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REISSUES/RETROSPECTIVES/ETC. SPRING 2007

Key: (KB: Kemp Boyd) (MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SB: Young Steve)

Absolute Body Control "Tapes'81-89" 5LP Box
Five fucking LP's and a hefty, hefty box with some of the most obsesso/tasty packaging ever. Immediate thought of after purchase "Holy shit I just spent $105.00 on NEW vinyl, what the fuck?" Put it on at home: Ahhhh. It's fucking good.
Belgium is like the Nile Delta for excavating cassette-only electro-punk and I suppose Vinyl on Demand is Indiana Jones. Brrrrrr, freezing, frigid Germanic coldness, out-Germaning the Germans in a way? You occupy us and we'll retaliate with cassettes 40 years later.
Do people actually read these? I feel like they get skimmed over. Extended live cover of "Sister Ray" and "Baby's On Fire" from '81 really smokes. Live electro stuff can be good after all. This shit is great. It'll probably be gone by the time you read it. Download it! Nothing on here is from 1989, it's a misnomer, all the shit was recorded from '81 to '84, just that the last bit wasn't released until 1989.
It's been a good year for this stuff, Bippp, Minimal Wave Comp, Ende Schneafliet, Ceramic Hello and a bunch of new bands that seem to be listening to it that are good (Leper Print, Spider, Digital Leather, though they've been around for a while.) Is it a trend? If so, good. Plenty of room for it. I would like to book a Boys Club/Wizzard Sleeve show, just to prove there's room for everything if you're good.
Ltd. to 600 copies that will sell to the hermits, rich kids and obsessive-compulsive maniacs that will actually have time to listen to OR will immediately file it away until they decide to sell it. It really is good stuff though.(MS)
(Vinyl On Demand // www.vinyl-on-demand.com)

Bark Hard s/t LP
Being a long time fan of classic skate rock, the Bark Hard LP was on my want list for some time, a record I never got the chance to hear until the days of downloading and something I never imagined would see light as a vinyl reissue. But surprisingly enough, here it is. For the unaware, Bark Hard were the "house band" of Texas's Zorlac Skateboards, who were the rugged and dirty brand of skaters as opposed to say, the slick in comparison Bones Brigade or other CA skate crews. A good way to visualize this is to compare classic VCJ Powell art (McGill, Hawk, etc..) to the Pushead art featured on most Zorlac decks. Now transpose that to people and styles. Sure, both feature plenty of skulls, but done in such different ways. Anyway, the mighty John Gibson himself actually played guitar in the band and I'm happy as hell to be spinning this daily. Tunes like "Scene Aint Dead', "ICB" (Ice Cold Beer) and "Kicked Out of Hell" are skate rock classics, and Bark Hard combined the fun-loving attitude of say The Faction or JFA with a heavy Suicidal-like slant at times, and this thing goes further into crossover demi-metal territory as it goes on, but not in a bad way. It sounds great and holds up surprisingly well for a skate rock LP, a genre that doesn't lend itself so well to the long playing format. These guys are far superior to some skate bands who are held in higher regard for whatever reasons (I'm looking at you Drunk Injuns and Los Olvidados...) I give this fucker a nine out of ten on the shred scale. The fact that this LP exists gives me hope that perhaps some of my other skate rock reissue dreams may come to light. How about a Beyond Possession retrospective? Boneless Ones reissue? Or a 7XLP box of all the Thrasher Skate Rock tapes, perhaps? Okay, how about just some McShred cuts on 7"? Please? Scums stats: 700 pressed, 200 on red vinyl, with insert. I've still never seen an OG copy of this record, so I'm not sure if this is an exact repro or if they added cuts/art or whatever. It's aces either way.(RK)
(Rabid Dog Records // myspace.com/barkhard)

Caspar "Messin' Around" 7"
Surprisingly, I like this quite a bit. Caspar Giles McCloud is joined on these two cuts by members of 10cc, and from his bio I see he went on to play John Lennon in Beatlemania! But don't hold that against him. Two really strong tunes here, sort of a glam/powerpop hybrid, and apparently this stuff is/was rare until this reissue (I'm not an expert on this genre at all, but that's what I hear...) Both cuts feature Caspar's sem-theatric vox and a lot of piano, that makes me think of Squeeze a little little bit, seemingly complex structures and quite English sounding. Very well produced as this stuff generally is. That's all I can really say. Not really wimpy, but very upbeat and likeable, tunes not so much about longing for chicks but about getting chicks. Maybe that's why I dig it. It doesn't have that aw-shucks, I'm-gonna-het-her-someday dopey feel. Caspar is a ladies man, and he knows it. Well done, and available at the nice price. (RK)
(Vinyl Countdown Records // www.vinylcountdownrecords.com)

Christ on Parade "Sounds of Bature" LP
Holy shit, let the skate rock revival begin! Now, I never specifically think of COP as specifically a skate rock band, they're more of a hardcore band to me, but they did appear on Thrasher Skate Rock Vol. 3 "Wild Riders of Boards", perhaps the best volume of the series. Their two cuts from that tape are included here, along with the "Isn't Life A Dream" 7" in its entirety on Side B, plus the whole first LP (originally on Pusmort) on the A-Side. YOu really can't go wrong here. I prefer the B-Side material, as I'm more familiar with it, but the LP tracks are cool too. Fast hardcore punk, heavy on the slow plodding verses and super-fast chorus style with some socially conscious lyrics striking out at ugly America. Later COP stuff went off in a Rudimentary Peni anarcho-punk style, but here they're still raging out regular style mid-Eighties moody CA HC here. Vox are well done (I think they switched singers between the LP and 7"), guitar playing is pretty hot, their mohawks are pretty sweet. Most COP was reissued on a CD some years ago, except this LP, so this is the first time it's been widely available since the OG days. Really nice package, insert/lyric sheet, and some crazy vinyl colors (mine's half clear/green splatter and half black). (RK)
(Prank Records // www.prankrecords.com)

Dandelion s/t LP
This is a really special reissue. Recorded in 5 days at a youth center in rural or suburban France (I can't find the locale anywhere..) in 1979 by Jean Christope Graf and his friends on a 2-track. Difficult to pin down musically, they don't sound like anyone else easily, but they live in the same world as the Television Personalities. Instead of the pop-culture mix-it-up of TP, Dandelion have a severely personal feel, veering into Skip Spence moments of "losing it." Put a Messthetics volume on at the same time as listening to Fairport Convention and you'll be getting toward Dandelion.
The vocals are vacuumed up into the atmosphere, somewhere on the edge of the tape, the guitar swirls with the same echo effect on every track, but somehow it never gets tiresome, all shaped by no-frills rudimentary-yet-complimentary drumming. A perfect psychedelic record for the DiY era, with no aggression whatsoever. It pummels you with a feathery pillow but your brain hurts anyway. Definately on my short list for best reissue of the first part of this year.(MS)
(Guerssen // www.guerssen.com)

Delia Derbyshire "Electrosonic" LP
If you read my review a buncha months ago about the Tomorrow People soundtrack, you'd know I'm a total nut for Delia Derbyshire. She was one of the main composers for the BBC Radio Workshop in the 60s/70s and helped pioneer electronic music. Yes, she performed the theme to "Dr. Who," which alone makes her one of the best soundtrack musicians ever.
Delia and other BBC musicians were stuck in their contracts and could not release recordings under their own monickers. While Pierre Henry and Morton Subotnick were making their own amazing brand of electronic noises under the same title, Delia was Li De La Russe, under which name she recorded this LP for KPM in 1972. KPM was at the forefront of Library Music recordings, although a budget label, their 1100 series have since become caluable collectable for their otherworldy sound. This was numbered 1104, dubbed "Electrosonic."
There's some totally amazing stuff on here. The thing blips and squeaks along relentlessly, somehow being jarring and settling at the same time. Although the novelty of electronic music is everpresent, Delia is always grounded as a tunesmith, melodies are in the forefront. "The Wizard's Laboratory" and "Depression" are as psychedelic as it gets, veering on psychotic. Any snippets of this are great interludes in the incredible mix CD-R I'll never get around to making.
This ltd. to 500 pink-vinyl reissue is an essential pickup for anyone into early electronic music, music concrete, or soundtrack exotica. A year earlier, Delia made an amazing record under the title "White Noise," that's another story though...(MS)
(Glo-Spot // www.forcedexposure.com)

4 Kaiserlein LP
Why am I reviewing so much German and European 80's stuff now? Because labels like Was Soll Das and Vinyl on Demand are reissue so much stuff so fast, it's hard to keep up! Plus, all of it is interesting, even the failures, which 4 Kaiserlein isn't.
These guys definately had a sense of humour. There's a spoken word intro in 4 languages. They're M.O. has all the ingredients of other German post-punk, healthy doses of synth and metallic percussion, but, there's a heavy sense of Old Europe here, too. I hear a lot of influence from 30's Torch music and Kurt Weill, really decadent stuff. There might even be some influence of circus-callliope music in there somewhere..but it is pop in the end.
It's a full band, and you hear it. If you took a bit of thrust and kerrrang outta Spider and the new French sounds, yer getting there. A fun listen, for sure and something you'd reinvestigate for "What the fuck was that?" purposes. Great drawing on the front, too! Edition of 500.(MS)
(Was Soll Das // www.wsdp.de)

Hessen, Ganz Gross 12"
Incredible primitive and aggressive electro-punk on this 6-song 12". Was this one guy? A band? This is all culled from their one and only cassette release in 1981. I can't find any info on my faithful internet, none in English anyway.
Anyhow, this thing is a masterpiece of it's genre from beginning to end. Mindbendingly bleak yet thick synth runs with desperate vocals. More-so than almost any 80's minimal synth stuff: this is the logical progression of Kraftwerk's minimalism into the aggressive rhythm of punk. The sleeve of this has a color combo that actually makes your eyes hurt. Yeah, it's scary. Limited to 500.(MS)
(Was Soll Das // www.wsdp.de)

Hubble Bubble s/t LP
The revolution will be downloaded! Every music nerd in the world has Soulseek (I am a music geek, and, thus, don't), and without that wonderful file-sharing site, many of us would be tune-deficient for sure. Two lost classics that have risen to the top of everyone's "must-own" heap are Ivy Green's debut and this sucker, Hubble Bubble, Belgian's finest export since waffles. Ask any halfway punk kid on the street who Hubble Bubble is and they will, surprisingly, probably be all, "Dude, I love that band!" which would have been unheard-of just a few years ago. Besides a couple cuts on Killed By Death #5, no one but hardcore collector scum knew about, or actually owned, this LP. So we all owe a big thanks to the Soulseek gods. Oh, and Mike Sniper! All you had to do was ask, so he did, and here we go: first legit Stateside press of this classic, and from the original masters, no less. Here in New York we're gonna throw a parade for ol' Prof. Snipes, so maybe you should come and shower him with gifts, like the Baby Jesus. If you've never heard this album: Amazing, bizarre, psychedelic (HB is a Shakespearean bong, dude) production featuring zipping zinging sounds flying from one speaker to the other, two vocalists who both sing in strange voices about strange things, often overlapping each other, two of the best covers ever ("San Francisco" and "I'm Not Like Everybody Else"), a bona-fide spazz classic ("Pogo Pogo" x2), drum machines augmenting Plastic Bertrand's awesome drumming, timeless hooky songs that spin you around and make you dizzy with glee. It's all it's cracked up to be and then some. No punk collection is complete without this album. (EEK)
(Radio Heartbeat // www.myspace.com/radioheartbeatnow)
(Daggerman // www.myspace.com/daggermanrecords)

Ich Bin "Obeis" LP
When you thought weird punk was fucked up enough, you obviously didn't expect this one. This is way beyond all that. This mysterious label ( which is responsible for the mighty PULP MUSIC reissue, and might release a Primitive Calculators record real soon ) had the balls to dig out what seems to be the holy grail of reatarded bands. The whole thing, total EBM minimal GORILLA AKTIV DAF creamed on its listener smells like it's filled with the most desperate shit ever and yet the funniest gay-ridden slurs, even if you don't speak the language...When you guys thought Metal Urbain were hard-to-beat frenchoid badasses, well that was almost thirty years ago. It's kinda pitiful how so many guys records sound like they are trying to act tough and retarded...Well at least they're funny by accident which is always a plus...Industrial tunes are always filled with some serious first degree shit but those dudes obviously dwell around the 103rd degree, hands down. These guys don't seem to like people and even more, they don't need your fucking sympathy. A concept band like Zeigenbock Kopf, but like ten years before... All sung in french, this is alll what it mostly deals with : daily routine, unemployment, alcohol issues ( getting godawful drunk to the point you start to leak your own alcohol-fueled diarrhea after you run out of booze ), casual starvation, kids dying from eating damaged goods from third world grocery stores, children organ stealing in amusement parks...yeah, obviously the world wasn't ready for Ich Bin back in the late eighties.
While those songs sounds like they've been recorded by some guy on the verge of killing himself, Danger is the dancefloor-smashing cut of this LP, like a sporadic bombing over the French Riviera. And as revenge bombings are pretty casual in the area, it seems this record is also a classic in the french Far East. Add to that an amazing art cover with the stupidest France war map ever with places like Tel Aviv, Waco, the Forbidden City, Acapulco, the Holy Mecca, Amityville, Palerma, the Valhalla, Auschwitz and Eurodisneyland, scattered in between zones like the Bronx River, the Benny Hill Fault, the Axis of Evil...altogether in the same country. The sleeve alone almost makes the record worth the buy. Do not grab this record or it may affect the rest of your short life and ruin the rest of your brillant carreer, you know, being this superasshole you secretly ever wanted to be. This is not intended for the weak of heart as it does content material which is inappropriate for people who are easily offended, shocked...Well you got the idea : this material will have you going places if you can handle it. Death to the Old Flesh !! And if these guys ever get caught, they'll deny everything, so you'll just end up with a blaring noise echoing in your brain...Scum stats : It was reissued a year ago and went OOP a few months ago, but by the time this will be online, Poutre Apparente will have repressed another 500 ( though some copies may have been held by french Government in order to monitor any potential suspicious activity). Go for your life. (KB)
(Poutre Apparente // poutreapparente.free.fr or just try SS)

Imperialist Pigs "Cork Screw Pork Sword" EP
The Pig Champion legend that always seemed most attractive to me was the story of his Fix “Vengeance” single. The way I’d heard it, he was so desperate to find the record for his collection that he took a road trip retracing the band’s tour itinerary hoping that they left behind a copy somewhere along the way. He got his record, at least in the version I’ve been told. Whether or not this coincided with the time when he was banging out tunes for The Imperialist Pigs is unknown to me, but he was certainly tapping into the same vein as the boys from Ann Arbor. In December 1980, the Imperialist Pigs recorded three songs—issued here for the first time—are atypically explosive for the era. Like a much more aggressive Ramones, these songs are full of down stroking on one or two chords, riffs so simple and dumb that only a genius could invent them. The vocalist is less inspired, spouting off what would become typical “fuck you” hardcore themes without any real presence (as opposed to, say, Jerry A). The demo tracks are backed by a short live cut with exceptional sound quality. “Cork Screw Punk Sword” stands alone as a great record, but also functions to place a starting point on the sound that Mr. Champion would hone in on over the next few years with Poison Idea.(DH)
(Fatal Erection Records // www.discouragerecords.com)

Los Iniciados "1981" 7"EP
Holy fuck. Creepy, pyschedelic DiY synth from Spain. Reissue/collector fads come and go, and although I (like many others) are caught up in the synth reissue mania that's occuring now, there's still going to be stuff that is just a no-brainer classic. This is one of those. You NEED this.
More an art project that a band, Los Iniciados were a spinoff of El Aviador Dro (apparently a synth punk band, which I now NEED to find) focusing on combining performance art and music. That sounds really, really pretentious and silly, but look at the result: HOLY SHIT, it's actually great!
Apparently, they changed members often, hence the masks. This EP is culled from cassettes (comps?) and is probably the only material available form this band. For all those caught up in the glue-wave and new onslaught of homemade music: I love that shit too, but you need to go back to the source sometimes. Ltd. to 500 copies.(MS)
(Minimal Wave // www.minimal-wave.org)

July s/t LP
YESS!!!! Not only were the two Kaleidoscope records reissued this month, but now I finally have a vinyl copy of July, an album I've cherished and coveted for as long as I've wanted those things. Truly mindbending, headswirling, fucked-up psych. So many records have amazing sleeves from '68 to '74 but a lot of them...ehh, not so good. This record SOUNDS exactly how it LOOKS! Now look at the cover! How can you not want it?!?!
"My Clown" and "Dandelion Seeds" have been on so many bad comps over the years, but they always prick up my ears whenever they come on. Haunting, jarring pop songs dripping with ooze. These guys were just kids when they made this shit, who fucked them up to the point where they could make this?
Sound quality is great, they opted for the mono mix, which is a-ok by me. It's a bootleg but at least it exists! A definite must-own for psych fans.(MS)
(Sweet Dandelion // www.forcedexposure.com)

Kaleidoscope "Tangerine Dream" LP
Kaleidoscope "Faintly Blowing" LP
I've been dreaming of these reissues for years. If you have only a passing interest in 60's UK Psychedelia and posessed only 10 or so examples of that stuff, both of these would belong there. They're both in the top 5 for me, right beside 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn', 'July' and 'S.F. Sorrow.'
Kaleidoscope were the Sidekicks, an R&B fueled mod band until everything got tweeked for everyone sometime in '66. Almost immediately upon the name change, they got swept up by Fontana and were in the recording studio. "Tangerine Dream" stems from these '67 sessions. This is young psychedelia stripped to essence, undiluted by the overproduction that occurs on a lot of the UK kitchen-sink jobs. "Dive Into Yesterday" is a perfect example. Loud, atonal guitar strums lead you to a cliff that the rhythm section pushes you over when it gets rolling. It's not psychedelic because there's a backwards tape-loop and some caterwauling horn, it's psychedelic because the SONG is written that way.
The whole record continues in this fashion, well-crafted songs freshly recorded with enthusiasm and not too much fuss. I used to think that Fontana slept on it, throwing it out to see if it stuck, but they actually promoted the hell out of the thing. John Peel played it all the time. No help. I guess when your record is released in one of the best years ever for popular music, these things happen.
Maybe the only negative thing I can say about "Tangerine Dream" is that it's inferior to their second effort, "Faintly Blowing." This is a monster. Whereas "Tangerine Dream" generally had a less-is-more (for psychedelia) minimalism, this 2nd LP is jumping with sounds. Maybe the most phased pop record I can think of. And all to devastating effect. The thing is HEAVY. Not with riffs, put with pounding, syrupy globs of color. No standout tracks, it's a front-to-back experience. If you need proof, the track "Music" from the LP is available for listening here, wear some goggles.
Tapestry reissues are definately mastered from CD's available legally and illegally from other labels. So, depending on the quality of the CD reissue they decide to master from, that's what you get. Luckily, these sound just fine.
I heard a rumor that Fontana, during a vinyl-shortage scare, melted down a large quantity of originals of both Kaleidoscope LP's to make T. Rex records. I love T. Rex, but that's a sad story to say the least. Originals now go upwards from $400-$800 for these guys, so the $27-$30 pricetag on these reissues are acceptable. Kaleidoscope turned into Fairfield Parlour in 1970, and you know what? That stuff is good, too!(MS)
(Tapestry // www.forcedexposure.com)

KeinMenscH! LP/CD
Top-notch German post-punk from 1981/1982 here. Other than the single tracks, this stuff is all unreleased, sitting in the vaults waiting for the right time. That's now I guess, since there's great labels like WSDP ready and willing to put it out and find distribution in the US.
KeinMenscH! is a perfect example of the continuation of German art-rock from the days of BOTH Amon Duuls and Can through to Neu!, Cluster and Faust into the punk era. What makes those krautrock records so much fun to listen to is heard here as well, playfulness and experimentation in production and approaches to instruments. Guitars go from a percussive intrument, then pan to the other channel and become the melodic thrust. All propelled by echoed drum machines and a slinky bassline. And yes, some horns, kazoos and whistles. Now we're talkin'.
Half the singing is male, the other half is female, just like the human population. There's so much going on, it's a shock how "open" this thing is. These guys should still be producing records. It's like ff you had a record where every song was the Talkingheads "Drugs" but sped up and taken off the grill before it was fully cooked, and I'd buy that it a second! (No, I'm not a a big Talkingheads fan, but I do like the song "Drugs.")(MS)
(Was Soll Das Platten // www.wsdp.de)

The Lollipop Shoppe "Just Colour" LP
So, this edition of 1,000 reissue LP's of this classic garage psych record disappeared in a matter of days. Before you rip your eyes out of your head, I have some news for you: This reissue sounds absolutely terrible.
I love this record, many people do. It has everything you could want out of an American 60's record, it's not loaded with covers, the playing is nice and raw and beyond that, it's the beginning of the Fred Cole story.
The Lollipop Shoppe were known as the Weeds until their manager insisted they cash-in with the bubblegum craze (1910 Fruitgum Co.) and changed their name for this Uni LP. "You Must Be A Witch" is classic teenage American psychotic rock n' roll that Fred revisited in his last batch of tours with Dead Moon, a brilliant track on a great record.
A great record that is totally sullied by this reissue. The source of the master here, if my guess is correct, is the same bootleg CD-R that's been floating around for 6-7 years, much of which was taken from an 80's Eva reissue. Nothing here is from the masters. If it is, it's the worst mastering job I've heard in a while. It's all mid-range, no high or low, just a terrible listening experience. I think I even hear the same digital "click" that appears on the CD-R. It's a real shame, because Tapestry's reissues of Mellow Candle, Pink Fairies, etc. sound great (probably because those are taken from good-sounding, official CD masters.) Tapestry also sprung for very thick, glossy board for the sleeve. Too bad the vinyl inside is nothing but a fascimile of a CD-R.
The main tragedy here, is that this release puts a blow to a good-sounding vinyl (or even CD) reissue at this point. There's 1,000 people holding this in there hands now, who spent 30 clams, I doubt they'll re-invest when a better sounding version comes out.(MS)
(Tapestry Records // www.forcedexposure.com)

The Marbles s/t LP
I had the frustrating pleasure of hearing this stuff years before, when I had the desire but no funds to reissue it. When Radio Heartbeat first got off the ground, we re-contacted Howard from the Marbles for just that reason. Whelp, the fine people (person) and Vinyl Countdown beat us to the punch, and good for them!
The Marbles (like the Speedies, Student Teachers and moremoremore.) are always mentioned as one of the great NYC bands that disappeared before they released an LP. They released 2 great singles but also recorded a bulk of unreleased material. Thankfully for a bunch of these bands, their music is seeing the light of day.
The Marbles were one of the earliest CB's bands, and developed a fanatic local following. They're sound was unique, definately powerpop-inflected, but sharing the quirkiness of NYC contemporaries Television and the early Talkingheads mixed with a fresh approach to the tight harmonies-and-guitars sound of the Byrds and The Beau Brummels. The band sported four top-notch songwriters who can sing well and play their ass off, if you need any proof, do check the YouTube footage that Howard Bowler put up of them playing "Red Lights" live in the studio.
Eric Li unfortunately passed away, so a reunion is unlikely, but at least we have this record to let us kids know what it was all about!(MS)
(Vinyl Countdown // www.vinylcountdownrecords.com)

The Misguided "Fuggets - 1981-1984" CD
It’s hard not to think of the big, tough bands that dominated CBGB and da streets when surveying the early New York City hardcore scene, but it’s important to remember the younger, less influential bands. The Misguided were one such buncha high-schoolers from Queens who lived in those margins from 1981-1984, releasing two EPs in that time. The records, included here as bonus tracks, are a decent period piece of New York Thrash—not in league with Urban Waste or Heart Attack but worth a listen now and then nonetheless. This CD offers a more complete retrospective than those releases do, including two demos from 1981 and one from 1984, as well as live tracks from shows throughout the years. The earliest demo is a rough two-track recording—muddy, high energy stuff belted out by novice musicians. These songs are good, but the next demo nails down the sound. In only a few months, the band is much tighter, much more aggressive, and this second demo would have made for a classic hardcore EP. None of these five songs comes close to 90 seconds (most are right around the minute mark) but they do not lose personality to that economy. I wish the CD included lyrics to “Blackout,” a song that so blatantly lifts from the Bad Brains that I suspect has some lyrical theme tied in to the musical swipe. The live material is high quality stuff that has some songs not on the demos including covers of the Beatles and Sham 69 (like a lot of first wave USHCers, the Oi influence is inescapable). The next phase of the CD reflects a band comfortable with their instruments and more ambitious with their songs; it’s less successful for what it is than the blazers are for their style. Mad At The World deserves a tip o’ the hat for pulling The Misguided out of the margins for one last encore; this is a fine retrospective of a band whose best material would have otherwise only been heard by the tape traders.(DH)
(Mad at the World // www.matwrecords.com)

Pink Fairies "Neverneverland" LP
Now, this is a headscratcher. How did the same reissue label that botched the Lollipop Shoppe do such an amazing job with this classic Pink Fairies record?
The Pink Fairies are like the losers of the supergroup boom. Starting as a drinking club which included the freakier guys of their respective bands (Mick Farren of the Deviants, Twink from The Pretty Things and Tomorrow, and Peregrin Took of T-Rex.) At some point someone decided they should practice and they evolved into a real band (with only Twink sticking around for any recording to occur). A real band with the expressed purpose of catering to motorcycle gangs and anarchist rallies. Never Neverland is the Fairie's first LP, originally released in 1971 on Polydor. Although the Fairies can write a nice melodic song, they're most know for the heavy psychedelic apocalypse-rock that they shared with contemporaries like Hawkwind and the Deviants (who shared quite a few members with the Fairies in the early 70's.)
"Do It" is a total classic-upon-first-hearing kinda song, definately warranted of it's frequent label "proto-punk." But, that's just the beginning of festivities, as the record is full of great songs like the riff-heavy "Say You Love Me" and the spaced-out "Wargirl." You also have to love a band who call the first song on the second side "Track One Side Two." It's no longer a surprise one of these guys would participate in the punk boom of '77, when Twink started The Rings (of "I Wanna Be Free" fame..).
So, Tapestry went ALL-OUT with this reissue. The original came in a plastic jacket with artwork, almost never still included in original copies if you can track one down. This reissue has that, as well as a faithful, thick and glossy representation of the original gatefold. And, whodathunkit, it sounds great and it's about 15 bucks less than a Shadoks reissue. Ltd. Ed. of 1,000.(MS)
(Tapestry // www.forcedexposure.com)

Primitive Calculators "Glitter Kids" 7"
The Prim Calcs (I just made up that annoying abbrev.) were dystopian punk rockers from Down Under who pioneered a Stooges-meets-Suicide attack back in the late '70s. This 7" has three songs "recorded live at the champion hotel, fitzroy, 1979" and is worth your money if you've got a soft spot (or hard-on) for this band. At the beginning of "Signals," we are told, "This next song is really just...a drone," and they ain't kiddin. But it's a mean, queasy drone with anti-social screaming over top, just the way we like it. This stuff has just as much in common with fellow Aussies SPK's early work or even Red Transistor, but a little more stripped-down and "punkier." Scum stats: 400 on clear vinyl.(EEK)
(Meeuw Muzak // www.meeuw.net)

PSA "Sulla Nostra Pelle" LP
I need to alert myself more to the 80's Italian scene, becuase if any of it is as good as this, I need to track it all down. 28 tracks, all recorded in Sardinia in 1982. Echoed-out, garbage can production with the bass super-plucky and way in the front, and it's workin'. It's definately hardcore, but it plods along with such fun and range of tempo that it'd appeal to most KBDerfs.
So, PSA stands for "Punks Stand Against" and normally I hate that MRR-styled immature rhetoric, but it just makes it more quaint, to me. Is there a lot to stand up against on an idyllic mediterranean island? I dunno, maybe, this sounds great, though! Apparently, these guys never even had out a 7". Too bad! Pick this up. pretty affordable for a European issue.(MS)
(Rockin Bones // www.rockinbones.it)

Scruffs "Wanna Meet the Scruffs" LP
This record breaks my heart. From the opening "Darling, love is a lost cause" of "Break the Ice" in which Stephen Burns growls the word "darling" as if an estrangement from a former lover has driven him to the brink of suicide, to the melancholic lullaby "Bedtime Stories" which closes with the wistful refrain "sleep tight, keep tight tonight" Wanna Meet the Scruffs pulls at my heartstrings with the deft of a puppeteer toying with a marionette. There is an element of tragedy running throughout this album (as song titles like "Sad Cafe," "Tragedy" and most pointedly, "I'm a Failure" attest to) but it's merely one of many moods evoked by Stephen Burn's superlative songwriting and the Scruffs' irreproachable musicianship. Make no mistake about it; Wanna Meet the Scruffs is a blast to listen to. There are performances on here that rival the most anthemic moments of the Raspberries and Blue Ash, but like their hometown forbearers Big Star an undercurrent of ennui is never far from even the exuberance of "I've Got a Way" and "She Say Yeah" (a classic "baby, can we finally go all the way" tune in the mold the Raspberries perfected). This is the kind of raw emotion that can either devolve into self-pitying pap or rise to the loftiest heights attainable by pop music. What keeps the Scruffs firmly implanted in the latter camp is a singular talent that only manifests itself on rare occasions. This focusing of intense emotion into pop perfection has been realized by a select few: the Modern Lovers early recordings spring to mind immediately as does Big Star's entire oeuvre. Like those records, Wanna Meet the Scruffs took its rightful place among my favorite albums after hearing it only a few times. At first I wondered why it seemed like I had heard these songs before, but after listening to and thinking about this record for awhile it became clear to me: I've been feeling the way this record sounds for much of my life. Turning sorrow into fun through a trick of pop alchemy is a big reason I was drawn to music in the first place, as I imagine (based upon the evidence bursting from these grooves) was Stephen Burns. Wanna Meet the Scruffs is a testament to the beauty of life lying pregnant even in the depths of despair. It's also one of the best rock'n'roll albums I've ever heard.(SB)
(Rev Ola/Cherry Red // www.cherryred.co.uk)

Sluik "Back to Burnsley" 7"
Ron Sluik is a Dutch-born photographer of some renown. In the early 80's he was also a performance artist and did some great one-man recordings. This 7" culls together tracks from 1981. Apparently John Peel gave it heavy airplay but it never came out, I suppose it was a cassette demo. This is a great little EP, upbeat drum machines, jagged guitars and blown-out vocals, recommended for post-punk fans of all shapes and sizes (mostly rectangular?)(MS)
(Minimal Wave // www.minimal-wave.org)

Speedies "Speedy Delivery" LP/CD
I must confess to being completely ignorant of the Speedies before a few months ago, with the exception of the video clip for "Let Me Take Your Photo" which I stumbled upon thanks to a recommendation from a friend. When I first heard it I immediately thought of the A's; it's got the same palpable sense of enthusiasm and overall goofy charm that made me such a fan of that first A's record. This LP makes a case for the Speedies being more than just another powerpop group that lucked out with one great tune before descending into a career as goth goofballs (here's looking at you New Math) or having their lone other recorded moment marred by a producer who stuck his nose where it didn't belong (The b-side of the Autographs "While I'm Still Young" comes to mind). There are a number of tunes on here that are every bit as anthemic and memorable as "Let Me Take You Photo", with the "You Need Pop" and "No Substitute" standing out as the cream. This is one fans of powerpop or catchy rock n roll in general need to own. Great debut for what looks to be my new favorite reissue label.(SB)
(Radio Heartbeat // www.radioheartbeat.net)

Tomorrow s/t LP
Everyone's jumping on the bootleg-the-classic-UK-psych bandwagon, and while I'd rather it be done legitmately, I'm still super happy to have these essential records at a reasonable cost. Of all the recent "grey area" reissues, this one is a prime contender for the expensive-for-no-reason championship. We know they paid the owner of the rights zero dollars, and the sleeve is just a black silkscreen. How that adds up to $27-$30 retail I won't know, but it's a $100 cheaper than finding an original, so there you have it I suppose. Make'em pay 'cuz they will.
This is a very classic example of what's great about UK Psych from '66-'70. The appearance of Twink (pre-Pink Fairies/The Rings) assures for musical quality, always, of course. Pretty madatory record (in whatever format you choose) for psych fans.(MS)
(no label // bootleg)

The Tragics "Mommi I’m a Misfit" 7”
This is a nicely done reissue of one of the earliest punk discs from Upstate New York (east side of the state, at least...western NY seems to have had a thriving scene for years before the east managed a record). Albany is three hours away from, and as many years behind, New York City, or so it seems was the case in 1981. When the city kids were revving up and the scene was starting to go hardcore, The Tragics were chugging along with a distinctly ‘70s style, playing under the name The Misfits, presumably unaware of the boys from Lodi. Soon after the release of this record, these Misfits became the Tragics and stickered the new name over the old on many copies of their record. The four songs here are fuzz-guitar thug punk; the female vocals remind me a bit of VKTMS’. “Laughing Lover” is the highlight and most straight-forward punk song; some of the others dip too far into rock territory with out of place and unappealing solos. This is not a mandatory purchase, but for $5.50 it’s a fun period piece with one ripper on it.(DH)
(Loud Proud Punk Rock // myspace.com/loudpunks )

V/A "Broken Flag" 5LP Box
Gary Mundy of Ramleh ran the cassette-only Broken Flag Label from the early-mid eighties. An important historical document in the history of noise and experimental industrial, with Vortex Campaign, Consumer Electronics, New Blockaders, Sutcliffe Jugend and many more. Beautiful packaging, with a nice book.
Here's the catch... you have to listen to 5 LP's of this:

"WERHHHHHHHHRAWWWWWWW-EEEEEEEEEAAARRRRRR."

To NOT have a nightmare or at least some bizarre, inexplicable desire to do some not-so-great things is not easy afterwards. This is coming from someone who owns Whitehouse, Factrix and German Shepherds records, I don't just listen to "A Love Supreme" and Nick Drake all day.
There's some seriously engaging stuff on here, and I certainly don't mean to sum it up like that, each of these artists have a different approach and unique sound, but still....there's a whole side from a band called Male Rape Group......MALE RAPE GROUP...the band is named Male Rape Group.
I swear to god this is a positive review, I am glad I got it, it's just that now there's this imposing box in my collection, the aural equivelent to watching the Russian Roulette scene from Deer Hunter for 100 minutes. You flip a full LP side 10 times!!!! And there's a band called Male Rape Group on there!!(MS)
(Vinyl On Demand // www.vinyl-on-demand.com)

We The People "In The Past" LP
If you had to make a list of teenage garage bands from the 60's who never got to make an LP but should have, We The People has got to be in the the running for #1. There's lots of bands who made amazing singles then, but few had the chops to do a killer LP. Even the first LP by the mighty Music Machine is brought down a notch by some not-so-hot covers. We The People, a bunch of teenagers from Florida, were clearly capable of putting together a monster.
They had 2 great songwriters, Tommy Talton and Wayne Proctor, churning out stunners like "My Brother the Man" and "Mirror of Your Mind" fuzzed-out and demented, but also full of innovation. Their early, aggressive stuff is what I most like on this release, which spans the group's career from 1966-1968, but they have some nice pop-psych numbers a-la the Hollies to flesh it out as well. Not to mention the (superior) original version of "In The Past," later recorded by the Chocolate Watch Band (MK2).
I love We The People, and Wohn's nice enough to stick it all on wax for me, gee, thanks guys!(MS)
(Wohn // www.forcedexposure.com)


SCORPIO'S MAINSTREAM PSYCH REISSUES ROUND-UP WITH PROF. SNIPER

Most records on Mainstream are not very rare. The label is still more widely known as a label that reissued 20 year old jazz and blues material by the likes of Zoot Sims and Billie Holiday in the 60's. While they're rock catalog had some hits (Amboy Dukes and the pre-Janis Big Brother and the Holding Co.) For the most part, their rock acts commercially failed. A lot of this has led up to some serious hype and value for some records that deserve it and some that don't.

Mainstream was a NY label, but culled bands from all over the country, seeming to put it all out there and see what stuck. There is a certain rawness to the sound of the label, very limited overdubs and orchestration is seldom if ever used. This down-to-basics approach was probably more out of tight-walleted economics more than an aesthetic taste in recording (one look at any of the awful stock back-sleeve illustration of a lone mic and stand is enough to have a headache).

Scorpio is nice enough to make these $100+ items available for $12-$15, cheap enough to decide for yourself if psych collectors have had it right or wrong about this label for the past 20 years. Maybe next time the first Josefus will be out???

Ellie Pop s/t LP
This record constantly gets called "Beatlesque," but there's nothing more or less Beatles-y about this record than the majority of 60's US Psych-Pop records. It's closest relative would maybe be the Merry Go Round LP, which this record is nowhere near in quality, but it still has enough charm to win over any fan of that record. There's virtually nothing known about the band. The songs are all written by two brothers (The Dunns), presumably in the band, who appear to be a quartet, and that's about all we know. A quality 60's pop record, not a mindblower at all but there's enough good about it to make it a worthwhile purchase if you're into '66-era Hollies, Emmit Rhodes or the first Left Banke record, but you won't listen to this nearly as much as any of those.(MS)
(Scorpio // www.scorpio-records.com)

Superfine Dandelion s/t LP
This record gets me from the start. The sleeve is completely ridiculous, the name of the band is completely ridiculous, but it's all in a good way for me. This record is the '66-68 West Coast sound planted in Phoenix, Arizona. Raw psychedelia mized with a lot of folk-rock and cosmic country the Byrds and Beau Brummels were staring to perfect. I love this kind of stuff. "Strip everything down to it's essential parts and play" is the usual ethos when it comes to garage and punk, but it's somewhat rare with non-overdriven guitar r'n'r, you get it on the 1st Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield "S/T" and definately on this record. Is it either of those records? No. There's no Neil Young or Skip Spence genius songwriter in the Superfine Dandelion, but there's not many of those anywhere. The charms come slowly, no backwards guitar, no "facemelters," but plenty of appeal. The lead off-key riff in "People In The Street" and "The Other Sidewalk" (best track on the album) is ripe for "influencing" someone out there.(MS)
(Scorpio)

Tangerine Zoo s/t LP
This record doesn't really do it for me. It sits somewhere between the gimmickry of Ultimate Spinach and the boringly bluesy riffs of Cream. Once you're in those zones, it's tough to escape. One solid slice of ethereal psych in "Crystalescent Heaven" but otherwise it's tough for me to get it. The sugar isn't sweet enough and the heavy isn't heavy enough.The Ss/t LP by Colours is $100 less and 100 times better than this.(MS)
(Scorpio)

The Tiffany Shade s/t LP
Another cool example of raw psychedelia, studio-brewed the Mainstream way. Concise songs with breezy harmonies, lots of minor-keys being thrown around a with no "blistering" solos but plenty of nice, subtle changes. Of the records in this batch, Tiffany Shade definately has the best singer in Michael Barnes, who sounds like a subdued version of Roky Erickson. Unfortunately, he only sometimes sings in that unhinged style, it would have elevated the whole LP to mandatory if he sang all the tracks like that. Come on, Mike... The guitar and keyboards make me think of Kak and some of the better stuff by Brain Police or Tripsichord. "A Very Grand Love" even sounds like the 1st Mandrake Memorial record, which is always cool. I hate to say it, but their version of "Softly To Me" might trump Love's version (sorry?). The only drawback of this record is the quality level drops from side one to side two, not steeply, but enough to lose a little steam.(MS)
(Scorpio)


BONUS REGGAE SECTION!

Prince Mohammed "Inna Him Head" LP
Well, anything recorded with the twin production/mixing talents of Errol Thompson and Joe Gibbs in 1979 is going to be a worthwhile experience, for sure. "The Mighty Two" are coming off a fresh string of amazing records, including Culture's "Twin Sevens Clash." one of the best vocal reggae records of all-time. This is Prince Mohammed's 2nd full length under their guidance, and it's essentially a DJ record, though he has the same sense of melody as Dillinger that separates him from a huge pack of also-rans.
"Money Man a Gal Want" is a sentiment I think any member of the plug-side of the sexes has felt, and Prince Mohammed stirs up some memories we all have on the thought. "Harbor View Rock" and "Step Out Babylon" are headier and equally effective. He breaks the DJ repetition from time to time to break into song, and it's all the better for it.
As with many DJ records, the backing band is the star here, though, and they're culled from the Professionals and Revolutionaries, some of the greatest bands anywhere in any genre of music for their time. The playing is impeccable and the production inventive. Cool record that I'd never know about if it wasn't reissued last month. And the cover art! How amazing is that shit?(MS)
(Joe Gibbs // www.joegibbseurope.com)

The Simeons "Dub Conference in London" CD/LP
Jeez, the British knew how to dub. Jah Shaka is a total madman. The Simeons I had never heard before this reissue, pretty stunning stuff. Produced by the great Lloyd Charmers and originally released in 1978, this is not production dub, rather it's played live by the band. Expertly played, I should say as the rhythm section of Ewan and Paul Robinson is pretty otherworldy.
The record has a futuristic quality that would later be perfected by producers like Scientist and Mad Professor. It's filled with synth spasms and is as echoed-the-fuck-out as you would expect. But it's got a ton of melody too, not always a strong point of a good dub record. A great listening experience completely worthy of your purchase.(MS)
(Freedom Sounds // www.freedomsounds.de)

V/A "Am I Black Enough For You?" 2LP
Interesting enough concept for a Roots reggae compilation; 21 tracks of militant and "conscious" lyrics regarding racism. While there's some great tracks on here (Ken Boothe's interpretation of Syl Johnson's classic "Is It Because I'm Black?" is a standout), this collection has some fatal flaws.
It seems the compiler is somewhat lazy in his/her selections. Most of the songs have the word "Black" in the title, almost as if they were arbitrarily chosen for only that reason over a peripheral scan of some great reggae names' oeuvres. The ten-year scope (1970-1979) of this compilation doesn't really help either, although a similiar timeframe is used in other comps to great success (the essential Soul Jazz "Studio One Roots" comps come to mind), in this case the sound just jumps aroundd in time too much.
Despite the fact that this compilation features some of the greatest producers in Jamaican music history (Derrick Harriott, Joe Gibbs, Lee Perry), most of the material here is too derivative of the stateside funk of James Brown and the soul-melodicism of Curtis Mayfield, not showcasing what made people like Gibbs and Perry pioneers.
The poor, poor mastering, no doubt lifted directly from budget CD's, doesnt help. And the volume goes all over the place! Reggae and Dub are definately vinyl experiences, lending themself really well to lows and highs you only get from a record needle, but I don't see the point in replicating a CD on to vinyl. An unfortunate mis-step for Earmark, who normally have great sounding LP's.
The only positives are the inclusion of somewhat elusive Tapper Zukie and Linval Thompson cuts, but they don't ease the pain too much.
(Earmark // www.forcedexposure.com)

To find any of these releases we recommed:
www.forcedexposure.com
www.fustetronsounds.com
www.academy-records.com
and we highly endorse www.ebreggae.com for all your reggae needs!

To read past reviews go here.


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