Tags: Biz Markie, Bizarros, Bulldozer Crash, David Kilgour, Francis Bebey, Green Pajamas, Hollins and Starr, Lee Hazlewood, Light Sounds Dark, Secret Stash, Strange Idols, The Clean, The Cleaners From Venus, The Great Unwashed, The Rainyard, The Sugargliders, Tronics, Wendy Rene
Before we close the door on 2012, There is one more list of records I have to get off of my chest. The reissue category is fast becoming my favorite list to make. For some reason it ends up being more eclectic and thus more interesting to me than my list of albums and singles. I hope you find something here to spice up your record collection.
1. Twin Cities Funk & Soul (Secret Stash)
This lightening hot compilation from the Minneapolis / St. Paul scene of the 60’s and 70’s will make you sweat. There are so many great songs on it that you will wonder why Motown never started a sister label in Minnesota.
Mojo and His Chi 4 – She’s A Whole Lotsa Woman:
2. The Green Pajamas – Summer of Lust (Green Monkey)
I’ve been wanting to hear Seattle’s Green Pajama’s debut album forever. It was initially released on cassette back in 1984 and impossible to find nearly 30 years later. It finally got a reissue this year on CD and is a treasure trove of paisley pop. The Green Pajamas are one of Seattle’s great unsung bands and Summer of Lust is all the proof you should need.
Green Pajamas – Mike Brown:
3. Francis Bebey – African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (Born Bad)
This record could be the missing link between Stereolab and African pop. Cameroon artist Francis Bebey’s compositions are a total eye-opener and relief from the flooded market of African psych and funk compilations that seem to come out on a weekly basis.
Francis Bebey – Wuma Te:
4. Tronics – Love Backed By Force (What’s Your Rupture?)
I had never heard of Tronics, but anything coming out on What’s Your Rupture is worth my money. Love Backed By Force apparently came out in 1981 and was the creation a guy from London who called himself Zero Baby. It sounds like he probably hung out with Young Marble Giants and Television Personalities listening to Ramones records.
Tronics – TV On In Bed:
5. The Diabolical Biz Markie – The Biz Never Sleeps (Cold Chillin’)
Debut album Goin’ Off is the Biz’s best record, but that reissue got totally hosed up substituting original tracks with new mixes. Sacriledge! The Biz gets it right with the reissue of his second album. The Biz Never Sleeps has a sense of humor which went against the rap grain of the time, but he also knew a good beat and melody to keep everything sounding fresh.
Biz Markie – Spring Again
6. Danger Electrified Tracks (Light Sounds Dark)
Compiled exclusively from lost cassette releases, Danger Electrified Tracks is a set of synth based dance tracks that should have, at the very least ,been released as 12″ records. At least now this forgotten brilliance is on vinyl!
Onyx – Robot World:
7. Strange Idols – Idolatry (Cloudberry Cake Kitchen)
This London band was active 2004 and 2007 releasing three singles and a Japanese EP. The epitome of obscurity. Idolatry seeks to rectify that compiling everything the band recorded in one place. Listening to this compilation will have you scratching your head wondering how these songs were not championed by pop lovers everywhere. Very accomplished pop for a band that never ‘made it’.
Strange Idols – It’s No Fun:
8. Bizarros Complete Collection 1976-1980 (Windian)
The artifacts from northeast Ohio keep slipping out of dusty attics. A few years ago the Cleveland’s Mirrors got a reissue and now Akron’s Bizarros get the double vinyl treatment. Sure you’ve heard of Devo, Pere Ubu and Rocket from the Tombs but there’s more from Ohio and Bizarros are good place to continue with their heavy Velvets influence.
Bizarros – Lady Doubonette:
9. Bulldozer Crash – Today Will Be Yesterday Soon (Jigsaw)
Bulldozer Crash could have been on Sarah Records, but fate made them even more obscure than that. Thank god for Seattle’s Jigsaw records for putting out this compilation of impossible to find indiepop bliss.
Bulldozer Crash – Today Will Be Yesterday So Soon:
10. Lee Hazlewood – The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes & Backsides (1966-71) (Light In the Attic)
11. A House Safe For Tigers (Light In the Attic)
12. You Turned My Head Around: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1967-1970 (Light In the Attic)
Which Lee Hazlewood reissue on Light In the Attic to pick for this list? Easy, all of them. For the neophyte go with the LHI Years, it’s a great introduction. For the seasoned go with A House Safe For Tigers, it has some real jems and trademark Hazlewood peculiarities. For the obsessive go with the 7-inch box set You Turned My Head Around. You not only get Hazlewood but bands and artists hand picked by the man himself for his label.
Lee Hazlewod – No Train To Stockholm:
Lee Hazlewood – A House Safe For Tigers:
Ann Margret – You Turned My Head Around:
This year was a bonanza of Clean-related reissues on vinyl. You will probably hear a lot more in 2013 about the brilliance of Flying Nun now that Captured Tracks has teamed up with the New Zealand label for a cadre of reissues. These three probably wouldn’t be considered the cream of the label, but for obsessives like myself they were vital.
The Clean – Odditty:
The Great Unwashed – Toad stool Blues:
David Kilgour – Spasm
16. Cleaners From Venus box set (Captured Tracks)
This box set of three Cleaners From Venus albums was the mother load for Cleaners fans. Three of the band’s albums that were only ever released on cassette, had been pretty hard to come by. Funny thing was, in all their lo-fi pop brilliance Blow Away Your Troubles, On Any Normal Monday, and Midnight Cleaners aren’t even considered to be their best albums.
Cleaners From Venus – Factory Boy:
Cleaners From Venus – I Can’t Stop Holding:
Cleaners From Venus – Swinging London:
17. Hollins and Starr – Sidewalks Talking (Lion)
This is the only record Hollins and Starr ever released. It came out in 1970 and it’s kind of hit and miss, but when it hits on all of it’s eclectic folk pop pressure points it’s a musical massage that’ll make you melt.
Hollins And Starr – Talking To Myself:
18. The Rainyard – A Thousand Days (Self-released)
The Rainyard were from Perth, Australia. They released an EP and a single in the late 80’s and then a few more tracks were scattered on compilations. Finally, the band took it upon themselves to accumulate all of their songs and self-release it as A Thousand Days. Every one of these songs is a jangle fueled paisley pop injection of bliss.
The Rainyard – Your Way Mr Leary:
19. Wendy Rene – After Laughter Comes Tears (Light In the Attic)
Up until this release Wendy Rene had been a footnote in the lengthy and illustrious Stax Records history. She had some resurgence of interest in her when the Wu Tang Clan sampled After Laughter (Comes Tears), but now thanks to Light In the Attic we get this amazing compilation that fully illustrates her talents.
Wendy Rene – Gone For Good:
20. Sugargliders – A Nest With a View (Matinée)
We’re All Trying To Get There was the name of the out of print and incomplete Sarah compilation was the closest anyone had to a Sugargliders album. Thanks to this compilation the next generation pop kids can now easily one of Melbourne, Australia’s better kept secretes all over again.
Sugargliders – Trumpet Play:
Tags: Allo Darlin', Art Museums, Bart and Friends, Blouse, Brain Idea, Capitol Hill Block Party, Captured Tracks, Castle Face Records, Deadbeat Beat, Felt, Fine Arts Showcase, Geoffrey O'Connor, Green Pajamas, Gustaf Kjellvander, Hausu, Lost and Lonesome, Medical Records, Monnone Alone, Pizzafest, Slumberland, Swimsuit, The Servants, Tiny Microphone
I have been amassing a ton information that has come to the tipping point where I have to let it out. Some of this may have been tweeted, but who remembers anything they read on Twitter? You possibly have heard half of it, but then maybe you haven’t. Here’s the mid-summer digest of the finest kiss music news.
Allo Darlin’ set to release new single
Last week Allo Darlin’ announced the release of a brand new single due in August. You can hear it and pre-order it over at their bandcamp. It’s a picture disc and contains one song about former Hefner frontman Darren Hayman and one song about the Wu Tang Clan which is a cover of another Hayman band the French. How’s that for confusing?
Art Museums Break Up
After a short but fruitful run San Francisco’s Art Museums have said their splitting up. According to their Facebook page, they just couldn’t handle it anymore. They had recently released two 7 inch singles one on Slumberland and another on Yakamashi. I don’t know about you, but I could have handled a few more records from them. So long Art Museums. See you in the funny papers.
Portland band Blouse played the Crocodile
I stopped by the Crocodile the other night to see Blouse. So far the Portland new wavers have released singles on Captured Tracks and Sub Pop with an album due this fall on CT. Their singer was totally going for the 80’s vibe with her poofy feathered hair and white pleated slacks. Their short set (25 minutes) much better than their fashion sense, playing light airy sounds accented with muscular Cure-like bass lines.
Chicago band has a Brain Idea, Sound Like the Clean, Name Their EP after CCR
I’m kind of possessed this week by the new EP from Brain Idea on Mexican Summer. It’s part Clean, part Kraut, of course the Clean always have had a Kraut element to their sound so maybe it’s all Clean. Whatever, it’s good. I just ordered their first album that came out on Permanent last year.
It Was Only a Matter of Time: Flexis Are Back
Castle Face the San Francisco label part-run by Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer have just unleashed a book of flexis. Bare Wires, Blasted Canyons, Thee Ohs Sees, The Fresh & Onlys and Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin each contribute a song spread across Five 7 inch flexis discs. It comes packaged in a ringed notebook and it ain’t cheap at $30. I thought flexies were supposed to be cheap. They use to come stapled inside of magazines and sounded like crap on your turntable. I’m assuming the quality of these is slightly better.
Detroit Deadbeat Beat
Felt: Gone But Not Yet Forgotten
Felt have been defunct for 22 years now, but way down in the depths of the internet they never went away. A couple years ago the San Francisco band Girls interviewed Lawrence for Magicrpm and just recently the Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess was interviewed over at The Quietus about them. I didn’t know that Burgess was such a superfan. He drops a few debatable nuggets like the idea that She Lives By The Castle was written about St. Etienne‘s Sarah Cracknell. If you are a Felt superfan you probably already know about the book written by JC Brouchard called Felt : Ballad of the Fan.
Fine Arts Showcase’s Gustaf Kjellvander Dies
Sad news from Sweden a few weeks ago, when Gustaf Kjellvander died unexpectedly in his sleep. He was only 31 years old. Kjellvander lived in Seattle until he was 15 when his family moved back to Sweden. He made some great albums as the Fine Arts Showcase. My two favorites were Radiola and his Rough Bunnies covers album Sings Rough Bunnies.
Green Pajamas Go To Green Pajama Country
Seattle’s Green Pajamas are back with album number…I lost count. No matter, this time they claim to have gone country. The first song from the record, Pass Me Another Whiskey doesn’t sound particularly country. It just sounds good.
Hausu Continue the Northwest’s Flirtation With British New Wave
Led by former Seattleite and underage organizer Ben Funkhouser and his Edwyn Collins-esque croon, Portland band Hausu‘s ringing guitars and smart sound bring to mind Collin’s former band. They also claim to be influenced by Bruce Springsteen, but what red-blooded Amercian isn’t (whether you want to be or not)?
Australian Record Label Presents Two New Records From Two Old-Timers
Lost and Lonesome has just put out two records, one by former Lucksmith Mark Monnone who is going by the moniker Monnone Alone called Pink Earrings. Not surprisingly it sounds kinda like the Lucksmiths, expect Monnnone sings. While you’re checking that out, be sure to consider the latest from Bart and Friends. Bart Cummings of Cat’s Miaow and the Shapiros ended his long silence last year with Make You Blush is back again with a 10 inch EP called Stories With the Endings Changed.
Get Your Medical Records
Much has been written about Medical Records here in Seattle, but I’m not sure if the word has gotten out beyond Seattle and in the know circles of “classic synth, cosmic disco, wave (cold/new), and future music” aficionados. So far, the Seattle label specializing in reissuing nearly forgotten synth records, has released eight albums by Guyer’s Connection, OGI, Der Plan, Chrisma, Deutsche Wertarbeit, and Alexander Robotnick. All the records are limited to around 500 copies, and come in some very pretty shades of vinyl. Many are already sold out so head on over, have a listen and see what’s left.
Geoffrey O’Connor Comes Out of the Crayon Fields
Crayon Fields frontman Geoffrey O’Connor takes a break from his band to cut loose and get icy cold and synthy. The first song is a study in cool, suave and sophisticated. Can’t wait to hear the whole album. It’s called Vanity Is Forever and is out in September.
Fests and Parties
The Capitol Hill Block Party is this weekend in Seattle. It’s three days beginning this Friday. I’m heading up on Friday for sure, and may go Saturday (the afore mentioned Hausu play Saturday) as well depending on my ability to tolerate large festivals. A festival more my size is the third annual Pizza Fest which takes place Funhouse August 4-6. The line-up is pretty sweet if you’re into garage, punk and fun. Not sure if they’re having a pizza eating contest like last year, but I’m sure you’ll be able to get a slice along with a Rainier and some ringing ears.
Servants Are Served Up Again
Captured Tracks has a pretty relentless release schedule so keeping up can be a chore. Glad to see the label doing god’s work in releasing long lost gems from years ago in addition to the many new bands they release. The Servants ran with the C-86 crowd and actually were on that now legendary cassette. The band’s Cherry Red compilation has been long out of print, so Captured Tracks has picked up the slack and just released a record that collects the majority of their recorded output. It’s called Youth Club Disco.
Get Your Swimsuit
Michigan’s Swimsuit have just released their debut album. Besides having my favorite cover of any record this year, it contains some pretty good songs as well. Yeah, reverb heavy surf inspired music is kinda played out, but give them a break, you can only surf on a great lake if there’s a big storm.
Tiny Microphone Finally Gets a Non-Cassette Release. Still Wait For Vinyl
You may remember Tiny Microphone from a few years ago when we did the One Last Kiss redo. Tiny Microphone is Kristine Capua (also of Very Truly Yours). Tiny Microphone are like twee-shoegaze and I mean that in the best way. Up until now you could only get her Home album on cassette from Italian label Best Kept Secret, but now Japanese label Happy Prince has released it on CD. Expect a vinyl version to come along in another three years…
Tags: Green Pajamas
The reclusive Green Pajamas have a couple upcoming gigs, one in Portland and one in Seattle this weekend. The long-time Seattle band are masters of the psychedelic tempest in a teacup otherwise known as plain old psych rock, or for you 80’s o’philes the paisley underground. The band only ever play one or two 2 gigs per year so these back to back dates could be construed as a full blown tour. They may be agoraphobic when it comes to playing live, but when it comes to putting out records they turn into in your face extroverts. The band have been Seattle wallflowers dating back to 1984 and have put out more than 20 albums not including Jeff Kelley solo records. That’s nearly an album a year for a quarter of a century. Longevity appears to be in the pajamas (sorry). It’s kind of crazy to think about the number of albums they’ve put out, and it’s more than a little overwhelming to a newcomer.
So where do you start with a band that have so many records to choose from? Some of my favorites are the albums that they put out in the late 90’s. All Clues Lead to Megan’s Bed, Seven fathoms Down And Falling from that period and the reissue of their early album Ghost of Love are all worth hearing. Another way to go is the compilation route, Indian Summer collects their early hard to find singles, while Through Glass Colored Roses focuses more on late period Pajamas. Getting both of the comps gives a pretty good overview of their career and you can dive in from there.
Live, they play songs from way back. The last time I saw them they played one of their first singles, the almost famous Kim the Waitress, which was later made famous by Material Issue. It’s not all old stuff, though, the band have been consistently releasing records on Hidden Agenda for the past six years. Their latest record Poison In the Russian Room came out earlier this year. It continues the psychedelic rock that these paisley undergrounders have been doing for so long. Overall it’s little more mellow in feel, but there are a few upbeat songs on it to keep you on your toes.
Another way to introduce yourself or reaquaint yourself with a band like the Green Pajamas who’s longevity is evidenced by their huge discography is by going to their gig. They’ll be down in Portland Friday at Kelly’s Olympian and then here in Seattle on Saturday at the Lo-Fi. Just in case you’re on the fence, here are a few mp3’s to get you going.
Dec 4 – Green Pajamas w/boatclub @ Kelly’s Olympian in Portland
Dec 5 – Green Pajamas w/boatclub @ The Lo-Fi in Seattle
mp3: Green Pajamas – Any Way the Wind Blows (from Poison In the Russian Room)
mp3: Green Pajamas – Walking In the Rain (from Ghosts of Love)
mp3: Green Pajamas – Streets Of London (from Indian Winter)
mp3: Green Pajamas – Rattlesnake Kiss (from All Clues Lead to Megan’s Bed)
mp3: Green Pajamas – Planet Love (from Seven Fathoms Down and Falling)
Tags: All Girl Summer Fun Band, Black Nite Crash, Erik Blood, Green Pajamas, Vancougar
Saturday night in Seattle is looking like it could be a logistical puzzle without a solution. There are no less than four shows that I can highly recommend. I’d like to be at all of them, but physically and chronologically I don’t think it’s possible.
Option 1: The Green Pajamas at Jules Mae Saloon
Starting down in the south end at Jules Mae Saloon in Georgetown, the Green Pajamas, one Seattle’s most unsung bands will be making a rare live appearance. If you like your pop with a touch of psychedelia you can’t go wrong with the Green Pajamas. These guys seem to write timeless songs in their sleep, and I am surprised that they don’t get more recognition. They were criminally left off of Rhino’s Children of Nuggets box set. Maybe it’s because some of their best work has never been released in the US. Most of their late 90’s albums came out on Australian label Camera Obscura, so it’s nice to see that they seem to have struck up a good relationship with Parasol offshoot Hidden Agenda. Hidden Agenda has put out their last few albums making them much easier to find. There will soon be another album added to the Green Pajamas cannon. It will be out through Hidden Agenda again and has the name Poison In The Russian Room. So with a new album in the can, you can probably expect to hear a few new songs this night. And fear not if you miss this show, they have another one slated for the Skylark on 29 November.
Option 2: All Girl Summer Fun Band at Vera Project
Heading north up to the Seattle Center and the Vera Project nestled comfortably under the Space Needle, the All Girl Summer Fun Band will be up from Portland. They’ve just released their third album Looking Into It and it’s full of changes. First the band are down to a trio after bassist Arirak Douangpanya left to be a mom. Change number two sees them leaving the confines of K records who released their first two albums and striking out on their own to self release this album. The most significant change though has to do with their sound. They seem to have veered off from the Tiger Trap road and headed down a highway paved with New Pornographers and Breeders. It’s a meatier, slightly heavier sound, but it’s still fun! I’m sure they’ll throw in old favorites like Canadian Boyfriend, Parallel Park, and Jason Lee into their set this night.
Option 3: Black Nite Crash | Drug Purse | Erik Blood at Mars Bar
Now over to Eastlake and the Mars Bar for what looks to be a mini shoegaze fest. This looks to be blast if you are fan of the genre. Get there early to see Erik Blood. His band is essentially the Turn-Ons minus Travis and his album The Way We Live is nothing short of amazing. The album is still under wraps but I hear that it will be out in the very near future. Terms like shoegaze and dreampop get thrown around a lot (especially around here), but this album is a study in how great a dreampop record can be reaching back to Wire Train and the Paisley Underground of the 1980’s and even a bit blue eyed soul with the beautiful Better Days. Erik Blood has put together a collection of songs that easily ranks up with the best albums of the year. I kid you not, it’s that good. Don’t believe me? Well get yourself over to the Mars Bar and find out!
Headlining the night are Black Nite Crash who I saw just last week open for Magnetic Morning. Black Nite Crash kind of oscillate between heavier Jesus and Mary Chain/Spacemen 3 songs and lighter and more poppy Church and Railway Children ones. Also on the bill are Tacoma’s Drug Purse who are certainly not out of place here, with similar aesthetics only their sound being a bit more sparse that is kind of like a marriage of the Crystal Stilts to Brian Jonestown Massacre with the ceremony being performed in some dark garbage strewn alley.
Option 4: Vancougar and the Suspicions at Wild Rose
As luck would have it, none of these shows are in the same neighborhood. Vancouver, BC’s Vancougar will be playing at Wild Rose on Capitol Hill. In a perfect world Vancougar would be playing on the same bill as the All Girl Summer Fun Band. Of course nothing is perfect so you’re left with the dilemma of which girl rock to see this night. Vancougar make it a tough choice and may make it tempting to catch their set and rush over to Vera. Their second album Canadian Tuxedo came out this summer on the excellent Mint records and this is the last date of their US tour. Also on the bill are Seattle power poppers the Suspicions
MySpace: The Suspicions
Tags: Green Pajamas, Purrs
Saturday night up on Capitol Hill the Paisley Underground came to life again for a brief fantastic moment. Not that any of those seminal Los Angeles bands like the Rain Parade, Three O’Clock, or the Long Ryders had reformed and were visiting, it was in fact two of Seattle’s very own in the Purrs and Green Pajamas. They weren’t playing together, that would have been nice, but they were playing across the street from one another. Both band’s websites said that they were on at 10:00 pm, poetentially making for a logistical impossibility to see them both. As I walked by King Cobra I spied on the door that the Green Pajamas wouldn’t be on until 11, so I hurried across the street to Neumos to see the Purrs who were in an opening slot for Tacoma’s Mono in VCF.
I walked in to the jangling buzz of She’s Got Chemicals from their latest self-released album the Chemistry That Keeps Us Together. The Purrs have a new rhythm guitarist who goes by Dr. Robert, and they seem all the better for it. Their short set really popped with ripping bass and vocals from Jima and shimmering beautiful lead guitar from Jason Milne. Go Cindy go and Miles Away were both just about perfect and hit that soft spot between Rain Parade and early Church, but it was the inclusion of a couple new songs especially the Fear of Flying, that have me anxiously awaiting a new release from one of Seattle’s best kept secrets.
The Purrs set was over in plenty of time to make it back across the street for the Green Pajamas who I had never seen before. They don’t play out too much and their website states that this date and one later this summer at the West Seattle Fair will likely be the only two live dates for them this year. The Green Pajamas are a band that for a newcomer, seem a bit daunting to get into. It’s not that their albums are spotty, on the contrary, most of them are pretty strong, it’s that they have so many of them. It’s like discovering the Fall or Robyn Hitchcock, where the hell do you start when you go to buy one of their albums? They have two best of cds, Indian Winter that focuses on their early career of releasing singles and cassettes and Through Glass Colored Roses which focuses on their later career, both are worth getting. If you want to start with an album I would recommend All Clues Lead to Meagan’s Bed. It’s from the late 90’s after they reformed, and is a solid album with good songs slathered in garagey psychedlia any of which would fit in nicely on the Children of Nuggets box set.
Since I am one of those newcomers. I wasn’t sure if I’d be familiar with everything they would play. At least I was pretty sure that I would like whatever they decided on, because of the quality of their albums. They ended up playing a good cross section of their later career. It seem like they picked something from nearly every one of their albums from the late 90’s and 00’s. She’s Still Bewitching Me from Seven Fathoms Down and Falling was a real highlight of the set with it’s Byrds sounding chorus and jangly guitar lead from Jeff Kelly. Joe Ross took his only lead vocal of the night on his song Dying to Love You from Strung Behind the Sun. Their wasn’t much dialog between songs, with the band preferring to play. They brought up a friend to play clarinet for Graduation Day which seemed to add a livelier dynamic to the stage. The biggest surprise of the night was Kim the Waitress as their final song. I figured that they’d never play it, since I’m use to jaded bands shying away from their old hit (especially since it was Material Issue that made it a hit). But that was certainly not the case with the band playing it without any irony whatsoever, and the small crowd totally lit instantly recognizing within it’s first chords. It was icing on the cake, especially for this newcomer to this prolific unsung Seattle band.