he had released some singles in earlier beat era bands. Even at this stage of the game, his refreshing melodies and lyrics were fully developed and realized and as a songsmith he was superb.

The Birthday Party is an unusual British pop album loaded with strange sound effects, buzzing mellotrons, tinkling harpsichords, great harmonies and the like. Lucky Man, I Like My Toys, and Pie In The Sky are joyously trippy, similar in tone to the Blossom Toes great first album, but maybe even better.

The album strongly recalls early Pink Floyd, late 60’s Kinks (just listen to Don’t Put Your Boys In The Army) and the early Move in the best possible way while keeping a strong flavor of originality. Even the ballads, like the heavily phased On With The Show are great listening, speaking of English life and its trials and tribulations. And then there is Morning Sunshine, one of the most beautiful English psychedelic pop ballads ever.

Anyone interested in the evolution of ELO or even fans of the Move, Kinks or Beatles should seriously check this one out!!

mp3: “Morning Sunshine”

Worth the Price of Admission

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band “Safe as Milk”

Safe as Milk

We’ll be coming back to the more wild Beefheart stuff here in the future, but I thought we should start here. In case you don’t already know, the Captain’s got a hell of a voice. Kind of a Howlin’ Wolf tribute and Tom Waits rival. The best part of his singing, though, are the bits that squeak out in between words; his breathing has a sonic quality all its own.

Safe as Milk is a real winner, a very accessible debut for a band whose later album, Trout Mask Replica, tends to confuse a lot of first time listeners. But this is before the days of Zappa, Antennae Jimmy Semens, and Zoot Horn Rollo and features a straighter, tighter Magic Band.

Not to say it won’t blow you away. Apparently this one was John Lennon’s favorite album in 1967. The first track hooks any listener, and nobody can ignore that overpowering vocal. Kickass guitar lines and tight rhythm n’ blues. But a hint of psychedelia; just wait til they get to Trout Mask! Try this one first, it’s a winner!

Also of certain note, in the movie, High Fidelity, Jack Black won’t sell a record to this poor guy who isn’t cool enough for him, but he sells it for $40 to his friend when he leaves. This is that record.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


“Plastic Factory”

Abba Zaba!

Captain Beefheart

Gandalf (self-titled)

Gandalf

If you couldn’t tell from the album cover, or the Lord of the Rings band name reference, then I’ll just tell you – Gandalf is trippy, dude.

First of all, if you are into The Zombies, this album is essential for you. Just imagine The Zombs with a slower tempo and a big dangerous tape delay pedal. Also, Tim Hardin fans are going to have to pick this one up for the few tracks written by the mad folkster himself. The singing is delicate and light over slow deep bass grooves, but the band has the knack for swirling into this big dangerous sounding beat.

Like most properly psychedelic albums of this era, this one isn’t for everybody, but if you are feeling adventurous I would check it out. DJ’s will find a few good tracks from here that will fill out their set with the soulful psychedelia it’s been missing.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Me About You”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Nature Boy”

Buy Gandalf ‘the Technicolored

T. Rex “Tanx”

Tanx

If you love “Electric Warrior” and “Slider” then you’ll like like “Tanx” a lot!! For me, Marc Bolan has one of the greatest rock voices of the time. I don’t know what he was putting in his tea between 1971-1973, peppermint jasmine awesome, perhaps?

“Tanx” picks up right where “Slider” left off and even broadens the band’s sound adding horns and back up singers throughout the record. This album also serves as a perfect self confidence booster when you get ready to go out on a Friday Night, but don’t get too sexy!

In a way “Tanx” is a farewell album, mostly because the band would soon start to dismember, and Bolan would go on to make on a few more records that no one would listen to. Please do not let the ridiculousness of the album cover fool you, it’s a great listen; Bolan looks like a member of “Gwar” on the cover, no?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Mister, Mister”

I too, was Born to Boogie

T. Rex

Electric Light Orchestra “Eldorado”

Eldorado

If any album cover has begged/hinted to its listeners to watch the “Wizard of Oz” while listening to the record it’s this one, right? I haven’t done it but I bet it’s awesome. Why? Because anything involving “Eldorado” is awesome. Also check out “The Wizard of Oz”, it’s about this girl who gets caught in a tornado and well I don’t want to spoil the rest…..

Jeff Lynne considers “Eldorado” the first album that accomplished the sound he had set out to make when starting ELO. Some even call it the Sgt. Pepper’s of their career. For me, it’s their best album, if you twist my arm, I might say, “Face the Music” but since you’re not I’m sticking with “Eldorado.” It’s start to finish fantastic, it even has a reprise at the end which always makes us think we’ve come full circle and that we may have missed the bigger picture. It marks the beginning of ELOs string of super albums (Eldorado, Face The Music, New World Record).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Boy Blue”

Eldorado at Amazon

Electric Light Orchestra - Eldorado