Browsing Category Reissues

Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares

Numero never really duffs an opportunity and so it comes to pass that the archival label’s dive into the thicker, fuzzier and less comforting half of acid rock scores some solid one-offs from the gilded age of Hippiedom. Scooping up bands that seem to have gotten into more than a few bad batches and spent the evening flipping between Growers of Mushroom and Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come until inspiration struck. Run the whole thing through a tetanus shot level of fuzz and grime and you’ve pretty much got me on the line.

The most impressive aspect has to be that with a mounting glut of psych comps out there this could easily rehash a host of fun freakers with extra mileage in their “nugget” credentials. Instead, as comes expected from Numero’s obsessive-compulsive tape bin dumpster diving and ability to stick to themes, they nail the bummer psych vibe and stuff the package with a smattering of new names. Not missing a beat, the collection is wrapped in a black light poster of a cover that’s ripping on the bummer psych vibes in glowing technicolor. There are no sunshine hits here, but for those looking to run the dial on exhaust fume downer psychedelics – welcome home.



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Silverhead – Silverhead

It’s actually a bit perplexing that it has taken this long for Silverhead’s debut to attract a proper reissue. The band, often tied into glam’s evolution (they were fans of platforms, makeup and over the top costuming) actually land musically much closer to a breed of hard rock before that classic crunch found its way into the glam canon. They hew close to late Who, Beggars-era Stones and of course a touch of Bolan/Bowie, but then again who at the time wasn’t finding themselves transfixed to those two?

Their 1972 debut is packed with rockers that, while not necessarily fixated on hooks that would cement their status, definitely paved the way for bands that came in their wake. Though, without exception, “Ace Supreme” stands as a glam jam that never got its due. The song is filled with the larger-than-life persona of of the genre and it burns well past the 100 degree mark and rising. The band would, sadly, only release this album and a single follow-up before disbanding in 1974. Members would go on to fill out the ranks as session and touring members of Blondie and Robert Plant’s respective circuses and singer Michael Des Barres would actually garner more notoriety for a small recurring part on MacGuyver than he would as leader of the band.

Good to have this one back on vinyl after all the years, though. It’s a vital link in the glam chain and is worthy of a seat at the table for a discussion on the evolution of hard rock through the ’70s. The new edition comes courtesy of Vinilisssimo reproducing the long lost classic in its original form for the first time since ’73.


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Kamijo – Martha

Oftentimes rarity isn’t always a barometer for quality. Within the ranks of record collectors, obscurity is just as easily substituted for substance when desirability takes over. Rarity is all over Martha, the first of three albums recorded by Tomoaki Kamijo starting in 1971. The record, despite the albatross of scarcity is quite engaging, a ’70s pop-sike nug that takes as much from George Harrison as it does from The Incredible string Band. It’s filled with mournful ballads that would foreshadow a Japanese-psych underground years in the making, when Ghost and their circle of cracked-fuzz spirit-casters captured the imagination of a huddled generation.

While the original was hard to put hands on, vigilant reissue house Shadoks sought to bring it back to some semblance of accessibility, though Shadoks issues themselves never stick around forever. Still, this one can still be had for the canny collector and multiple dives into Kamijo’s world prove it to be a worthwhile nugget that’s deserving of unearthing. There are plenty of fourth-tier psych-folk records, but this one has the chops to hold on. It’s not bursting fourth with new ground, but it had a soft hand when needed and never indulged in the kind o schtick that would carbon date lesser contenders with a pastiche of ’60s hallmarks.


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Voight/465 – Slights Still Unspoken

A gem from the bowels of Australia’s post-punk scene, Voight/465 broke out with a hellbent single, “State”/”A Secret West”. The single gained airplay at home and abroad, on John Peel’s show, solidifying some interest in the band. They’d fracture before they even entertained longevity, though, with bassist Lindsay O’Meara making moves to leave for Crime & The City Solution, which featured members from a disbanded Birthday Party. Before they split, they decided to lay down an album that would stand as a document of their time together. The LP, Slights Unspoken was released in limited edition on the small label Unanimous Weld Enunciations.

The band’s sound admittedly owes a debt to several sets of influences. While it’s decidedly in the post-punk spectrum, the band picks at the carcass of Krautrock, toys with glam, and in their debut single finds their way into some psych touches. They find themselves in league with Pere Ubu and have an admitted love for Roxy Music, but there feels like more than a little similarity to Sparks on standout track, “Voices A Drama.” The album is an acerbic mix, and it’s easy to see why fans have long held an affinity for the short-lived band’s works.

Guersson wraps up the band’s debut single, plus their swan song album alongside studio and live bonus cuts, making this probably the most definitive view of the band’s rather short career. This isn’t one that’s going to land on the most essential issues of all time, but its a great romp for those who are interested in the crushed aluminum side of punk’s history or Australia’s backwaters of punk rock. Lots to explore here from a band who were lost without reason, given the amount of talent coursing through their ranks.

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Stefano Marcucci – Tempo Di Demoni, Papi, Angioli, Incensi E Cilici

Now I’m not sure how your brain works, but for me, there are definitely some trigger words that pop up in descriptions that beg a further look. Staple a phrase like, “bizarre hidden synth-ridden psychedelic concept pop” to “short-run demonic religious performance” and file it under the genre Italian Library Music and I’m all but sold. Now, is this just the beady-eyed crew at Finders Keepers baiting me? Not so! Their reissue of Stefano Marcucci’s lost piece of esoteric psychdedelia warrants a pretty hefty exploration. The record was commissioned for a short-run theatrical project, but after hearing the score composed by beat group member Marcucci, the staff at Flower records saw potential beyond its religious audience.

This being the time period of quasi-religious rock opera of all shades, I honestly don’t blame them. The late ’60s and early ’70s had a predilection for bending the bible to their own Earth-child whims and, why not take a performance of that ilk and funnel it into one more piece of Godspell-gumball machine fodder? Well, the Italian is probably a stopping point for most, but Marcucci has a way around gospel-swung psych-folk. It’s those synths that take it to the next level though. The composer gives the straight pipe organ its place, but peppers in an early version of the Minimoog to the proceedings, giving it a swell of ’70s grandeur that befits his hybrid vision. The band backing up the record is tight and the choral pieces waver between stately and hippie ho-down, making this a perfect combination of time period and talent. It’s got something for the heads, something for the saints (if your Italian is on point) and something for the Library aficionados to ponder over.


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The Blondes – The Blondes

The aughts had its fair share of power pop – from Sloan to Matthew Sweet, Fountains of Wayne to late Apples in Stereo, there was no real shortage of sticky sweet pop that owed a fair amount of debt to the Yellow Pills set and Big Star. Still, the the majority of those bands used the genre as a jumping off point to splash in some ’90s grunge grit and bittersweet songwriting that put them in line with a new indie ethos. For L.A.’s Blondes, the heyday of ’70s power pop, tinged with just the right holdover of glam seemed the golden standard. To be fair, they hit the mark pretty dead on in the end.

Formed as Eagle in 1998, the band claimed members from music and art circles alike, crossing over membership with Eels, Beachwood Sparks and The Lilys. The band also contained indie icon and photographer Autumn De Wilde , who may have had more of a hand in effecting indie rock’s heyday than most of her L.A. compatriots. Of course, on release, the name Eagle drew the attention of classic rocker/general curmudgeon Don Henley and he put the kibosh on that moniker. Hence, they resurfaced as The Blondes.

Their first album was in 2002, following a spot-on cover of Mud’s “Dyna-mite”. By this time, several founding members, including De Wilde had left the group, but the band still captured the flicker-flame perfection of bubblegum-glam and the giddiness of power pop. This retrospective from Burger rounds up most of their key output. There are even some demo versions from the original Eagle lineup included, though sadly, that cover of “Dyna-mite” remains lost from the spools on this one. Burger and HoZac have gone to lengths lately to dig up the corners of all that’s necessary in punk, glam and power pop and this is an essential entry to the canon. A little sad this one’s ended up just on tape, but maybe if we all wish real hard the Burger Bros will press it down to a fitting vinyl tribute.




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KG – Come Closer, We’re Cool

Manufactured Recordings takes on a run of shoegaze rarities that missed their due, including Tempe’s Alison Halo and Santa Cruz’ Bethany Curve. Come Closer, We’re Cool binds up some essential output from French artist Rémy Bux, who’d later use the moniker to work deeper into electronic territory, but here he’s driving squarely in the lane occupied by Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Drop Nineteens and The Lilys. Acting as a compilation of early singles, rather than straight reissue, this release marks the first time much of this has been gathered in one place. The compilation nature of the release allows for some stylistic changes, though Bux mostly keeps his head within the crimson haze of shoegaze’s clutches.

The early work wound up as singles for Lo-Fi Recordings and Orgasm Records. The rest of the release rounds up tracks that were originally slated for release on Slumberland, a move that makes sense when you hear some of the similarities between their mid-nineties roster and the work that KG cycles through. Whatever happened with the album remains unclear, but this release makes a good case for KG as a lost gem of shoegaze for sure. KG remains active and reportedly still returns to shoegaze now and again between heavier electronic work. For the shoegaze stalwarts out there, though, this is a nice treasure trove of bleary-eyed fuzz.




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Jowe Head – Cabinet of Curios

Hardly a household handle here in the US, Jowe Head held down tenures in two UK cult favorites – Swell Maps and Television Personalities. On top of his work with those two outlets Head (better known to his mum as Stephen Bird) released several solo albums that sewed up his bent and fractured pop. Cabinet of Curios collects cuts from his his extensive solo career, culling from 1981’s Pincer Movement, 1986’s Strawberry Deutschmark and 1989’s Personal Organizer. Tracks from that first record stand in stark contrast to the brittle post-punk of Swell Maps, though it seems all solo efforts from that band wound up in verdant and unique pastures, Bird just did it with a certain sense of humor that’s missing from some of his contemporaries.

That humor separates the solo work from his longtime run with Television Personalities as well. Though he’d add a touch of experimentation to their catalog, his solo recordings push the needle much further into DIY eccentricities. While sparse bedroom hijinks feel almost pat at this point Jowe Head held down his own territory in the ’80s spanning ground between the shaved and shorn pop of Chris Knox and the clattertrap psychedelics of Deep Freeze Mice. The collection doesn’t limit itself just to early works, however. It cherry picks from bits of his bands The Househunters and Palookas as well, both bands capturing the nervy essence of Jowe Head’s songwriting.

In 2008 Bird started up Jowe Head and the Demi-Monde and continues the project to this day. In fact a good deal of the collection cherry picks the band’s CD-rs and limited releases then throws in a cache of unreleased tracks as gravy. Its unlikely that you’ll find a more complete picture of Jowe Head’s ecstatic world view outside of the 1994 comp Unhinged. For the casual fan of Television Personalities or Swell Maps this might only come as the title might infer, a curio and nothing more. For the true diggers of post-punk oddments and DIY roots, this is a gem with plenty to offer. Every RSD there’s one that slips through the cracks and this year, Jowe Head takes the prize.


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The Dancing Cigarettes – Dance Dogs Dance

Been meaning to write this one up for a while, but it’s still readily available and while that speaks to the relative shame that the general populace continues to ignore the unsung twitching of this Indiana band, its a good opportunity for you, the lucky listener. The band came together around ’79 and grew in popularity in their hometown of Bloomington, IN and surrounding Midwestern touring routes, though they made their way East from time to time. The band never recorded an album proper at the time, releasing an EP on Gulcher and some compilation tracks, though they were extremely prolific and had plenty of material to fill out a proper release. In the wake of their demise there have actually been a couple of retrospectives, but this LP contains material that eludes both, and serves as a pretty excellent introduction.

Sadly, they began to lose members along the way, though they persisted in some form for almost four years. The recordings here date just post their Gulcher EP and round up unreleased cuts from both studio and live settings in excellent quality and inspired energy. Dance Dogs Dance is a kindred soul to fellow Midwestern jitter-punks Pere Ubu, The Girls and Dow Jones and the Industrials. For anyone looking to up their quotient of chewed aluminum punk, then this is an absolute necessity. It reaches fingers into post-punk, punk and the no wave corners of the late ’70s / early ’80s, but the anxious energy resonates with a resounding pull even today. Get on this one before they’re truly gone.




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Look Blue Go Purple – Still Bewitched

In putting together a comp of great jangle-pop last month I was sad to see that female voices, as with many genres, often went underrepresented. One of the brightest stars, and subsequently most often overlooked came in the form of Dunedin group Look Blue Go Purple. The band arrived as part of the Flying Nun stable’s second wave, beginning a run of great EPs from 1985 through 1987. The EPs – Bewitched, LBGPEP2 and This is This – all make their way onto this compilation along with a cache of live tracks spanning from their formation in 1983 to their dissolution in ’87.

The band perfected that distinctive New Zealand jangle, but augmented it superbly with woven vocals, melancholy keys and spectral flute. They worked their way into the canon of culture in their homeland, but unlike contemporaries in The Chills and The Bats, they didn’t find a foothold outside of the country at the time, making them more of a secret handshake between Flying Nun and jangle lovers. The band sprang out of a desire to create music with other women, and though they took inspiration from The Raincoats and The Slits, they were adamant in not presenting themselves as a purely feminist well-spring. Sadly, their status as one of the singular female bands rising in Dunedin lead them to endless questions about gender in regard to their music.

The focus away from the music is criminal, as Look Blue Go Purple remains one of the more nuanced jangle-pop bands to come out of the area. They, like The Beach Boys before them, knew the power of layering vocals in valleys of harmony. Adding to this is the power trio at the core of their songwriting – Denise Roughan, Kathy Bull, and Norma O’Malley. The latter provided the distinctive key swells and enchanted flute parts that truly separate the group from the pack, while Roughan and Bull kept the jangles knotted and the bounce elastic. Flying Nun has done a service getting these EPs bound up on 2xLP, and though the historical inclusion of the live tracks gives this a strong perspective, the fact that it creates a whole new release from their 1991 compilation means that they forgo putting this amazing cover on the gatefold. All in all, this falls heavily in the essential pile.




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