Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Various Artists "Psychedelic States: Florida In The 60s Vol. 4" (2015) review

Various Artists "Psychedelic States: Florida In The 60s Vol. 4" (Gear Fab Records, 2015)

Since 1997, the Gear Fab label, which is located in Littleton, Colorado and run by Roger Maglio, has been releasing compilation albums featuring insanely obscure bands from the sixties. Each installment celebrates a particular state, and the most recent package marks the fourth volume of Florida bands. As is the tradition with previous collections, "Psychedelic States: Florida In The 60s Vol. 4" also includes photos and information on the bands.

Preaching the gospel of peace, love, and tolerance, the wisely titled "Love Your Fellow Man" by Sir Michael & The Sounds presents a super catchy melody and is enhanced by a shimmering shot of Middle East motifs. From the Sweet Young Things, there's "I Remember" that pinches its pulsating pitch from the Who's "I Can't Explain," where the Certain Amount flaunt their fondness for the Zombies in a fine way on a frisky remake of "Is This The Dream." Obviously bearing no connection to the Police song of the same name, "Message In A Bottle" from A Quest shivers and shakes to a heavy-handed hurling of wild Jimi Hendrix styled fretwork and soul-stained vocals. Not to be mistaken for the Creation tune, but nearly just as good as the British band's heralded pop art offering is "Painter Man" by the Non-Pariels that blends trippy Beatlesque harmonies with raga rock workouts to agreeable effects. Speaking of the Beatles, the (Fab) Phatoms deliver a surefire Mersey-minted classic with "I've Got That Feeling" that would have fit nicely on John, Paul, George, and Ringo's "Please Please Me" album.

Before Carlo Driggs hit the jackpot with bands like Kracker, Foxy, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, he played drums in Dave & The Wanderers, whose power popping "My Heart Is In Pain" has only been available as a demo all these years. Driven by danceable rhythms and a cheery frat rock flavored chorus is "We're The Vandals" from the Vandals, whose guitarist George Terry later hooked up with Eric Clapton. Designed of  inventively odd tempo changes, "Hands Are Only To See" by the Bitter Ind boasted Butch Trucks Jr. on drums, who soon found worldwide fame with the Allman Brothers.

Totaling twenty-six tracks, "Psychedelic States: Florida In The 60's Vol. 4" actually caters to the teen garage rock sounds of the era rather than acid-drenched dementia. Untrained and untamed, but quaking with enthusiasm, the bands heard on the disc relied on little more than a few standard chords to carry their songs, while roller rink keyboards and thrashing drums complete the scene. Rock and roll was meant to be fun and simple, and "Psychedelic States: Florida In The 60s Vol. 4" ideally illustrates the right attitudes and motives behind the efforts of these bands whose hearts were true and whose contributions are an important part of musical history.

Review made by Beverly Paterson/2015
© Copyright

Monday, October 5, 2015

I Fenomeni - Dodicesima Dimensione (2015) review/interview

I Fenomeni - Dodicesima Dimensione (Veals & Geeks, 2015)

Italian outfit I Fenomeni have been making head-turning, head-swirling psychedelic beat music for a few years now, and their "Un Vuoto Appeso" LP for the Psych-Out label proved to be an excellent vehicle to release their super authentic stylings, most of the set brimming with moves towards the realm of ear-piercing psychedelia, with a few songs put over in more of a garage-style approach; basic yet melodic and hugely appealing. Now and again they could really take you to the edge with an almost spooked atmosphere, incendiary bursts of fuzztone guitar, and led by some great, impassioned vocals.
With this new project, the group have decided to keep that basic blueprint in mind overall, but in order to channel their songwriting sessions for maximum potential they also came up with a more conceptual storyline for us to follow. The gist of "Dodicesima Dimensione", revolves around the story of a boy and a girl who have fallen hopelessly in love with each other ... but then they make a strange choice and decide that they are going to leave themselves and everyone and everything in this world behind ... In the interview which follows this review, Matteo gives us a little bit more of the story's back line and how the writing then unfolded. The main thing readers need to know is that it's a really great collection of songs; the sounds all presented through a wide range of instrumentation that rides through the LPs core, coming over in its projection as would such a similar project were it to bear a late 60s date mark instead of early summer 2015. So of course we're thinking of the usual line-up of guitars, drums, bass and vocals, plus one or two other things like sitar, and dulcimer to add a distinctly exotic flavour, and a variety of different percussive elements all of which serve to enhance each song's rhythmic pattern and mood. But they've also paid particular mind to the overall sound they wish to convey, with the arrangements carefully falling into place so as not to disturb their wholeheartedly psych-imbued fixation which, as alluded to earlier, also brings in the essence of swinging garage, beat and also elements of folk-rock. So if you dig the likes of the Byrds (the set's only cover version is a neat adaptation of McGuinn and Crosby's "Fifth Dimension" classic 'I See You'), Electric Prunes, Chocolate Watchband, Seeds and 13th Floor Elevators, and have the tendency to want to swoon over the type of melodics as imparted by such as Love, the Beatles and Barrett-era Pink Floyd, oh and don't mind too much that the group sing in their native tongue; Italian, then I suggest you go forth and duly seek this one out. While you're at it, Veals & Geeks have also issued the group's latest single 'Mai Piu' / C'e Fango', which, doubtless, you will find to be another fantastically squealing, modern-age example of exploratory garage psychedelia.

I FENOMENI – Interview

First of all can you tell our readers where exactly you are from, who is in the group, and which instruments you all play?

Pier: We're from Genova, Italy. Here's the whodoeswhat: Matteo, the main body & soul behind the band, is lead vocalist and also plays guitar, tambourine, maraccas, sitar, dulcimer; Pier does backing vocals, sometimes lead, and plays guitar, organ, piano; Franco is the drummer, and also does backing vocals; Andrea was our bass player but has recently left the band without realizing it, and has been substituted by Fabio (long-time friend and band mate of mine).

Matteo: Genova is in the North-West part of Italy in the coast near France's Côte d'Azur, so to say. It has a relatively “southern” feel and lifestyle if compared to other cities of Northern Italy. So it’s kinda relaxed and not much happening, unless for some underground scene, which is anyhow limited but has always existed since the 60s (from relatively depressed singer-songwriters, to some early heavy/prog bands, etc.). So a good scene paradoxically. This is not directly answering your questions I guess, at least not this specific initial one. But in a way it does as it suggests how and why we got together. This said, I am no longer living in town since 2000, when I moved to Rome and played there with few 60s/70s-inspired bands (more heavy 60s, such as Tandem Cycle or Powerpop – Wow!), and then to Paris, London etc. I am now based in Brussels, Belgium, which makes the whole concept of a “band” a bit complicated, but it has been working so far, so I guess it’s ok! We have been knowing Franco (drummer) for ages and after some thinking his name popped-up… we asked him to join and he was enthusiastic. Andrea also was very much part of the thing since the beginning and then family and work duties made playing outside Genova a challenge, which caused some friction and so we decided to call it a day. Fabio is now with us since last Christmas more or less and he’s an impeccable bass player really! He comes from a different “musical angle” which adds to our musical mix as well.

For how long now has I Fenomeni been in existence?

P: we started casually talking about such a band in 2009, and in early 2010 I Fenomeni were born. At first we were only doing cover versions of obscure Italian material from 1966/68, but within a few months Matteo had several originals, since then we've been playing a mixture of originals and covers.

M: We started in 2009 as I was in-between jobs at the time.Therefore I had some free time and, as I was based in Genova for few months for the first time since years, we just started as a joke. But we liked the way the thing was taking shape since session number 1! 

What would you say it is that draws you and the group towards the kind of psychedelic-flavoured beat rock music that the group likes to play?

P: I would say, especially regarding me and Matteo, it's music we've listened to since we were kids, one way or another. And I guess we're particularly enamoured (as far as the Fenomeni's music is concerned) with what was happening in Italy in the late 60's/early 70's, music-wise and in general.

M: . In fact it all started from a common love Pier and I had for some weird late-60s Italian psych bands, and the fact that the two of us have played together in other 60s bands (e.g. The Painted Brush) from Genova. We must pay tribute to people like Ursus in Turin who started assembling compilation of weird minor Italian late-60s beat bands since late 80s and early 90s (both in tape or vinyl). So we always loved this thing, more than “standard” beat or garage stuff (which is also cool to a certain extent but might become a bit boring, especially if repeated by “cover bands” through decades again and again … often by losing the initial appeal of original tracks, and notably their bonafide approach and good punk or pop attitude). So when we decided to go for a 60s Italian Beat band the selection of the covers to start with was pretty obvious … say from 1968 onwards (although you can have some relatively backwards sounds still in 1969/1970s in Italy).

Obviously you are much enamoured of the sound that such vintage greats as The Electric Prunes, 13th Floor Elevators, Seeds and Chocolate Watch Band etc produced, but can you tell us more about those and other influences that provoke you into creating the sounds you choose to make?

P:  Well those, and so many other bands from the US and UK have definitely inspired us (Love, Byrds, Beatles, Yardbirds, Syd's Floyd, etc), but  it's more of a general approach trying to focus on what was happening in Italy in the late 60's, and in particular how the Italians digested those strange sounds coming from abroad and made their own brand of psychedelic music. Think Chetro & Co, Le Mani Pesanti, among the most obscure ones, but also Equipe 84 (Stereoequipe and Id are faves of ours) or New Trolls, who were quite popular at the time round here.

M: Oh well, if you ask me (well you ask us) what bands we like we must spend the whole ight talking of it…. Personally it goes from early Dixieland to rural blues and folk, country etc. etc. Not speaking of classical and jazz. But to remain more focussed on I Fenomeni I’d say everything from 1967 towards early ‘70s really. UK, US, Eurobeat, Latin America (Brazilian and other stuff are great, even more minor stuff than Os Mutantes I mean). So again is very difficult to say. I’d like though to pay tribute to few of the actual people, I mean in person, that have inspired and supported us. Amongst those certainly Maurizio Cassinelli, from the late 60s Genova band Gleemen and Garybaldi (amazing people and great bands really!), whom has supported us since the beginning, when we discovered his studio almost by coincidence. And Spartaco Nagliero from Fantom’s, another late 60s amazing punk psych band from Turin. They both play in our last record and it is almost a “family affair” for us really, beside the great admiration we have for them. Then again, there are thousands of bands, songs andpeople, which is difficult to mention in a certain order of priority.
The group already released a rather wonderful LP "Un Vuoto Appeso" which appeared on the Psych-Out label a couple of years back; and I must say that aside from being a superb blend of psychedelic intensity and garage-beat intrigue, was also presented in one of the thickest, sturdiest gatefold card covers one could ever imagine - yes even more than the most authentically produced original US issues ... Anyway, what  significant differences would you say, if any, were there in the approaches taken on that album, in comparison to how you went about preparing and recording the material for the new LP "Dodicesima Dimensione" just released on the Veals and Geeks label in Belgium?

P: Well, the sleeve weight is the main difference... Jokes aside, the first album was a collection of songs, and only halfway through recording it we realized there was some kind of concept underneath (a bit like, ahem, Sgt. Pepper, if you like). At a certain point we had the idea of doing the whole Byrds 5D LP in Italian, at least for a live show, but then the project imploded, and Matteo went on with the idea of a new concept, progressing from the 5th to the 12th dimension. Basically not many differences in the recording approach, only a little better and more focused I think. Only our version of 'I See You' remains from the original idea.

M: Our Belgium producer, well I mentioned I live in Brussels, so basically Stan from Veels & Geeks is a friend and has a great taste in music, as well as a great record shop and label. So the match was easy. Well the first LP started (again) as a joke really, and initially was an “improved demotape” so to say with almost 100% covers, partially from Italian bands, partially adaptation in Italian of US/UK songs, the latter quite “mainstream” in the 60s scene. The idea, as I mentioned, in the very beginning was to play for our own amusement. But suddenly the situation changed, and particularly as it was clear that the actual recordings were pretty cool (credits should be given to Pier in this respect), so we thought it could have been worth trying something a bit more “special”, if you see what I mean. So I started “writing” material, if you allow me this expression, and so did Pier. And quite immediately we started building a personal repertoire which was quite interesting, at least this is what we thought. We had some discussion with Brian from 13 O’clock Records at the beginning, but our stuff was not really in line with his production, and by the time of our conversation the “non original” material was still the majority. So I can’t blame him for not being fully convinced. But we added songs to song and in a short while we came with our first LP which, although not necessarily “monolithic” in all its songs, was quite interesting. It was easy to have it co-produced by Cosimo (the great man!) from Psych Out. Through time other songs came and I felt I wanted to have a more thorough “concept” approach (we had it to a certain extent already in the first LP), if anything as it is more challenging and fun to do. Also we wanted to have a better production, in terms of sound (we were supported by a professional mastering) but more importantly in the arrangements. It took sometime to finish it, and I am the one responsible in harassing Pier until we’re both fully convinced (a process which might take some time I tell you!). But we’re still friends it seems.

Is there any reason that this new album hasn't been issued on Psych-Out this time around?

P: Psych Out's main man Cosimo is a fan (and we're fans of him as well), and we obviously approached him first for the LP, but at the time he was involved in other projects so we had to ask elsewhere. He likes the album a lot though and we're definitely looking forward working with him again in the future!

M: Indeed Cosimo from Psych Out was busy and we liked the idea of “experimenting” with other productions. So Stan from V&G was a good option and it all went very smoothly and we’re all happy!

Veals and Geeks label has also just released a single from you guys, and I must say it too is a decidedly cool piece of finely-tuned, fuzzed out garage psychedelia if I may be so bold. I wonder if this is being well promoted or (like other I Fenomeni records) is it just a bit like being part of a secret society ... in that if you want a copy you'll find a way to get it somehow ... or not!!? But I genuinely hope that the record will receive many positive reviews and that way many more folks will be attracted to it. 

P: Well it's true, it's a bit of a well-hidden secret, but so far all 7”s and LPs have sold out, so yes... if you want a copy you'll find it somehow. Hopefully the new LP will be reprinted soon, and the first LP should be reissued in Germany within the end of the year.

M: Well after all who cares of good distributions. I mean, if people are interested in it either we know them already or they can easily have access to it (i.e. they are “friends of friends”). It’s a small world nowadays and our fan-base, if you allow me this term, is not that big anyhow (both in actual and potential terms I guess).

Going back to the new album it features as its main focus the rather strange and alluring story of what happens to young lovers Bernardo and Patrizia ... would you like to elaborate a little more for us, at least for the benefit of those not yet acquainted with I Fenomeni's electrifying and psychodelically-infused charms?

M: Oh well I mentioned that I wanted to work more specifically on a “concept”. Partially as this would have sounded as a more genuinely late-60s inspired record, but mainly as it was more fun to do. Just seeing how tracks evolve and you can build a story through each piece, it’s interesting. In terms of the actual story, this was more due to the “title track” which came to me one day and I started to think how this piece of little story (i.e. a couple deciding to leave this world, both in physical and spiritual terms) could have evolved. Well not evolved in fact, as the story is just that one but how to use further songs to explain the reactions around such a story. So what would have family members said and done, what might friends and lovers said, etc. etc. So in the end it all came by itself, as is always the case. I think it was Keith Richards who once said that songs are in the air “waiting to be captured by musicians”, like radio antennas do with airwaves. Then I stuffed in a lot of my obsessions and there was naturally quite a lot of implicit thinking about life and death, which is bizarre when I think back to it as in that period of time my father was basically dying of cancer, without him or any of us in the family being aware of it. So there are complex emotions connecting me today to that simple strange story that first came to me a couple of years ago now.

P: And somehow some of those songs and emotions, directly connected to Matteo's life, were also resonating with me and my own life, it felt strange...  

How often do I Fenomeni go out and play gigs, and do you find it difficult to get the level of accuracy and deliberation into the material in the live setting, as opposed to collectively letting your creative juices flow in the studio?

M: Well we play far less than we would like to, but we’re all busy with family, work and the fact that I live in a different town does not help either. We actually played the whole LP track-list in a row last winter in Genova (I told you we don’t move much!) and it was funny to discover that the songs are actually relatively easy to play and perform and even without much arrangements they play quite cool! If you invite us for a gig in Edinburgh we will show you! 

What's been the funniest, oddest or perhaps most incredulous thing that has happened to I Fenomeni, either as a group or that has happened to any individual members?

M: Well the most incredulous is the fact that we actually still exist after 6 years now. And that we are quite productive, despite the fact that we barely rehearse, even prior to a concert (or a recording session)! Then for funny and odd memories I count on Pier, as my memory is notoriously awful! I must say that it was to successfully involve James Lowe from the Electric Prunes, as we initially proposed him to read the actual recital in Italian… we have translated in English phonetics so for him to read nonsensical words which would have resulted (in our wishes) into understandable Italian sentences. A bit how Satchmo did in the 60s when he sung some Italian hits quite impeccably). And I must say James really tried to do it like that. The man is a music genius and an icon, so essential in contemporary music history, and still so approachable and easy to deal with. It’s impressive really!

P: Not much to add, as in most bands (except Oasis probably) we have our own quota of inside jokes and such, but in a couple of occasions when we had to reach far places for a gig we have used what we labelled our 'psychedelic Sat Nav', which belonged to one of us. Which regularly brought us to lands beyond the beyond, but never to what was supposed to be our destination. That and quite a lot of beer; but we only realized right on the stage, where the owner of the Sat Nav nearly passed out on both occasions.

Lastly could you tell us what are the plans for the group in the next period? 

M: Oh well we have the double live album in Japan to be recorded! Kidding (although would love to play there). No idea really, we would have to work something out it seems. We are now producing a flexi record, which might be sold during our concert at the Festival Beat in Salsomaggiore (IT) in July. But it’s taking ages and becoming quite expensive for us (not the public). We have this idea of i “Fenomeni Atmosferici”, a folk-psych spin-off whch might actually materialise soon, if we manage to involve a couple of guys in Genova playing sitar and tablas. And that might also result in an LP or a 10” (I always wanted to do a 10” format … In any case, if anything new materialised we will let you know. Thanks Lenny really!!!

Cheers Matteo / guys and thanks for your time and for all the great music you are making. 
Your pal Lenny

Review & interview made by Lenny Helsing/2015
© Copyright

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Beacon Street Union interview with Dick Weisberg


The Beacon Street Union was part of the “Bosstown Sound,” a marketing campaign in 1968 for Boston bands who were newly signed to the music label MGM Records. It was a marketing strategy created to help the label recover from a financial crisis it had been experiencing. The idea for the “Bosstown Sound” came from independent producer Alan Lorber who had already signed two bands from the “Boston” area: Orpheus and Ultimate Spinach. In truth, the “Boston” rock music community was just developing and there was no overarching “Boston” sound or “Boston” style. There were a handful of individual established bands that were having some success, like The Lost, The Hallucinations, The Ramrods, The Barbarians, and Barry & the Remains. Newer bands were developing like Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus, Chameleon Church, Phluph, Ill Wind, and Beacon Street Union. The bands were gaining audiences from the large student population of college campuses in the Greater Boston area who were starting to discover them. And at the time, they were just starting to discover each other.

Editor’s Note: It’s Psychedelic, Baby would like to thank Gray Newell for helping to make this interview possible, and for his extensive liner notes about Beacon Street Union that guided this interview.


Interview with Dick Weisberg, drummer for The Beacon Street Union.

Did you all come from the Boston area?

Bob, Paul and I all went to Malden High School at one point. Malden is a city about 9 miles north of Boston. John was from Sanford, Maine and Wayne was from the Salem, New Hampshire area. We were all New Englanders.

How did you guys happen to come together and form Beacon Street Union?  Did you all come from different bands?

Bob was the one who brought us all together. He had a vision for the band and recruited us. Bob was attending Boston College where he met Wayne, who introduced him to John. Bob knew Paul from high school. Bob and I grew up in the same neighbourhood and had been friends since the third grade. We had all played in different bands throughout our school years, but nothing as serious as the one that Bob was envisioning. He definitely wanted to set the bar high and try to break new ground. I was definitely intrigued.

What inspired you to start playing music?  Do you recall the first song you ever learned to play?

For me personally, it was the beat. I love rock and roll. I was glued to my transistor radio. I started buying records and set up a make shift drum set from things I found around the house – a stool for a snare drum, a pie plate for a cymbal. Some other odds and ends to fill out a traps set. I’d sit on the edge of my bed and play along with the records. Then my parents bought me my first drum set (probably to save the wear and tear on the household items) and I was hooked. The first songs that I remember playing along with were songs like “Oh Carol” and “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka, and all the Four Seasons hits: “Walk Like A Man,” Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” - - and then Sandy Nelson, “Drums Are My Beat,” I think I wore that album out.

Tell us about the early days of The Beacon Street Union. Where did you rehearse? Where were some of your first gigs and who else were on the bills?

Bob’s folks had a large house around the corner from where my family lived and it had a good size basement. They let us use it for a rehearsal space. We first got together during the summer and it was hot, so we’d leave the basement door open. We rehearsed in the evenings and I remember being surprised at the crowd we were drawing outside. Bob’s father held court in the driveway with the neighbourhood kids who came by to rubberneck and dig the music. Bob’s dad was proud of us and loved some of the songs we were playing. One of his favorites was our cover of the Stones song, “Mother’s Little Helper.”

Our very first gigs were in bars. We’d hustle and learn as many songs as we could so that the club owners would hire us. We were so excited when we got one gig that required us to play 9 sets in the same day – four in the afternoon and then 5 after a short dinner break. We just loved playing. Eventually we started to get gigs at showcase clubs in Boston as the opening act. We opened for Buffalo Springfield, The Blues Project, and Jerry Lee Lewis. We were hired to be the backing band for Chuck Berry for one show and for Screaming Jay Hawkins another time. As we built a following and the psychedelic music scene developed we became a regular attraction at a club called The Boston Tea Party that featured a light show and national touring bands as well as local Boston bands. We played on bills with The Velvet Underground several times.

What's the story behind band's name?

We wanted a name that represented Boston. Beacon Street is a major street in Boston. The Massachusetts statehouse is located on Beacon Street. We liked the double meaning of “Union” – a strong relationship, and also a hub of activity on a college campus for students. Four of us were college students in Boston at the time, so it felt right.

What would you say were some of the band’s influences?

When we came together musically, it was around The Yardbirds (“Little Games” album), The Blues Project, The Kinks, and of course The Beatles and Stones. We were also very influenced by local Boston bands The Remains and The Lost.

When did you begin writing music?  What was the first song you wrote?  What inspired it and did you ever perform the song live or record it?

Wayne was the first one to bring an original song to rehearsal. I think it was “Green Destroys The Gold.” He was proud of that lyric because it wove in the titles of several Beatles tunes. I thought it was kind of weird that he did that, but he was really proud of it. It was a good tune for us to cut our teeth on. It freed us up from playing covers and gave us the opportunity to express ourselves musically – for better or worse. We felt creatively liberated and we started to work it into the shows we were playing. The distinction of having original material set us apart from other bands that only played covers.

What was the writing and arranging process within the band?  Did anyone else in the band write?

Initially, Wayne wrote the songs like “Green Destroys The Gold” and “My Love Is.” The rest of us would respond musically to them and our collective response became the foundation for the arrangement. We were having musical dialogues and we were all contributing supporting ideas. Although the music didn't sound like jazz improvisation, the approach to creating Beacon Street Union music  was very similar to that kind of process - - give and take, listen and respond, a real-time dialogue. Eventually John started to contribute lyrics. Sometimes we would start with a riff or an idea and we would all contribute.

How did MGM discover you?

It wasn't MGM that discovered us, it was Wes Farrell. He was an independent producer. He signed us and produced our recordings. He licensed the masters to MGM and they packaged us with two bands that Alan Lorber produced (Orpheus and Ultimate Spinach) as part of their Bosstown Sound marketing scheme. We had no idea. We thought we were going to be marketed as a stand-alone band. When it all came down, we were not happy.

 Boston Cycles Ad.
South End Incident Ad.

There was pretty big promotion behind the Bosstown Sound. You appeared in a lot of national music magazines. How did the critics receive your albums?

We received some very positive reviews. One was in Downbeat Magazine. I recall that the reviewer responded to our creative process. There was a new magazine at the time called Rolling Stone that published the “exposé” review. Jon Landau who managed some other Boston bands and was a freelancer for the magazine blew the whistle on MGM’s contrived marketing. We got caught in the crossfire.

Did your first album sell well? By that, I also mean did it garner much airplay or chart in any markets?

The first album made it into the mid-seventies on the Billboard top 100 albums before the clumsy marketing efforts blew up. We were getting airplay in select major markets: Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Detroit – not so much in Boston, ironically. The Boston alternative radio culture joined the “bash MGM and take no prisoners” bandwagon.

Where was the “The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union” LP recorded?  How long did the sessions last? Would you share some recollections from the sessions?  How pleased were you with the finished product?

We were very excited to be in the recording studio. We recorded those first tracks at the new Mirasound Studios in NYC. They had just installed the newly developed 16-track Ampex recorder. Wes Farrell was the producer and he had complete control. We really didn't know anything about the recording process and were not really comfortable with all the isolation in the studio. We were a live band that keyed off of one another when we played. The recording process that Wes favoured really required separation of the instruments. Now he had 16 tracks to play with. He wanted each part recorded cleanly so he could mix the parts and add effects to them as he wished. We were kind of disappointed about how much our sound got manipulated by him in the studio. We also recorded at Mayfair Studios in New York with the innovative engineer, Gary Kellgren. Gary and Wes had a history of making hits together. But when we heard the final mixed tracks, we were upset because they didn't sound like us.

The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union recording session.

Did Beacon Street Union do any promotional tours? With whom did you share stages and where did you tour?

We were signed to Premier Talent, and they booked us on a cross-country tour to support MGM’s release of “Eyes of The Beacon Street Union.” Our first stop was The Grande Ballroom in Detroit. The MC5 was the opening act. We went on to play Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, BC and Washington, DC where we opened for The Who. The tour ended in NYC back at Steve Paul’s The Scene where Wes Farrell had discovered us. It was a great homecoming celebration.

Thank you very much for taking your time. Last word is yours.

Beacon Street Union was a spontaneous, collaborative reaction to a need that we all had at the time to experiment with music as a way to explore how we felt about cultural, socio-economic and political change that was happening during the mid-sixties. In true creative fashion, we struggled to express ourselves - - but at the same time, we were exhilarated by the pleasure of playing live music for audiences. We played with great energy and unabashed confidence. We argued about musical styles as we negotiated new musical directions. Sometimes we argued musically while we played. The result was the music we made together, for better or worse, it was who we were as a band.

Dick Weisberg.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2015
© Copyright

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Moas/Susan - Skid Fiction (2015) review

The Moas/Susan - Skid Fiction (Beaumont Records, 2015)

Quite possibly the best example of some of the finest Saskatoon bands we have to offer. What we have is a split cassette between two very different, but equally amazing bands. The Moas side of the tape is a 90s throwback to the days of dreamy rock. Maybe if Stereolab's "Laetitia Sadier" fronted Bardo Pond that would be a good description of the sounds I'm hearing. Susan on the other hand sounds like a band that would've been born out of the Calgary post-Women scene. Jangle heavy guitars chime so lovely that you would think this was something from the Paisley Underground. Mixing those guitars with the chord progression and vocals of a post punk band makes for a Hell of a debut for this young band. Be sure to watch out for more releases cause music this good can only warrant more recordings!

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2015
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Strawberry Jam

THE STRAWBERRY JAM is a rather fresh UK band and this album is their debut from 2007, but you can only tell this from the rather clear basic sound. The first three songs have a quite earthy feel and go from utterly cool country garage rock hybrids to proto-punkish eruptions, all in the first ten minutes. You are tempted to put a label on this band right away, filed under garage rock music due to its lovely late 60s feeling. There is a savage lead guitar on the first few songs, making them a great joy to listen to. However, there is much more to discover. “Alice D”, “I Like You The Most” and “Alice D Reprise” take the turn from the down-to-earth, fuzzed-out US garage rock to a rather British psychedelic pop with a slightly giddy expression. You could find this kind of stuff on some early records from the London Underground and Canterbury Scene. The more laid back and folkish psychedelic sound and the weird humorous pieces stay with us for a while until THE STRAWBERRY JAM find themselves slipping through a time hole which leads from early 1967 to the summer of 1969. “I Don’t Want To Make You Mine” is a straight blues rock stomper with a typical British blues approach you would expect to hear from bands such as SAVOY BROWN or TEN YEARS AFTER. Some more beautiful hippie folk follows in its veins and an epic psychedelic pop tune ends a very colourful and captivating album. You know and hear that it is a modern day effort since this bandwidth of styles and sounds would have been a bit too far out for an original sixties audience. The step back from 1969 to 1968 on the last two tracks is definitely a great choice. The closing track "Dragon Seed" is a laid back epic with ever drifting rhythmic pulsations and a wicked swirl of sounds which, by its end, gets you lifted above all that people consider reality and frees your mind. A few moments of free form experiments close this retrospective but joyful album. From THE SEEDS to THE MC 5 to THE BEATLES to TOMORROW and TWINK and more... you'll find it all in here! This is a great soundtrack for a summer trip!


WAYNE ROACH (WR): It's a German word.

NN: Must be. Strawberry Jam, interview. My name is Nathan Noblett. I play guitar in The Strawberry Jam and I sing sometimes, yeah.

WR: That's true! My name is Wayne Roach, my name is. Uh, you know, I sing in the band The Strawberry Jam.

NN: Uh, Amadeus, from Germany, sent us, uh, some questions to answer in, uh, interview style. So that's what we're gonna do. Jerry "Yorkshire" Pudding is not here. John Elizabeth, not here. It's just Wayne and me. (lights cigarette) Wayne, if you'd like to begin.

WR: Alright, so, it says "From which parts of England do you come from?" (rubs hands vigorously) Well, myself, I comes from Kent. 

NN: I come from, uh, Devonshire, which is in the, uh, yeah, it's in England. It's, uh, in the Southern North, yeah. Uh, Jerry "Yorkshire" Pudding, he comes from Essex. I don't know where John's from.

WR: He's from near me, you know. 

NN: Yeah. Uh, question ... two. "Is the accent I hear Cockney English? Did you know that this is a great addition to the Jam's humour?" Uh, it's not Cockney, no. It's --

WR: (grunts)

NN: A little bit, like, Jerry, yeah. He'll, like, he'll do the rhyming, um, slang. 

WR: Right, yeah.

NN: (indecipherable) He'll say, just, I don't know what he's saying.

WR: No, I don't listen to what he's saying.

NN: Yeah, no, no, me neither. 

WR: "And while we're talking about the band's humour, it is so unique, positive, and uplifting! In combination with the punky elements, it becomes a powerful force (indecipherable). What can you tell me about that? And what is the band's view on this?" 

NN: (lights cigarette)

WR: Well, first of all, uh, unique, positive, uplifting, I'm not sure what you're really talking about. But if it makes your day, that is really the point, you know? 

NN: Yeah, so much the better, yeah.

WR: Yeah.

NN: Question the fourth. "Looking at the cover and credits and recalling the top secret 'Making of Jam' film" -- it's not so top secret anymore, is it now, Amadeus? -- "it's clearly on hand that each of you has his unique role within the band. How would each of you describe his role and how much of that is part of your real character?" Nathan Noblett, guitar. That's my role. Guitar, sometimes sing. 

WR: Yeah, he's, he, his role was to play the guitar and to be a prick, you know. Mine, my role as Wayne Roach is to, is to be a nice guy, you know, and to play and to sing the songs. 

NN: Yeah, sing. And Jerry "Yorkshire" Pudding, he's the drummer. And, uh, John Elizabeth --

WR: He likes his wine.

NN: Likes his wine. Little too much. He's good on the bass. Um, but sometimes I play the bass too, really. I mean, you know, there's a few songs I play the bass.

WR: When he's had too much wine, yeah. 

NN: Yeah, exactly.

WR: Right.

NN: Um, "how much of that is a part of your real character?" I mean, I really play the guitar.

WR: (slams down liquor bottle)

NN: That's what I do. Uh, John really plays the bass some of the time.  

WR: Yeah, it's true.

NN: Jerry "Yorkshire" Pudding, he plays the drums.

WR: He does.

NN: He works in a sheet metal factory. Uh, Wayne Roach likes his gin. 

WR: He likes his gin.

NN: Uh, likes to sing.

WR: He likes to sing.

NN: Uh, he likes to, um --

WR: (bursting into song) He likes to dim the lights / He likes to sing the songs / He likes to drink his gin / He likes it all day long

NN: ... That's quite good. 

WR: Yes.

NN: Alright, question five. "Who writes most of the songs? Who comes up with all those weird ideas? What's the story behind each song?" ... I think I write most by a slight margin, yeah. Uh, "who comes up with all those" -- I don't know what that is. Wayne, are you, weird ideas? I, uh.

WR: What is it?

NN: It's weird ideas. 

WR: (indecipherable)

NN: Uh, the story behind each song. Alright, let's, uh, yeah, alright. 

WR: Let's do it! 'Rock and Roll Music'! (lights cigarette)

NN: (banging on the table) 'Rock and Roll Music'. I don't know. I think it had been a late night. Three in the morning. And I was, uh, sweeping my chimney. As you do. And, uh, you know, the, the soot, it just, it formed a pile. And it was about, I mean, somewhere between knee-high, ankle-high. Somewhere, like, it was, like, in my leg and --

WR: (lights cigarette)

NN: -- it was, like, you know. And I looked at it and it just, like --

WR: (loudly clears throat; slams down liquor bottle)

NN: -- I had a, a jug of gin. When you get it all down, what is it really about? The name of the band, what is it? It's Strawberry Jam. What [do] we play?

WR: Rock and roll music.

NN: Rock and roll music. And then, it's just, like, oh yeah. (tries to stub his cigarette but finds the ashtray is full) Oh, bloody ... Uh, next one, 'Strawberry Jam'.

WR: 'Strawberry Jam' was the first song that we wrote as a band.

NN: 'Blueberry Jam'. 

WR: 'Blueberry Jam', you know. But we all integrated some, uh, you know. We all played a part, you know. So that was a joint effort. (rubs hands vigorously)

NN: It was, it was alright. 'She's A Fairy'.

WR: That's just that, you know.

NN: Yeah.

WR: She was a fairy. She is a fairy. When we wrote the song, she was a fairy after we wrote the song, you know. 

NN: Yeah. I get, like, she ceased being. 

WR: Right.

NN: Yeah. 'Alice D.' It's a song about, uh, a lass named, uh, uh, by the name of Alice D.

WR: Alice.

NN: Uh, D. And, uh, yeah, it's just a good (indecipherable)

WR: But 'I Like You The Most' is not about liking Alice D. the most! It's about --

NN: No, no, completely unrelated, yeah.

WR: No, it's about --

NN: Yeah, it's about liking, you know, the most. Like, the most, um --

WR: Right, yes. Yes.

NN: Yeah.

WR: Especially the things that I liked, you know.

NN: Yeah, like, um --

WR: Jam and toast and ham and roast!

NN: Uh, what I never really, like, put together is how, like, you know, for the rhyme, that was quite, uh, lucky ... that you liked those things. Because they all kinda fit together, like, just so, you know. Yeah. 

WR: (gingerly sets a cup of tea in its saucer)

NN: Uh, 'Alice D. Reprise'. We were on a train to Marrakesh, really.

WR: Right, and John had just, had just met the most beautiful woman. Pregnant, you know. With big bosoms. Milking, like, four children at a time. And she was just fascinated with John. Nathan and I had to get together and write this song about this ... It was, it was just unbelievable, you know. 

NN: Yeah. And, I mean, it's cut down. I think the song's only, like, [a] minute and a half. (indecipherable) But it was, like, twenty-seven minutes. 

WR: Right, right, and there's actually a cut, you know. Some of the recordings that you hear, the sounds that you hear, are taken from the train ride that we was on.

NN: That's right, yeah. To Marrakesh. (long pause) Do you remember where Marrakesh is? I don't. I, I can't recall.

WR: No, I don't remember that.

NN: Yeah.

WR: You're crazy.

NN: 'Hide Your Stash'. I mean, that's just good advice. Uh, 'A Girl Like Donovan'. That's a Noblett. Uh, which is to say I wrote it. And, uh, it's really about, uh, sort of, uh, how I wish, you know, every woman, uh, looked like Donovan. How I wish every scone was made by Donovan. And it's not like I'm saying, um, I want to eat scones with Donovan. Or I want to hold hands with Donovan. It's, I'm just saying, you know, I want a scone made by Donovan. I want to hold hands with a girl like Donovan would. Donovan Leitch. Uh, 'We're The Same'. I mean, that's, that's, that's, uh, centrificub [sic] -- uh, you know, that's like (long pause) big, you know.

WR: Yeah. I know.

NN: For the band, it's like, everything else that we've done is kind of, like, it, it has a piece of 'We're The Same', like, in it. It's, like, a masterpiece, really. (long pause) 'Alice, I Wonder'.

WR: Yes. 

NN: I mean, what's, what more do you want to know? It's Alice -- that's a name, you know. I wonder, uh.

WR: Wonder about it. Figure it out, you know.

NN: Yeah, exactly. Just piece it together yourself. I don't know, like, what, I mean, questions. It's always questions. I don't know. Uh, 'Don't Wanna Make You Mine'. Again, it's like, I just don't want to. 'Look At All The Happy People'. Um --

WR: It's a nice thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.

NN: I mean, anytime. 'Dragon Seed'. That's just a true story, man. 

WR: Oh yes.

NN: Question number six. "What is the members' musical background?" I mean, guitar. Nathan Noblett. That's what he plays, I play.

WR: Yeah, when did you stop playing guitar, Nathan?

NN: I mean, I've never stopped, really. But I kinda stopped, yeah. 

WR: Right. 

NN: (lights cigarette)

WR: Well, uh, you know, I started singing when I was young and me mother had the Barbra Streisand records. And I sang along with, uh, Barbra Streisand and, uh, you know, it turned out alright. And I started getting an attitude like Barbra Streisand. I's smoking cigarettes when I was young.

NN: Like Barbra Streisand. 

WR: And I was not familiar with, you know, inner pain. And so, this, you know, infuriated me even more. To sing rock and roll music in an angry way, which was, you know, buttered with love. 

NN: And then, like, I think I added, like, salt? And Jerry added, like, um (long pause) ignorance. "How was the band founded?"

WR: (slams down liquor bottle)

NN: "And how did you met each other?" 

WR: (slams down teacup)

NN: It was, uh, John and Wayne. They was, you know, playing. And, um, I played too. And then they was, like, 'Hey, you want to come play?' And I was, like, 'Yeah, I do.' And then Jerry was, like, 'Hey, uh, sheet metal?' And we were like, 'No. Drums?' 'Yeah.' 'Okay.' And that was the band. "How, how, how did we met?" Uh, John's, uh, mother and Wayne's mother, they was, uh, sisters. They's, they met a long time ago. I, I met them, you know, in a, uh, under mysterious circumstances, really.

WR: Oh yeah.

NN: And, uh, Jerry, it was just, like, I had to, you know, buy some sheet metal. That's really all he was about at the time. 

WR: Eighth question. 

NN: You want to read it?

WR: No. "What do you remember from the process of creating 'Jam' and from the recording (pause) sessions?" 

NN: I don't, I mean, nothing, really.

WR: Question nine. "Why did you all flew to Canada for recording? And, uh, how did you come upon Simon Feret?" Well, we, um.

NN: I mean, that's a long story. 

WR: Yeah. Okay, question ten. "What did I forget to ask?" I don't know. "Uh, what did you like to add?" Um ...

NN: (indecipherable)

WR: Yeah, um, is there anything else, uh, you'd like to tell the readers of 'It's Psychedelic Baby' magazine?

NN: Yeah, I mean, um, keep a little jam in your heart?      

Interview made by Amadeus Wächtler/2015
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Advertising for next available issue (Psychedelic Baby issue 2)

We have issue two ready. Before its official release we would like to ask labels, stores, artists or anyone else interested in being part of our magazine. We are offering ads (banner) for our second issue dedicated to US psychedelic music. Below you can find example. Magazine will be released by Guerssen Records and it will be available worldwide.

Nest Egg - Respectable (2015) review

Nest Egg - Respectable (Bathetic Records, 2015)

2015 is a good time to be alive if your a fan of psychedelic music, specifically the offshoot genre "space rock". With many bands embracing the sonic soundscapes that seem almost astral we are lucky, nothing better than being blown out of this world by music! A perfect example of this cosmic rock would be Nest Egg from North Carolina. Their album "Respectable" dropped earlier this year helping spread their sound to the masses. Probably best known for being the band that the Austin Psych Fest resident in-house DJ "Al Lover" has been singing their praises since last year. Those praises were quite accurate, clearly wearing their influences on their shoulders you can almost hear the German innovators of Krautrock in the repetitive grooves of the songs, with the sonic overlords "Hawkwind" whispering into their ears much like the devil might do if this were your conscience. Nest Egg were able to record a great album that helps capture the sound of their live show which from what I've seen from YouTube clips, is a must see! Be sure to grip this record before it gets discovered by the masses and goes out of print!

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2015
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Renny Wilson - Punk Explosion/Extension (2015) review

Renny Wilson - Punk Explosion/Extension (Mint Records, 2015)

You may recall from the interview with Edmonton wonderkids "The Betrayers" the mention of an artist named Renny Wilson. Notably known for his uber pop record Sugarglider, if you're familiar with that release you're in for a shock. Recorded off and on between 2007 - 2015 this is some of the sleaziest weirdo punk music to come out of Canada. Pitched shifted vocals are probably the first thing that grab you, don't worry your record player is working. Gnarled screams blend well with the pop song writing Renny is best known for. Humour is prominent on this record as well, I mean seriously listen to his cover of "Jukebox Hero" and try not to laugh at the hilarity of the songs. The name might be a nod to Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion but trust me this is a very different beast. Be sure to pick this up before your favorite skateboarder features a song in their next video and makes this record stuff of legends! A+ 

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2015
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Finchley Boys - Everlasting Tributes (1972) review

Finchley Boys "Everlasting Tributes" (Golden Throat Records, 1972)

Established early 1968, Finchley Boys quickly became a popular live act in and around their birthplace of Champaign, Illinois. The next step, of course, was to transfer the magic onto tape, and in September the band entered the studio with the goal of putting together an album. Sessions continued through June 1969, but the results of the band's work did not materialize until a few years later, when "Everlasting Tributes" was released.

Acid-fried blues rock was where Finchley Boys were at, and their affection and aptitude for the music resonates loud and clear amid the album. Gutted with bone-crushing guitar leads, bristling with venom, "Everlasting Tributes" indicates the band spent a lot of time spinning sides by the Yardbirds, while casting a further ear towards the progressively heavy sounds of bands such as the Litter, Iron Butterfly, and Steppenwolf. Striking a neo-jazz stance, "Once I Was A Boy" emulates both Cream and the Doors, and a shout-out goes to the Kinks via a weighty cover of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." But influences aside, Finchley Boys certainly had their own personal ambitions in check. The band's arrangements could be rather challenging, and their songwriting instincts were commendable. In fact, two of the album's best tracks, "It All Ends" and "Restrictions" are original numbers. Floating on atmospheric ground, "It All Ends" is wrapped in a lonely psychedelic fog, where "Restrictions" is a hard rocking monster seething with angry vocals, screaming power chords and throttling rhythms.

Navigated by military-styled drumming, "Hooked" and "Who's That Talkin'," a traditional blues piece peppered with a jagged jam and dirty harmonica huffing and puffing, also receive a solid stamp of approval. With the exception of the emotionally fragile "Swelling Waters," there's nothing the least bit poised or pretty about "Everlasting Tributes." Pockmarked with warts and scars, the album inspects Finchley Boys in their natural state. But it's the earthy and edgy performances, topped with an organic production, that make "Everlasting Tributes" the intriguing relic that it is.

Review made by Beverly Paterson/2015
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Fast Camels - The Magic Optician (2007) & Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams (2014) reviews

The Fast Camels - The Magic Optician (Neon Tetra, 2007) & Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams

Love's exceptional lead guitar figure Johnny Echols has said of modern-day Glasgow group The Fast Camels that they remind him of Love when the legendary LA group were just getting it together at Bido Lito's club back in 1966. So it's no surprise to learn that there's an inherent inventiveness at work, and also a high degree of musical fluidity at play within the work of the Fast Camels. A vibrant intensity shines through much of their material, and often helps to propel their collective playing overall. And it's this, coupled with a strong sense of identity - to say nothing of the pathos and particular sense of humour that can be heard shifting about inside the music being created here - that gives them a woven together definition, or at the very least sets them aside from a lot of groups that are happening on the current British scene. It's also true to say that many groups whose origins lie over in the west coast of Scotland have inherited some of the qualities outlined above (more so if they're especially blessed) when they gather to write and play music together. I couldn't begin to list all of them but certainly the likes of The Poets, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, and Teenage Fan Club are but a few of the city's names which readily spring to mind. And so in considering the Fast Camels there is also this mixture of styles going on, gallant innovation, a creative originality beating at the heart of things, and oh yes a super-intended high fun quotient too!
The Fast Camels issued their first album "The Magic Optician" back in 2007 as a one-off CD release on the Neon Tetra label. Even when heard today this is a total blast of fresh air, a set that sounds truly hip and happening, and easily as poptastically psychedelic in places as many names who've gone on to win thousands of fans and garnered many plaudits and column inches along the way... Openers '50 Things On Your Mind' and 'Like A Magic Optician' are perhaps the most '67 British "Choc Soup" acid-sounding the group has ever been! Although 'Comforting Things' and the galloping advances of 'Can You See Me?' are also strong contenders here. The group's widely-acclaimed follow-up "Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams" didn't appear until seven years later when their own Magic Optician label unleashed it in the late summer of 2014. At times this comes across like a totally different sounding group altogether; the songwriting appearing more mature and inherently more serious in places; the influence of more west coast USA versus the British '67 early Floyd and psyched-out beat angles coming over very much more resounding. There are very obvious differences too in the various expressions of guitar and vocal interplay.Definite flourishes of those distinctly offbeat musical textures and a certain, hard to put a finger on tangibility that is also heard throughout much of Love's material can also be detected weaving its way in and out of the Fast Camels playing. 'Privately Insane' is one of this sets real standouts, the way it pulls and pushes itself forward in compelling art-jazz style waves. This in itself is a great homage to that '66 Love sound. However, in both full-length collections we hear a modern-day group which is teeming with many such similar qualities and ideas as their forbears and, throughout, the group can be heard reaching out and striving for their own particular identity. 
Yes I know, we are lagging behind somewhat in time as this is now already April 2015 and so even their latest "... Butterfly Dreams" isn't all that new today but, regardless, it is still pretty fresh on the ears and ... well actually this is about as bang up to date as we're gonna get. Well not quite as they now also have 'Cobbler Clarence' (their favourite song from the album) to get a taste of what constitutes this group's humorous, down-to-earth conceptuality and sense of celebration as expressed through artistic enthusiasm and an ongoing burst of momentum. Despite it being kinda challenging, and engaging too, in a strange way it's still a mightily odd choice for a single. Go here now to check it out for yourselves: Purchasers of the single will also be rewarded with a bunch of non-album selections that include 'She's Seen Enough', 'Donnie's Hearse Curse' and the awfully-pun titled 'Swiggin In The Griffin' (a reference to a long-hip Glasgow watering hole) and, although not my favourite of their releases, showcases their continued fervour and wide-ranging scope; both Drew Sturgeon (lead vocalist and rhythm guitar) and lead guitarist Mark O'Connor are the group members responsible for initiating their highly enervating song craft art. 
From the very beginning of "The Magic Optician" the group has openly embraced the countless wide angles, oblique borders and grey areas of what constitutes the multi-coloured world of psychedelia. For the Fast Camels this comes, for the most part, in the shape of a raft of bounding beat-infused rockers and more out-and-out pop-psych styled toe-tappers. While they're not too shy of bringing in overtly vintage-sounding phrases here and there, with many eclectic references influencing the way the songs are built upon, and the general direction and layers of each performance, equally they aren't afraid of ringing the changes with some truly wistful, melodious and modern-thinking interchanges. 'Like A Magic Optician' from (obviously) 'The Magic Optician' as outlined earlier evokes the spectre of such as Syd Barrett's early days and traipses through the toytown psych world quite successfully, while tracks such as 'Golden Greeter', 'Penny Pinching Debt Collector' and 'Ken's Sad Vice' from "Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams" evince an atmosphere that comes almost from the opposite side of the spectrum, being much less psych-inclined too, and clad in something "other". Here it seems they are going for a clever, if slightly more indie sounding approach with the songs' rhythmic patterns owing more to the now than the then ...  And so it is with the presence of one or two challenging sounding snatches too that might perhaps be a little unfamiliar, or maybe not so comfortable - at least for a lot of psych and garage beat heads (who might want a slightly easier ride) but this is the bag they're in. 
I do enjoy it when some groups don't readily always fit neatly into my, or your bag too probably, as this can give them their own space and defining stance, a signpost of their own merit and making and can also invoke a sense of unity and of belonging; and not always to the pigeon-hole that you or I will automatically try to slot them into. As long as the material itself has appeal and stands out to gain our attention. Although The Fast Camels sound millions of miles away from either the likes of say The Soft Boys and REM, back in their very early days they held a similar position in the musical landscape of their day. Off kilter at times, we'll certainly, but also highly appealing and with a great sense of occasion. 

Review made by Lenny Helsing/2015
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Psychedelic Baby T-shirt

It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine T-shirts now available! Black only. S-M-L-XL. $20 US and €22 for Europe - includes shipping...
(Directly from our illustrator Justin Jackley)

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Orgasmo Sonore - Revisiting Obscure Library Music (2015) review

Orgasmo Sonore - Revisiting Obscure Library Music (Cineploit Records, 2015)

François Riendeau, better known to most by his musical alter-ego, Orgasmo Sonore has been expanding my musical tastes for quite some time now.  I discovered him while plumbing the depths of the Cineploit label’s back catalog after hearing Zoltan, who blew my mind, for the first time.  Most of the Cineploit stuff was either right up my alley or I just couldn’t get into it for one reason or another, but I think that most experimental stuff is like that to be honest though.  When I first came across Orgasmo Sonore I honestly didn’t even know what to think.  His SoundCloud page had me listening to it for days after a while, just checking out all the different kinds of stuff that he was into.  There was some instant common ground that we shared, especially Ennio Morricone, and I knew if he could approach the work of such a talented individual as that with enough reverence to do it justice and not screw it up, I could probably trust him to open up some new doors for me musically.  I was especially fascinated by his knowledge, of all things, of ‘library’ music.  With all the love and attention the giallo genre is enjoying right now there’re a ton of other styles of soundtrack work that deserve just as much praise.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to even hear a lot of that stuff without watching whatever it was used in and next to impossible to find out who performed or wrote some of it.  That’s where someone like Frank Rideau steps in and under the helping guise of the Orgasmo Sonore moniker, walks you through some of his favorite compositions that you probably had no idea even existed.  His latest release Revisiting Obscure Library Music is specifically aimed at just that in fact.  As always it was done for the Cineploit label and is available in your choice of 12” vinyl, CD, or digital formats (hyperlink is a direct webstore link, US orders can be made for some stuff through LiTA).  While Orgasmo Sonore’s previous releases have concentrated a little bit more on some of the more widely accepted types of soundtrack work from across the globe that have seen a big resurgence in popularity lately, Obscure Library Music instead focuses simply on what Orgasmo Sonore likes and listens to.  Flutes abound on the opening track “L’Erba Di Prima” and it instantly conjures images of just about any Italian film I have ever seen right from the get-go.  Orgasmo Sonore’s unique ability to translate and reinterpret soundtrack work has long been an envy of mine, but this album truly takes things to another level.  The intensity with which he recreates the soft, vibrant pallets of sound from the 60s, 70s and 80s without any of the expensive equipment is almost unbelievable.  It’s his sheer will and determination that shine through on these tracks, immaculately constructed, composed and executed by a single man.  The second track “Prairies” moves more into the Morricone zone that I felt so comfortable with when I first heard Orgasmo Sonore, the twanging guitars and wah drenched rhythm tracks bleed Spaghetti Western from every pore.  I should also point out that Orgasmo Sonore’s drumming is done live with a real drum kit, it’s not synthesized or programmed, which for me adds to the finished product of his work in a big way heavily influencing his style and setting him apart from a lot of people that use canned or synth drums.  “Prairies” sounds like a song out of time in many ways, it was obviously written and performed sometime ago, but Orgasmo Sonore breathes such a vivid new life into it that it’s hard to imagine it’s not just a pastiche or homage piece to the songs of the past, but is in fact the real deal.  Following on “Prairies” heels “White Sands” is the quintessential idea of international film muzak to my mind.  Soft, totally non-threatening guitars croon beneath a lithely shifting section of warm mellow strings and keys.  To be honest, “White Sands” actually sounds a lot like something off of the Manos: The Hands Of Fate soundtrack, which is also coincidentally going to finally be seeing an official release on vinyl this year as well.  The surrealistic tones and bizarre structure of much of the Manos material is quite evidenced in “White Sands” and give a very good clue of where the composers from Manos were drawing much of their inspiration.  “Viadotti” keeps the playful warm energy going with the next track, this time relying more on synthesized horns than strings though.  All I can imagine is two young lovers running about in a brightly lit sunny field playfully flirting in the most cheesy innocent 70s cinema sense.  The drums bound and bubble while the bass follows it accordingly and the flutes are most definitely back at this point; you can actually hear several different types if you’re paying attention in fact.  The funky, almost disco vibes of “Viadotti” are seriously infectious to say the least.  Even if you’re not a big fan of this type of stuff normally, I guarantee that this song’s going to get you!  “Tempo Suspero” instantly shifts back into my wheelhouse from there, the original composition is after all by Bruno Nicolai who I have a pretty deep affection for.  The tense, hammered harpsichord key progression that jangles above the ebbing waves of choral voices chanting beneath them, they mix and blend with the distorted electric guitar delivering a secondary lead line for the song, almost battling it out with the synth harp, before seamlessly melding together into a perfect combination of both during the apex and subsequent ending of the song.  “Tempo Suspero” is absolutely, undeniably, certifiably, one-hundred percent bad ass!  And in my opinion “Tempo Suspero” makes Revisiting Obscure Library Music worth the price of admission simply on it’s own, far outshining it’s original counterpart and standing as a glowing example of the magic that Orgasmo Sonore is able to interject into his music even when it’s someone else’s composition.  “Canon” contains a clip of some dialogue from some film from some country, though I have no idea what language it is, what movie it’s from, or what they’re talking about.  All I know is that it isn’t English, but you can draw enough from the way the dialogue is emoted to form an emotional linchpin for “Canon” which is important.  It’s a well thought out plan on Sonore’s part that, as always, plays out nearly flawlessly.  Gentle and yet somehow strong, like green wood able to bend forever without breaking, able to resist fire, able to re-grow and rebound, living and breathing – the music of “Canon” is truly breathtaking.  The seemingly simple shifting melody of haunting strings behind soft muted flutes that breath atop them are at times ghostly and haunting, while at all times absolutely beautiful.  “Canon” appears to be the essence of this project, and I think that Orgasmo Sonore has an ability, an ability to see what others can’t, an ability to breathe a new life into the sounds and emotions that he can see and perceive in the world around us that others miss and “Canon” may be one of the strongest examples of that.  “Canon” should probably come off kind of hackish or uninspired, but instead Orgasmo Sonore drives it home to a deeply emotional place based, in the most simple and pure of memories and emotions.  It’s a level of thought applied to music that very few people outside of the actual soundtrack field are even capable of beginning to comprehend, let alone apply.  Moving forward “Confronto” is another piano and harpsichord driven song.  This time though the song’s much more in the thriller vein, the piano and harpsichord being teamed beside groaning organs and a series of echoed bass lines that hold the entire piece together.  I’d really love to hear Orgasmo Sonore tackle one of these Revisiting albums with just his choice of mystery and thriller stuff as I think that’s where he shines the most, but maybe that’s just my closed mindedness speaking because honestly, given a choice, I’m not sure I’d see a single limitation placed on Orgasmo Sonore outside of something Frank would dream up himself.  His work is always intriguing and his vision unparalleled, being just a few of the reasons he’s one of my favorite things going right now.  His intricate ear for detail and attention to such things makes him perfectly suited for creating rich and vivid performance, even if like “Confronto” they last only about two minutes.  During this finite period of time “Confronto” wavers back and forth between suspenseful mourning tones and fits of diabolical fear of some unknown thing that’s stalking you through dark streets and darkened alleyways of Orgasmo Sonore’s music that lead to “Moonlight Drive”, which is another of Revisiting Library Music’s most interesting moments.  It starts off woefully sullen, a choir of voices chanting in unison behind a slow melancholy melody, before exploding into a synthesizer lead a la the original 60s Star Trek and getting funky with it.  And I do mean funky.  The bass and flutes begin to square off and shimmy down repeated progressions of call and repeat with each other.  Now, some of this album feels like much neglected soundtrack work that could have been, or was, drawn from some of the great composers of the giallo and horror world, but this is not one of those tracks.  “Moonlight Drive” attempts to really bring home the idea that you’re listening to a much more inclusive and altogether probably more interesting and intelligent collection of music than such a stilted pigeonholed view of music from that period.  “A Mind Level” combines¬¬¬ the two opposite sides of the same coin in one convenient package right after that, as if subconsciously agreeing with me.  It’s at once both very rooted in the Carpentercore synth heavy sound of horror as well as the funky giallo and westerns soundtracks from around Italy.  It’s an extremely interesting combination to say the least.  Jazzy 80s guitars team up with a romping bass to tag team on and off with the heavy lead synth lines that permeate from “A Mind Level” from the bottom up.  The next track “Electric Manages” takes the world music genre and ingeniously flips it on its head.  At first it sounds like fairly generic world music, but then the creepy synthesized progressions and blips of keys begin to appear.  It’s also the only song on the album that I’m aware of that utilizes a vocoder, if only for one line ‘electric nightmares’ which is echoed several times throughout “Electric Manages”.  It’s as funk and giallo disco as it is discombobulated horror or thriller fodder, and it thinly treads a line of foraying into almost laughable territory.  But somehow it never once even sets foot there.  Again I think this is proof of Orgasmo Sonore’s impeccable taste and untouchable knowledge of the proud heritage from where he draws his sounds, influences, and sometimes as in this case, even compositions.  “Space Team” may well be the best track on Revisiting Obscure Library Music but I’m not sure I can explain exactly why that is.  The tightly wound synth arp in the background melts into the undulating synthesizers that probe the gritty world around them, gliding effortlessly above the rest of the mix.  It may be the almost flute like tones that Orgasmo manages to smuggle into the song, but it’s one a minute and forty seconds and I’m kind of unsure how such a short piece of work can be my favorite piece amongst such an impressive collection of otherwise pretty well full-fledged full-length songs.  Finishing out the album is the track “Gypsy Manou”.  “Gypsy Manou” seems to combine every type of music present on Revisiting Obscure Library Music, the few extremely heartfelt almost ballad like songs such as “Canon” notwithstanding, however it’s the only other track on the album with any dialogue, and again in another language, so don’t ask me what they’re talking about.  There’s funky dissonant electric guitar in the background though, tight lively drums holding a tightly wound jazz rhythm most definitely inspired by Goblin, and there’s some wonderful piano work as well.  It’s amazing to think that one person is able to simply pick up this many different instruments, sounds and unconnected pieces and then assemble them back into a reconstructed interpretation of music of which most people would have dismissed or simply forgotten about.  The triumphant lead lines of the electric guitar that build and grow along with a hissing synthesizer snarling a repeated melody along it’s side begin to break down more and more and when it’s finally greeted by a small symphony of strings, it exudes one last call into the darkness before withering away into a shrinking pinhole of sound to end the album.  Revisiting Library Music is an impressive album for a lot of different reasons, but none more so than its subject matter.  This is music that other people considered toss away stuff, nothing to be acknowledged or admired.  Frank Rideau not only vehemently disagrees with this sentiment, but with his absolutely back breaking release schedule I have no doubt that he’ll be delivering more testaments of his sermon in his continued attempts to win people over to this kind of music and his style of viewing music.  His all-encompassing, all welcoming acceptance of all things presented to him with a truly open mind.  I still remember the note that he sent me with the LP.  All it really said was, “Hope you enjoy this and it introduces you to a whole new world of music”.  It has Frank, it most certainly has.  I pay more attention to every note on every single thing that I watch or hear.  I appreciate cues and clips more.  In short, Orgasmo Sonore made my world a little bit of a better place with this album and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank him enough for it.  If you want to get in on the experience than I highly recommend you get a move on.  Everything that Cineploit puts out is limited, even their CDs are usually limited to no more than 500 copies.  So swing by there brand new webshop (don’t worry there’s a link below, no need for nasty Google searches) and if you need more testament to the skills and diverse nature of Orgasmo Sonore’s music than check out the SoundCloud link below for everything you’d ever need.  Oh, and enjoy!

- Listen to some music here:

Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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