Ladies and gentleman,
We have started uploading vids from our massive
archive dating back 13 years!
July Fourth Toilet is a musically performative project
I’ve been heavily involved in as a founding member
where our mandate is to always have a differently
Lots of info in the sidebar of the links provided.
And here with recordings:
Now if we can just find a label to put out our second
album that is one third hard driving basement boogie,
one third faux Eastern but 10000 miles up experimental
instros, one third wonky ballads, one percent je ne
sais quoi, and zero bullshit.
Deep Sea Diver:
Tribute To Sept. 11th:
More videos found here on our YouTube page:
I'm predisposed to laud Anton Barbeau for his yeoman's work luring Scott Miller back to the recording studio (see last year's swell Loud Family CD, of which we still have a few free copies for Scram subscribers), but his lush, Bowiesque art-pop stands on its own freaky merits. Kicking off with the glam starburst of "This Is Why They Call Me Guru 7," the disc seduces with effortlessly catchy tunes, hyperactive arrangements and a neatly meshed tapestry of electronic and real instruments. The ideas fly furiously, tape runs backwards, cohorts shriek deep in the mix.. and yes, you could say much the same about a Scott Miller record. It's no coincidence these two have formed a collaboration, and fans of the Loud Family and Game Theory will certainly want to explore Barbeau's deep catalog of smart, weird pop, with this a timely starting point.
Lindsey Buckingham, multitude of custom guitars in hands, cannily fleeted from the humongous Mac only to craft one of the greatest folk albums in many an era, whilst that once-and-former misdiagnosed Voice of Someone’s Generation pulled out a clutch of ancient ribbon microphones and somehow produced the quintessential sonic answer to these crazed Modern Times we still try to live in.
Meanwhile of course, your ever-humble virtual listener cocked both ears deep beneath the socio-musical radar, only to hopefully bring to your attention again ten remarkable discs you should all hear too over the many many years to come. So Here They Are (in strictly alphabetical order, I’ll have you know):
Time for another round of Virtual Musical Word Association!
Wherein we join Mr. Fandango himself Jason NeSmith as he and main cookie Kay S. Stanton, d.b.a. Casper & The Cookies, spend Some Time in gray New York City and live to return to Athens to sing and play for us all about it.
Yes, The Optimist’s Club is the name of this most positive disc in question; but Hurry and order your very own copy so as to grab the accompanying limited-offer mini graphic novel, overly optimistic bonus CDR, sticker and button set and maybe even tasty CookieShirt to boot (mine was an absolutely Tee-rrific 100% heavy cotton Honduran Fruit-o-the-Loom in stunning day-glo green and pink!!)
so Let the Crumbling begin…..
1. KRÖTENWANDERUNG…..makes Sheryl eat crow!
2. KISS A FRIEND…..You Boettcher Life, to be perfectly curt.
3. BARKING IN THE GARDEN OF ILL REPUTE…..Great Title!!
4. DuCHAMP’S CAMERA…..the better to capture all the subway’s shooting stars…
5. SID FROM CENTRAL PARK…..”Ring tha bell. Hold it up to ya ear. Now make ya wish. You’re learning bell music – any language.”
6. HEY MR. SUPERSTAR…..How To Succeed In Music Business, in a mere five-minutes-twenty-four!
7. LEARN HOW TO DISAPPEAR…..coz Some people really have to go…
8. THE OPTIMIST’S CREDO…..L-u-v means never having to say No.
9. NEO DADA HEY DAY…..Friends, busy doin’ nothin’, went to sleep with a little bird at my window as radio plays wind chimes
CRASH COFFIN Self titled CD (Radioactive)… Crash Coffin is a fellow from Ohio who put together a band and recorded ten of his songs on a local label back in 1970. Crash had a good grasp on singing, storytelling and songwriting as well as a working knowledge of various musical genres. This CD contains “Masochist Blues” and “the Looney Polka” as well as eight others that are not as readily pegged as belonging to a particular musical style. One song, “Freedom Cake,” could have given the Lovin’ Spoonful some serious competition in the jug band pop field. Crash had a strong and smooth voice with plenty of Elvis that crept in around the edges. This is actually a pretty good record that I’ve gone back to more than once. I especially like the closing track, a rambling folk pop ditty about Jesus stealing his “Blue Kazoo.” Mr. Coffin did individual artwork for the covers of the few copies of the LP that actually made it into the hands of the public because he couldn’t afford to have the covers printed. It’s a shame because this could have been a popular record with a little support from a label.
FIFTH FLIGHT “Into Smoke Tree Village” CD (Radioactive)… Radioactive Records digs deep to find lost records of the past and make them available to a fanatical bunch of ’60s and ’70s enthusiasts. Fifth Flight was probably a popular high school hop band. They were a bit luckier than a lot of other groups doing covers of radio hits in the late ’60s because they actually got to record a whole album. Their set opens with a middle of the road original called “Can’t You See?” The rest of the record is made up of pedestrian versions of songs like “Midnight Hour” and “I’d Like to Make it with You.” It’s too bad they didn’t have a prolific tunesmith onboard to give them something to work with because they were decent musicians. This will enlighten anyone wondering what a competent group of musicians working the top 40 circuit in 1969 was like.
THE FLOOR “1st Floor” CD (Radioactive)… The band was known as the Hitmakers until 1967 when the changing times brought about a radical reincarnation in the Danish beat group. They brought in a fifth member, changed their name and set about Sgt. Pepperizing everything. There is a great photo on the back cover of the band, in their psychedelic finery, along with their various managers, composers, studio musicians, conductors, technicians… and coffee-lady. This is some of the finest introspective pop with orchestral backing of its era. Things get a tad too LSD silly with songs like “Hey, Mr. Flowerman” and “A Rainbow Around Us,” but others have more of a Zombies sensibility. In a fair world, music historians would be mentioning this album in the same breath as Herman’s Hermits’ “Blaze,” but the Continent never got as much attention as England or America. Maybe this re-release will set things straight.
THE SIDETRACK “Baby” CD (Radioactive)… Radioactive Records can be counted on to dig up some very obscure music from the ’60s and ’70s, but this one is more enigmatic than the average overlooked also ran. The label couldn’t dig up a photo of the group and the band never came up with artwork for this eleven-track demo. The best guess of the person who reviewed these songs for the label is that the band is from the late ’60s/ early ’70s. That sounds about right. This could almost pass for the British band Fields. It’s chock full of piano, organ and harpsichord and incorporates elements of classical music in its post-psychedelic rock explorations. While trying to zero in on its own unique sound, the band dabbled in a sort of blues/ Gregorian chant fusion and extended funky jazzy noodling among other odd combinations of eras and genres. The production is good, but the songs could be a lot
T- is for tempo, which the multi-instrumentalist kept
T- is for tape, which when rolling can capture gems
R- is for "Really Wanted You," which is pretty near perfect
H- is for Hawthorne, his hometown
O- is for "Only Lovers Decide," little heard but loverly
D- is for daisy, daisy fresh to be precise
E- is for easy, because he makes it look that way
S- is for sixties and seventies, when he recorded mainly
Put em all together and they spell EMITT RHODES, a good friend of the Scram gang, and subject of one of our more jaw-droppingly frank interviews. In honor of Emitt, we’ve created a gallery of rare photos from his personal archives up on flickr, which you may peruse at leisure. Many of these only appeared in Scram #18, and others have never been publically seen at all–including a few from a roll of unprinted slide film circa 1968. Thanks, Emitt, for all the great pix! And if you like deliriously catchy melodic pop, you owe it to your ears to pick up his disks, in thrift stores or import CDs.
While what’s left of those Brothers Gibb may, whenever asked, still like to refer to themselves as the Enigma (Cucumber Castle) with the Stigma (Saturday Night Fever) (for starters), may I posit the REAL, TRUE, ORIGINAL Great Big Rockin’ Rolling Enigma is none other than the one, the still and only, Big Boy Pete Miller.
Why, armed with little more than his twin-tone green ’61 Gretsch guitar – name of Henry, btw – and a clutch of equally vintage recording equipment (including a Goobly Box and genuine Humbert Humbert by way of very special effects, I kid you not) Pete has, since 1959 and counting, been in dozens of bands (the so-aptly-named Offbeats, Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers, The Fuzz, even Buzz), toured everywhere with everyone (Beatles, Stones, Kinks et al all round Swinging Sixties England, not to mention the wilds of the Orient – with his trademark electric wah-wah sitar — during no less than the Vietnam quagmire), composed beyond-numerous neat numbers for Freddie and the Dreamers, Damned, and the (original) Knack, and most notably of all as it turns out churned out literally thousands of recordings in studios worldwide these past four-plus decades with, for and/or alongside the likes of Marty Wilde, Peter Frampton’s Herd, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Murray the K, Arlo Guthrie, Elvin Bishop, The Avengers, Tuxedomoon, Roy Loney, Marshall Crenshaw, Johnny and the Potato Chips, and even our good buds The Squires Of The Subterrain, very roughly chronologically speaking indeed.
And now! The good folk over there at Angel Air Records (“Where the Artist Has a Voice”) have gone and collected a dozen of some of Pete’s prime early-Seventies San Francisco productions neatly together right here upon one perfectly titled The Perennial Enigma CD.
Thrill, as I repeatedly have already, to The Great Joe Meek / Marc Bolan Tape that Got Away (“The Demo”), the absolute biggest hit Dave Edmunds somehow never had (“All Down The Road”), and a mere two-minutes-twenty- five called “Get Up And Dance” which finally fills that socio-musical gap between The Swinging Medallions and your very first Elvis Costello long-player.
Elsewhere, Harry Belafonte makes an extremely wrong turn …straight down into Lee “Scratch” Perry’s sub-basement (“Havana Juana”), “Who Stole My Garden?” asks the kind of musical question even those Bonzo Dogs seemed incapable of, and “Rudy’s In Love” – not to mention “The Prayer” – makes one wonder why in holy heck that Plastic Ono Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll album didn’t, or should I say COULDN’T, sound half this coooool ??
Not to fret though: For while the inimitable Johnny Rhythm may no longer be with us, Big Boy Pete is still sitting tight there in Frisco, safe and stereophonically sound within his esteemed Audio Institute of America, demo-ing up his next several hundred severely-high-fidelity musical marvels. So until they too begin trickling out upon us Lost Groovers, I’d suggest you grab your own Perennial Enigma toot sweet, awreet?
You know, Japan has already given us, in semi- chronological order, The Blue Comets, The Tigers, coooool live albums from The Ventures, Honeycombs, and the late, very great Buck Owens, plus of course those twin teen titans themselves Puffy (Ami Yumi). Domo arigato, I believe is the only applicable phrase right here.
Nobly carrying quite on with that super-fine tradition is the one and only Daisuke Kambe and his Tokyo-based Wizzard In Vinyl label. He, and they, have been responsible for bringing to discriminating ears worldwide the untold pleasures of The Playmates (Jam meet Hamburg Beatles!), Treeberrys (best cover-art graphics since at least The Association), Movin’ Jelly (deftly ready to pick up if NRBQ ever decide to leave off), plus only the very very highest quality non- J-Pop from across the globe, including our aforementioned Bill Lloyd. Why, I think you’ll even hear Yours Quite Truly singing my Who’s Next version of “Rock And Roll Love Letter” on the Men In Plaid Rollers tribute disc in there somewhere…
However, Daisuke’s latest gracious Package to Pig contained above-exceptional new discs by two combos ALL Lost Groovers should hook onto asap imho:
First, there’s those living coloured Oranges, upon whose so-aptly-titled Teen Rock are squeezed twenty wholly-rockin’ sound-biters in fifty minutes flat. Had Eric Carmen continued writing Top Tens for Shaun Cassidy; had Herman and his Hermits mid-wifed that l-u-v child dem Ramones sorrowfully never sired… in other words, The Oranges taste no less like one gigantic, sugary-Sweet, Chinni-Chapping all-day sucker for the lower extremities, believe you me!
And, as if that wasn’t all, Here Come The Mayflowers, who are never once afraid to pack a whole lotta Power deep into their Pop. Why, it’s just as if Jellyfish played one big Cheap Trick at the XTC / Hollies summit meeting which, until now, never got a chance to happen.
Yes, you just gotta check any, or ideally all of the above, available right now right there at, in Daisuke’s own words, “the best place for crystalline guitarpop & crunchy powerpop.”
Amidst the above-affluent abundance of riches to be found within a typical mid-Sixties Top Forty, it was all too easy to find true certain gems far too frequently lost in the grooves of such a golden rush. SO much good music; SO many absolute hit wonders moving past your window in the wind out on the new horizon…..
Case very much in point: Ear glued, as always, to mighty 1050 CHUM-AM in my home and native Toronto, a literally lighter-than-airwaves apparition known as the “Elusive Butterfly” somehow alit right there upon my childhood six transistors, just beneath Nancy Sinatra’s boots, those ubiquitous Beatles and, speaking of Nowhere Men, S/Sgt. Barry Sadler’s Green-Ballad Berets. Heady company indeed, speaking even of the 3/21/66 CHUM Chart Survey.
Now, flash forward four long decades: Bob Lind, the man who wrote and sang said very special song, is not only happily active and creating and performing from his newfound Boca Raton base, but is today the focal point as well of an equally welcome turn of events called Lind Me Four. Wherein one of our all-time favorite powerful poppers – yes, none other than Spongetone super Jamie Hoover – expertly recaptures not only the “Butterfly” in question, but a trio of other delicate delights from the venerable Lind songbook.
Background vocals awash in yellow orange chorale swirls, guitars ring and drench as only an artist with ears totally attuned knows just how… the otherwise improbable combination of a Hoover and a Lind is, in fact, totally responsible for one of the most gracious gifts of music you or I can hope to hear. Be it 2006 or even, dare I say it, 1966.