New issue of Scram hot off the presses

It is a banner day: I just got back from picking up Scram 22 from the printer, and I’m dizzy with ink fumes.

The new issue of the journal of unpopular culture includes a feature comprised of the interviews that informed the Ruston section of my 33 1/3 book about Neutral Millk Hotel. Robert Schneider, Laura Carter, Julian Koster and Scott Spillane all speak at greater length than they did in the book about E6 pre-Athens, and Robert shares some live photos from 1996 that I think have not been published previously.

Also in this issue: nature-loving folkie Vashti Bunyan, gay glam-punk Paul "Baby Bones" Vanase, private librarian and African literary scholar Kurt Thometz, Chicago bluesman Nick Gravenites and session piano cat Lincoln Mayorga, plus scads of reviews.

If interested in this or other Scrams, please visit for more info


Crop Circles Uncovered!

   If we can all quit staring at the
covers clothing
Zeppelin’s big box sets for a few moments,

let us ponder instead
the metaphysical / comparatively higher fidelity
heard round Michigan’s one and only Steve Kilpatrick
and his Westside Crop Circles.

Audible right now,
yes indeed,
(along with Me and Oprah, My Pajamas and The Pain even)

right there amidst all the very latest Ear Candy.

Zoso it goes…..

GQ discovers the Sex Clark 5

GQ has asked various notables to recommend their favorite Unsung Musical Heroes. New Pornographers’ leaders A.C. Newman selected Lost in the Grooves own Sex Clark 5, and a clip of their earwormy "Faith" is on the GQ website.

To learn more about this magical Alabama pop outfit, hear samples or buy some music, please click here


Jumping Into The Fray- My First Next Big Thing

Some of you old timers may know it. It’s an odd type of thrill. The idea that you have been privy to a secret that only a select few know. Like being in on the inside joke before it became known to others. It’s seeing a band– before they hit it big.

U-2 at the Paradise Rock Lounge in 1983,

The Rolling Stones open with Mozart in 1562 (I kid)

Dave Matthews in a coffee shop in Charlottesville, VA in 1991.

Jeff Buckley at Sin-é a few years later.


Every band has had its modest startings, and, being a teenager, I had never really heard a band before they hit it big.


Until I heard the Fray last November.


It was a cold night on November 5, 2005– exactly the time and place where one might find musical gold. The Orpheum is an alleyway theatre at the end of Hamilton Place in Boston’s Park Street Gardens, the border between the gleaming neighborhoods that hold the 40,000 seat Boston Garden arena, and How To Save a Life

the blocks that once held the infamous Chinatown Combat Zone– where there are clubs that can’t fit 40, much less 40,000.


The funny thing is, that night; no one is coming to see this unknown band from Denver, CO. They are coming to see Piano Rock living legend/maestro/creative genius Ben Folds, the main act that the Fray is opening for. While the band begins its set, most of the people who were able to get tickets to Folds’ concert are still clambering off the Boston Trolleys (Or “T’s,” as us locals affectionately refer to them). The ages range from teenaged babysitters to middle-aged baby boomers, and they all stumble down the dark street, away from the Boston Common, towards the Orpheum’s grimy exterior, in search of their bi-annual Folds fix.


Inside, Isaac Slade (see photo at right), the front man of The Fray, Isaac Slade

launches into the piano solo that heralds the song that the band has now become known for (“Over My Head”). Slade and his mates have come a long way from their hometown of Denver, Colorado, and they are enjoying the new adulation that comes from a national tour. The theatre is less then half full, but gradually, all private conversations cease, and the members of the Fray have the full attention of the crowd. Many cheer… but others simply see the Fray as the last buffer between them and Ben Folds— they wait for the set to be over.


I leave the theatre awed at the musical genius of Ben Folds, but a little nagging thought pushes its way into my head.


Who in the hell are The Fray to make me want to hear them again? So I figure on doing what I always do when I hear a band whose songs stick in my head. Listen to their best work over and over, until I get tired of them, and eventually, when they fade further down on my playlist and slip from my mind, I look for a new band.


Fast forward to April 26th. The Fray is still on my mind. I find their album How to Save a Life (buy it here) to be the best freshman work I have ever heard, and the title song to be melodic, adrenaline-filled, and touching. When I hear their signature track “Over My Head (Cable Car),” on the radio in Arizona, or on the top 10 list on iTunes, or an article about them in Rolling Stone magazine, I get excited, and I know that, even if I missed U-2 in ’83—I saw the Fray in ’05.

Take this home and chew on it.

It’s delicious.

Alex E.


P.S. I will keep writing about these guys. They rule.

Absolutely Frank Words

  (Still whizzing and pasting – and pooting even — through my newly-acquired stack of vintage Zappa material, folks, only to discover…..)

Those sophomore 12-inches from Frank and his Mothers are, I’m afraid, just too easily overlooked and unheard, stretching as they do between the twin monumental peaks of Freak Out and We’re Only In It For The Money.  But in rear-view, I posit that spiffy little long-player known as Absolutely Free, recorded in a mere twenty-five hours circa 11/66, reveals itself to be, maybe, just maybe, the man’s true whacked masterpiece.

Two vinyl-side-long suites examining the festered underbelly of LBJ’s America, its ragged overall sheen of wise-ass vocals and hot-rawk jamming may indeed lure the listener in for Just Another Boogie From L.A., granted.  But as no less an expert on the subject as original Mother Don Preston has since revealed, much of Absolutely Free was in fact painstakingly rehearsed and recorded in intricate four-and-eight-bar sections requiring dozens of takes apiece, and the music itself was just as comfortable quoting Stravinsky as it was the Supremes, Kingsmen, and/or the band’s beloved vegetable-encrusted doo-wop. 

Also, this record just happens to contain the legendary original appearance of “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” which, if I may be so bold, absolutely eats Pete Townshend’s “A Quick One While He’s Away” in the mod mini-opera department.

But finally, take one quick listen to “Why Don’tcha Do Me Right,” the band’s 1967 non-hit single included as an Absolutely Free bonus track, and find yourself agreeing with Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play Zappauthor Ben Watson when he claims that had The Mothers released only a rare seven-inches or two or three like this back in the daze, then duly disappeared, they’d be widely hailed today as one of the world’s most wholly Nugget-worthy Garage Rock Wonders.  Excuse me while I call Little Steven’s radio show with a request…..             

PS:  Quiz Time, boys and girls!

Which future member of none other than Monty Python made his audio debut on Side Two of Absolutely Free ??

First correct response wins an all-expense-paid trip as the first member of the Peace Corps to be sent to Alabama, as The Big Surfer would say…..

cult of the week – Suburban Lawns

artist: Suburban Lawns

title: Baby

year: 1983

label: IRS Records

personnel: Su Tissue (vocals, keyboards, congas, bongo, bass, synthesizer), William Ranson (bass, vocals, guitar), Frankie Ennui (guitar, vocals), Chuck Roast (drums, percussion), John McBurney (guitars), Richard Mazda (guitarsynthesizer, synthesizer)

tracklisting: flavor crystals, enjoy, hug you, baby, cowboy

further info:

cotw say

Dumb Angel’s Potpourri, Vol. 2

This month’s DUMB ANGEL blog features a mish-mash of cool happenings, groovy releases we’ve deemed worthy of (cyber) ink and a tad more of that lost coolness that we’ve dug up from the far corners of SoCal’s beach towns.


Dig a few new releases that we felt were worthy of special attention…

A Review of Mama Guitar Holiday

In a world where so-called “rockers” often can’t name four Chuck Berry songs, an all-girl trio from Japan has found the Chuck Berry-meets-surf tone that absorbed the entirety of the Beach Boys’ 1963 garage-band opus, Surfin’ U.S.A. One listen to Mama Guitar’s “Ready to Go” from their newest EP, Mama Guitar Holiday, and you’ll realize that their sound is no mistake. “After Dark” is a breezy, summer-night instrumental, replete with Mama Guitar’s gentle ‘la-la-la’ harmonies, akin to Brian Wilson’s blissed-out “Passing By” (from the 1968 Friends album). In keeping the vibe of 1963 real, during the break of Holiday’s “When We Put Our Bikinis On,” lead singer Jun asks, “Am I so cute?” To which the chorus of Iris (bassist) and Yoko (drums) scream, “Yeah!” Jun retorts, “But I don’t wanna go!” Chorus: “Why not?” Jun: “Because I’m fat!” Oh no… this is all by design, friends. The lyrics and music only gets groovier from there. Dig these lunar lyrics to “Tomorrow’s Sea”:

It’s time to leave here,
We’re in the sea breeze.

Somewhere else we’ll go,
Anywhere you want,
Dreaming of tomorrow’s sea.

White sand, moon, stars and you,
Only that moment, all of them are mine.

Mama Guitar’s Holiday

Dumb Angel co-editor Brian Chidester sat down with Mama Guitar for a little Q&A.

Who are your biggest musical influences?
Jun (Guitar/Vocals/Songwriter): Brian Wilson, King & Goffin, Greenwich & Barry, Phil Spector
Iris (Bass/Vocals): Shangri-La’s and more.
Yoko (Drums): The Beatles!

What inspired you to do MAMA GUITAR HOLIDAY?
Iris: It’s a secret!
Yoko: Peaceful days.
Jun: We just put together some summer songs we already had been playing, and added a few more new songs.

If you could play anywhere in the world, at any venue, where would it be?
Yoko: California’s beach or big grasslands somewhere.
Iris: I want to go to anywhere we can go!

Do you have a boyfriend?
Jun: No . . .
Iris: It’s a secret.
Yoko: I’m married!

What kind of boys do you like?
Jun: I like people who are kind, friendly and funny.
Iris: Gentle, and who has nice smile person!
Yoko: A gentle and bright person.

Favorite thing to do on a date?
Iris: Lunch in the park.

Mama Guitar, Hamburg Tour

Favorite bands?
Jun: The Beach Boys, the Zombies, the Hollies, the Beatles, the Monkees, Four Seasons.
Yoko: Sly and the Family Stone, the Kinks, the Beatles, the Zombies, the Hollies.
Iris: Shangri-La’s, Kinks, Serge Gainesbourg.

Favorite singers?
Jun: Annette, Robin Ward, Shelley Fabares, Ronnie Spector, Claudine Longet, Yui Asaka, Brian Wilson, Colin Blunstone
Yoko: Colin Blunstone, Ronnie Spector, Carol King, James Brown, Bob Dylan.

Favorite album?
Jun: The Beach Boys Today!
Iris: Anna.
Yoko: The Beatles’ Rubber Soul.

Your hobbies?
Yoko: Collecting dolls and cute things, and shopping.
Iris: Making sweets, sewing and frogs… I’m keeping many little frogs!
Jun: Taking naps.

Favorite movie?
Jun: The Trouble with Harry
Iris: Anna, Betty Blue.
Yoko: Toto the Hero, Times and Honors, Buffalo 66.

Favorite TV show?
Yoko: Animation of the Beatles!
Jun: Sukeban Deka, Little House on the Prairie

Favorite food?
Jun: Steak, Potatoes
Iris: Ice cream and spicy food.
Yoko: Cheese, seafood, chocolate.

Favorite candy?
Jun: Yogurt flavored Chelsea.
Yoko: Milk-flavored soft candy.

If you were trapped on a deserted island with one person, who would that person be?
Jun: Msama.
Iris: My darling.
Yoko: My husband.

Favorite Sanrio character/animal?
Jun: Pigs, hippos and elephants.
Iris: FROG!
Yoko: I’m not interested in Sanrio character, but I love Monchicchi! It’s a monkey baby’s doll.

Personal plans for the future?
Jun: I don’t have any yet.
Iris: For now, I want to lose my weight!
Yoko: I want to be an owner of a little shop and I want to be a tender mother!

Are hippies ever cool?
Jun: It’s not really my kind of style, so I don’t have an opinion.
Yoko: I think so!

Do you like what Gwen Stefani is doing with pop culture today?
Jun: I don’t know her, sorry.
Iris: Sorry, don’t know her.

—Brian Chidester

Mama Guitar’s Holiday EP

A Review of Jan & Dean’s Popsicle (CD Reissue by Sundazed Records)

This is as good a place to get started with Jan & Dean as any. It’s pure 1966 marketing, which in itself is an enlightened thing. The Popsicle album was released by Liberty Records that year after Jan Berry’s accident, and the Sunshine Pop single climbed immediately up the charts… the last real Jan & Dean hit, in sequence. But… get this… “Popsicle Truck” (as it was originally titled) had been released on the Drag City album in 1963. That’s the beauty of Popsicle; Liberty found a bunch of album tracks of ambient merit for 1966, and just pumped ’em out there. One can immediately recognize the quality of Jan & Dean’s work, that is, stuff lyin’ around on their albums that coulda been singles, or that worked in another time zone. It actually becomes a collection of their most interesting material outside of the obvious hits, and therefore a new listener can come to the group with the whole thing being a fresh experience.

Jan & Dean’s Popsicle LP Cover, 1966

These great tracks are also sequenced in a groovy manner that makes for cool and casual listening. Side two runs through a vibe so lucid, it includes a Jill Gibson song, a Brian Wilson song, a Brian Wilson song, then another Jill Gibson song… all collaborations with Jan Berry (with pals Roger Christian and Don Altfeld pitchin’ in on occasion).

Once the side kicks off with a very, very Psyhedelic Surf Pastiche Washout version of the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” (love it when Jan Berry emulates and eventually uses sitars, like later on “Fan Tan,” “Mullholland” and others from the still-unreleased Carnival of Sound album from 1968), it goes to the Jill Gibson/Jan Berry duet “A Surfer’s Dream.” For my money, this is the most idyllic song of the whole surf shebang. Jill shows up again on the Brian Wilson/Jan Berry chillout “Surf Route 101”, this time doin’ the sexy voice of the girl who tags along for a surfari . . . Jill intones “I dig your Woody, lover, let’s disappear.” Next we cut to a brilliant, generally unheard Berry/Wilson rocker, “Surfin’ Wild,” where Jan finally figures it out; “Well I know what I want, yeh, got it all planned, gonna surf all day then sleep in the sand.” Sounds good to me.

The expansive Jill Gibson number “Waimea Bay” follows, showing Jan Berry already capable of arrangements on the level of what Brian Wilson would achieve by the time of Pet Sounds. This earlier production fits in with the 1966 feel perfectly.

Closing side two’s sequence is a nod to the fashion controversy of the decade, Rudi Gernreich’s topless bathing suit. That’s another beauty about this LP. Jan & Dean got this wired during 1964 with “One Piece Topless Bathing Suit,” which made for an even better environment on Popsicle, due to the growing promiscuity 1966 seemed to envelop. The greens and yellows so prominent in clothing and album covers that year are nothing more than a shift toward sunlight and lovers lyin’ around in the tall grass with marigolds all around them. “One Piece Topless Bathing Suit,” the grand dandy of ’em all, makes for an optimistic closer, a good vibe, a good feeling, evocative of graphic design where sunlight through her tan hair became a stock, indelible image always harking back to that very 1966.

Jan & Dean’s tour booklet, designed by Dean Torrence in graphics class at USC, 1965

Then you get side one, too. After the joyous vibraphone and nonsense backing vocals of “Popsicle” comes “The Restless Surfer,” kicking in the feel of wanderlust right away. This Gary Zekley tune title is what I plucked as a non-de-plume when I wrote the liner notes for those Surfer’s Mood albums way back in the early ’90s (another golden decade, for people who loathe hessians, like me). Dean’s falsetto on the end of “The Restless Surfer” may also rank among the top yearning vocal moments in rock ’n’ roll, fully encompassing desire in the heart of the protagonist.

Next up is another boss, neglected Brian Wilson/Jan Berry number “She’s My Summer Girl,” originally the flip side of “Surf City” — the first in a series of Berry/Wilson hits including “Drag City,” “Dead Man’s Curve,” “The New Girl in School” and “Ride the Wild Surf”… (which you may already have somewhere). “Down at Malibu Beach” is a casual Chuck Berry workout; guitarist Billy Strange gets to pull a few hot licks, and that’s followed by another Malibu callout on “Summer Means Fun.”

Without a doubt, this a cooler version of “Summer Means Fun” than the hit by Bruce & Terry, or the Fantastic Baggys’ fine version (which shares the same backing track as J&D). Jan Berry’s lead vocal just seems to capture the meaning of the lyric better, and in this respect, he’s in league with early Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry… again, having a real feel for rock ’n’ roll at its source. “Tennessee” closes, and at first it seems out of 1966 feel, but it’s great to go back to this 1962 track and hear Plas Johnson’s “Surfer’s Stomp”-like saxophone solo. It’s a hark back to R&B vocal times in a way similar to what the Mothers of Invention would achieve when they recorded Cruisin’ with Ruben & the Jets in 1968. Already, the psychedelic world was ready for a throwback.

The only cut that seems to be missing from this slapdash affair is Jill Gibson’s “It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3.” But we won’t spend time second-guessing the uncredited Liberty Records employee who had the good sense to sequence this thing brilliantly otherwise. A year later, Paul Williams would write a review for The Byrds Greatest Hits in Crawdaddy! (later available in his book Outlaw Blues) describing the packaging and sequencing of this particular greatest hits package as an art form in itself. Popsicle manages that same artfullness for a collection of songs that, by Jan & Dean standards, would be their “underground” selections.

That packaging matched the gorgeous Watts Tower photographs of the 1966 Jan & Dean tour program designed by Dean Torrence — a precursor to his Kittyhawk Graphics work. In a year’s time, Dean would be designing for the Turtles and did a similar tour program for the Mamas & the Papas. Jill Gibson also wound up in the Mamas & the Papas for a while (singing on the hit “Look Through My Window,” and on plenty of the group’s second album). Popsicle, as packaging, can be seen as leaning in that direction, a sojourn both Jan and Dean would find on their own when recording the Psychedelic Surf Pastiche Washout masterworks Carnival of Sound and Save for a Rainy Day respectively. Popsicle, as music, shows that they had these expansive instincts with them during what may be considered, to some, as a more primitive juncture in their career. A time, however, that was high in both creativity and success.

If only their 1966 TV show pilot Jan and Dean on the Run would have been able to continue… a special nod here to “Time and Space” and “Capitol City” from that ready for Psych-Surf-Pastiche project. Oh well…

—Domenic Priore (with Mark A. Moore)

Jan & Dean at Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers


The editors at DUMB ANGEL have dug up more goodies from the seemingly endless well of coolness that has come out of Balboa. In a now-recurring theme of this blog site, we present you with a pair of reviews, a batch of film glossies and a summary of DUMB ANGEL’s April 2nd gig, in the Newport/Balboa area (at Sid’s Blue Beet).

From the Balboa segment of Lord Love A Duck

Lord Love a Duck (1965)

United Artists, B&W, 105 Minutes
George Axelrod (Producer/Director)
George Axelrod and Larry H. Johnson (Screenplay)
Based on the Novel by Al Hine

Roddy McDowall and Tuesday Weld . . . punks in the classroom

The dark side, inner-workings of Beach Party-era star-making is just one of many social phenomena satired and deconstructed in the opulent, punk-spirited Lord Love a Duck. The hypocrisy and wasted time inherent to religion, the education system, psychoanalysis and used car sales are all equated; nothing is taboo. Roddy McDowall is a Dada-meets-Go Go version of the somnambulist in Fritz Lang’s The Cabinet of Dr. Calgari, one step ahead of everyone in his world. Tuesday Weld plays his foil, a High School vamp who is part and parcel to McDowall’s schemes. Harvey Korman (Blazing Saddles, The Carol Burnett Show) is typically despicable as the school principal. Students look bad-ass wearing sunglasses in class. Weld graduates from the lame rules of the Cashmere Sweater Club in school, and becomes a beach flick movie star, getting everything she wants through McDowall’s wise-guy maneuvers. On a trip to Balboa Island for Spring Break, the director of “15 beach movies” spots Weld and eventually turns her into a 16-year-old version of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. There is much twisting, hully-gully-ing and watusi during the Balboa segment, and punk music is soundtracked by both Neil Hefti (“Batman” theme) and the Wild Ones, a New York City combo who were then house band at Arthur (they also made a great appearance in The Fat Spy with Jayne Mansfield, played the After Hours shows at Hullabaloo on Sunset in ’66, and at the L.A. version of Arthur when it opened at 666 N. La Cienega Boulevard in 1968).

—Domenic Priore

New York Go Go in a Hollywood way, 1965

Tuesday Weld, mid-’60s

Back to Balboa, by the Stan Kenton Orchestra (1958)

Stan HentonIn 1958, Stan Kenton organized his latest version of the Stan Kenton Orchestra and took them back to where Kenton Mach One broke in 1941… the town of Balboa (and more specifically, the Rendezvous Ballroom). Back to Balboa was recorded live during the Kenton Orchestra’s last residence at the Rendezvous in 1957-58, and features a bevy of placid Lennie Niehaus sax solos, adding to the album’s overall lounginess. Label this another seaside tone-poem to be included in DUMB ANGEL’s ever-growing pantheon of Balboa LPs and singles. Several cuts feature the word “blue” in the title (a locale-description later employed by Joe Saraceno for his moody Mar-Kets hit “Balboa Blue”), while “Rendezvous at Sunset” wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the seasonal ’50s flick A Summer Place. The symphonic trumpet blasts that open the song (in classic Kenton pomp) quickly give way to a mellow moodiness rarely found in ’40s or ’50s Kenton. The dawn of “Champagne Music” had arrived.

—Brian Chidester

Dumb Angel Co-Editor Brian Chidester at Sid’s Blue Beet. © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

The Orange County Launch Party for Dumb Angel #4: All Summer Long… Featuring the Ghastly Ones, the Boardwalkers and special guest Billy Hinsche, Sunday, April 2

Last night’s show at Sid’s Blue Beet in Newport Beach went off like a charm. The Boardwalkers kicked open the bill and impressed everyone with their fine-tailored surf instrumental skill. Billy Hinsche followed, providing the folk enlightenment for the evening. He performed “Two in the Afternoon,” “Tell Someone You Love Them,” “Lady Love” and “Thru Spray-Colored Glass” (the theme song from 1969’s surf movie soundtrack, Follow Me), plus songs from his career retrospective Mixed Messages. The show was closed with an absolute punk-out by the Ghastly Ones, who brought the house down with their organ-drenched, garage-fuzztone. Tunes from the Ventures’ psychotic Wild Things! album were performed (“Fuzzy and Wild”). Celebrities in the audience included Rockin’ Jelly Bean (from Jackie & the Cedrics), Darian Sahanaja (of the Wondermints and Brian Wilson’s band), 1976 World Surfing Champ Peter Townsend (who doubled for William Katt in Big Wednesday) and Jim Frias (from the original 1964 Santa Ana surf band, the Nocturnes… also a short-term member of the Chantays and the Trademarks). Here’s a few pictures from Sid’s, we’ll have more next month.

The Boardwalkers: Dan Valentie, guitar; Mark Hoeschler, bass; Marty Tippens, drums — © 2006 William Robert Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

Boardwalkers guitarist: Dan Valentie — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Boardwalkers bassist: Mark Hoeschler — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Boardwalkers drummer: Marty Tippens — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

DJ Penelope Pitstop — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Billy Hinsche provides the folk of the evening, giving the night a Five Summer Stories legitimacy. © 2006 William Robert Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

Formerly with the Beach Boys during the mid-’70s, Hinsche’s band (Dino, Desi & Billy) recorded “Thru Spray-Colored Glassesâ€Â in 1969 for the surf movie soundtrack, Follow Me. Tonight he performed the song, for the first time anywhere, at Sid’s Blue Beet. © 2006 William Robert Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

Debbie Shair (Marizane, Candypants) and Darian Sahanaja (Wondermints, the Brian Wilson band) share a moment of meditation and reflection with Dumb Angel Co-Editor Domenic Priore — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

Surfer’s mood with Billy Hinsche. © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

DJ Brian Chidester — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

DJ Penelope Pitstop confers with DJ Domenic Priore — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

Jim Frias (left), original Surf-era saxophonist of the Nocturnes (from Santa Ana), drops in to the Blue Beet . . . and was stoked to hear DJ Domenic Priore spin the 45 “Baha-Ree-Bah” by the Trademarks (another band he performed with back in the day). The Nocturnes’ recordings can be heard on Rare Surf Vol. 2 (AVI), while the Trademarks were comped on Wail on the Beach (Satan Records) — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

The Ghastly Ones — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Go Go Dancers Kari French (left) and Monique groove with the Ghastly Ones — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

Boss Go Go: Monique — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

Boss Go Go: Kari French — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Go Go bohemia with the Ghastly Ones, shot from the 2nd floor crow’s nest. © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

Ghastly Ones organist: Dave “Captain Clegg” Klein — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Ghastly Ones drummer Norman “Baron Shivers” Cabrera steps out front, Trashmen style. ©2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Ghastly Ones bassist: Kevin “Sir Go Go Ghostly” Hair — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Ghastly Ones guitarist: Garrett “Dr. Lehos” Immel — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

Go Go Relief: Monique — © 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

DJ Penelope Pitstop chats with Domenic Priore and Audrey Moorehead (the It’s Happening crew) while friend Ingo Pfenning, visiting from Germany (lower right), checks out a Greater L.A. area environment that hasn’t been seen since the release of How To Stuff A Wild Bikini in 1965. — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

We’d like to think Morey Amsterdam (as “Cappy”) is looking down on us from above — © 2006 David Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

© 2006 Christopher Grisanti. All Rights Reserved.

The Spy Business Revealed!

   One of the best albums you may have missed in 2005 was made by Vermont’s latest phenomenal pop combo, the men with the mojo themselves (that’s all in their own words, of course);  yes, I virtually speak of none other than Raquel’s Boys, and their Music For The Girl You Love.

Well, that was then, but NOW they’ve just recorded their very second long-player, The Spy Business, and it just may be every bit as clandestinely coooool as their first outing was, and forever shall be:

Kicking straight off with “Let’s Live,” the Great Neil Young / Big Star Duet That (unfortunately) Never Was, the boys’ latest forty minutes is more than chockfull of semi-reverent nods towards the sonic past (“Alice Faye” may just as well be the choicest of all possible pre-Cheap Trick demos, “Underdog” pits David Watts vs. Victoria and the Bubblegum-go-round, then “Springtime” absolutely squeals out for a brand new Turtles album already!!).  

But that’s not all:  “The Greatest Show Of All” and “Undercover” especially truly deserve immediate soundtrack duty on the Cartoon Network’s latest Puffy TV series, while “Orange Soda” – appearing very soon indeed on JAM Recordings’ next This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio comp — takes Teenage Fanclub down to the local Dairy Queen and THEN some.

Still, your ears, like mine, may find themselves most drawn to an uncharacteristically Raquelian sweet and even soft trio of tracks (“Pupils,” “Only Kisses,” and “Pal”) which are as delightfully delicate musically as they are intriguing lyrically.  Such nice li’l totally disarming charmers they are, you know.

So, this album isn’t quite out yet, I do not think.  But when it does appear, you know I’ll be all over it for you, yes indeed.

Stay Totally Tuned then…..   

cult of the week – Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls

artist: Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls

title: Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls

year: 1980

label: RSO Records

personnel: Pauline Murray, Martin Hannett, Steve Hopkins, Robert Blamire, John Maher, Dave Rowbotham, Dave Hassell, Vini Reilly

tracklisting: screaming in the darkness, dream sequence, european eyes, shoot you down, sympathy, time slipping, drummer boy, thundertunes, when will we learn, mr x, judgement day

further info:

cotw say

admiration for the work of Factory Records’ remarkable in-house producer Martin Hannett has grown with each year that has passed since his untimely death in 1991. time, then, to appraise one the of the lesser known works in the Hannett catalogue, production and arrangement duties for ex-Penetration singer Pauline Murray’s solo debut with the assistance of Steve Hopkins.

those familiar with Hannett and Hopkins’ best known appearance as the Invisible Girls – namely, the majority of the recorded output of punk poet John Cooper-Clarke – will be familiar with the sounds and textures here. despite Hannett’s better-known associations with gloom (i.e. Joy Division), his work as an arranger is much lighter and poppier. piano, wispy synthesized strings and pads, distant guitar textures and typically echoing drums are all perfectly suited to Murray’s fey, quite ornate vocals and give the album a wonderfully expansive, but nevertheless, edgy, feel. fortunately, the songs are more than up to the task. from the pure (dark) pop of ‘Dream Sequence’ and ‘Shoot you Down’ to the artier and more urgent ‘Mr X’, each track manages to maintain a defiantly European quality which avoids even the slightest hint of a blues-based melody and should appeal to most.

invisible, perhaps. but let’s hope not for much longer.

Merseybeat Unearthed!

  For those of us born right around the time Elvis kinda invented rock ‘n’ roll, but especially for any VH1-educated readers out there who actually believe The Beatles truly were, are, and 4-everafter shall be the B-all and end-all of it all, socio-musically Sixties-speaking that is:

The current Fufkin dot com contains a big piece-o-Piggery regarding three (yes, count ‘em !!) grand new discs from The Viper Label which more than answer the following musical questions …and THEN some:

* What did Gerry and the Pacemakers sound like long before they ever hooked up with Big George Martin or even Joe Meek?

* Which semi-skiffle combo out of the very northern U.K. recorded Johnny Cash songs – possibly inventing cow-punk and/or alt. C&W in the process —  decades before Rank and File actually did either??

* Did those B-52’s, masquerading beneath the nom-de-group The Four Just Men, really first record “Rock Lobster” circa 1964???

* and, lastly but far from leastly, did the one and only Kirkbys really usher in that Merseybeat-snuffing Summer of ‘67 as The 23rd Turnoff — singing the until-now seldom-heard-indeed “Flowers Are Flowering” — only to surface yet again as (…wait for it…) proto-proggers Wimple Winch ??!!!   

The answers, my friend, are flowing cross the Mersey,

but you gotta click right here to get gear, luv…..