Browsing Category Reissues

Laddio Bolocko – Live and Unreleased 1997 – 2000

No Quarter have painstakingly sought to elevate Laddio Bolocko’s legacy with this collection of live recordings, augmented with a companion DVD, for those (like myself) who missed out on LB’s heydey in the Brooklyn underground before being anywhere near the Brooklyn underground made you noteworthy. The set captures the band’s ability to carve catharsis out of chaos and shape noise into a gleaming force for physical change. The band dives off the cliff of pop sensibilities, there’s no regard among the players for how much carefree fun you’re having but instead the pieces chip away at the listener until they force physical, emotional and mental release. Drummer Blake Fleming, later of The Mars Volta, hammers rhythm against a wall of sax and clatter of noise, kicking his way into your head in a stutter-stop chug that’s lets the sweat through the speakers. The rest of the band aren’t playing peek-a-boo either, they strangle sound until it screams and relents and hell that’s just the first set.

The second set finds the band moving away from a bit of the clatter and more towards a realm that finds the link between Laddio’s past and a few players involvement with No Quarter alums Psychic Paramount. Math riddled free jazz fights for breath with with pummeling noise rock and the band seems to truly find their place near the sun. Its easy to see how the legend was built on performances like How About This For My Hair and As If By Remote. For the uninitiated (which I’d imagine numbers high) this is going to be both a dense entry and a welcome shake awake. Its exhausting but rewarding in the way that distance runners seem to cling to; a high that somehow pushes you through the collapse.

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Tina & The Total Babes – She’s So Tuff

Sometimes you have to kick your own ass for missing out on something in its original time. 2001 who knows where my head was at, but it wasn’t picking up a copy of Tina & The Total babes’ undersung record on Sympathy for the Record Industry, but thankfully digital love allows us some time for our transgressions. Tina Lucchesi pulls down heavy points for her involvement in two legends, The Trashwomen and The Bobbyteens, and following the demise of the latter, she hooked up with power pop producer Travis Ramin to create The Total Babes. Her other records never really had the kind of recorded clarity on display here and it was always the raw charm of both bands that pulled them through, but its nice to hear Lucchesi’s voice in the context of pure turn of 80’s power pop perfection.

The album has all the snottiness and hip-check dance pit fun of anything involving Tina, and I came to fine it as this new wave of power pop appreciation came to rear its head a few years back. For the record anyone from the current roster of power pop altar worshippers should pay some respects to The Total Babes (who themselves are channeling quite a bit of Nikki and the Corvettes.) If, by chance this one is not in your collection, then by all means please course correct. However, it remains that the vinyl is sadly out of print and far too pricey on the secondary market, so perhaps if we all ask nicely Sympathy will put this one back on the shelf for the good of mankind everywhere.

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Uther Pendragon – San Francisco Earthquake

No matter how many years separate the 60’s from the present, it seems that the mines run deep for finding more fallout from the explosion of bands that permeated the time. Its getting rarer though to find one that’s had virtually no exposure or reissues to date, but Guerssen has unearthed a band from the outer rim of the San Francisco sound. Existing under the names Blue Fever, Timne, Hodological Mandala, Mandala, Kodiac, Justus, Pendragon and then finally Uther Pendragon, the band lived as a family for years; making music from ’66 until ’78 and growing with the sweeping change of sounds from that time. Guerssen’s reissue follows the band from their teen years, just discovering teen centers and fuzz pedals, to a more sweeping and much heavier territory; you know, the kind of band that could prop up a name like Uther Pendragon. This one seems to be a pure discovery of the internet age, the band wasn’t out that much in the the pages of SF rock lore and the label found them floating around in fan posts. They’re not totally without status, they opened once for Country Joe and the Fish, recorded at Pacific Sounds before building their own studio and had some ties to management that overlapped a few other outer rim psych acts, but in general they were off most radars, probably because they had no released material. Some of the songs are rough, kids finding their way, but for the most part they make good examples of the West Coast psych and proto metal sounds, feeling their way through the era on the fringes of cool.

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The Sound – Jeopardy

There are no shortages to be found rummaging through the piles of post-punk reissues these days and certainly, if you can’t find some Discogs originals, then there are some corners of your collection that can be fleshed out. The Sound’s debut is one of those albums that, once you hear it, seems like it’s been omitted from far too many necessities lists. The album was picked up on the strength of their first EP and Korova’s impressions of the demos. Dark in all the right ways and textured nicely with liberal washes of synth and a chugging debt to Krautrock, it explodes halfway through opener “I Can’t Escape Myself” and never really lets go. Even when the band isn’t tearing paint from the walls with guitar fury, the mid-tempo smolders are in line with the best of the decade and should appeal to Echo fans thinking they’ve reached the end of the line.

The album was critically lauded by NME, Sounds and Melody Maker but somehow failed to connect with audiences and despite a thoroughly excellent follow-up, From The Lion’s Mouth, the band never caught a foothold. In a story that’s far too common, the album wasn’t even released in the States at the time, only selling respectably at home and so it would languish on critics’ shelves alone. They’d soldier on though, a more forgiving time for bands to grow, and they would make five albums in total. The album serves as a nice jumping off point between punk and the burgeoning post-punk development. Sadly the band drifted out of music eventually, with exception of songwriter Adrian Borland, who worked as a producer until he took his own life in 1999. Sadder still, this was just before a campaign of reissues would have brought the band back into the light and love they sorely deserved.

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Six Organs of Admittance – Dust and Chimes

This one’s still a little fresh in the ears for this column, but what the hell the turn of this last century is probably further off than I want to admit. It seems just around the corner that the clock ticked 2000 and Ben Chasney was picking his way into a second album, emblazoned then with a washed out photo cover that’s replaced with a much more appropriate woodsy backdrop on the new version. Dark Noontide would forever be the moment when Chasney broke into a wider consciousness but this predecessor really brings him into his own and out of the sketchbook patterns of his debut. Its a lush album built on a love of raga and Fahey and feeling very much in line with the trend down psych-folk inroads at the time. Being that this was released in the vinyl desert years it only apeared on CD at the time, leaving fans of Ben’s catalog with a hole to fill on the turntable. But now Holy Mountain’s gotten this on the table and ready for psych fanatics the world over. Complete with a new video here for “Blue Sun Chiming” by Magik Markers’ Elisa Ambrogio.

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Zipper – Zipper

Permanent Records comes in blazing on their 50th release, an essential bit of the Fred Cole catalog, the 1975 self-titled album from his hard rock band Zipper. In the midst of The Weeds, Cole had headed north, got stranded in Portland and met his fate in future wife and bandmate Toody. The band changed names to The Lollipop Shoppe, always an odd choice for such a hard-edged garage band (it seems their manager also managed The Seeds and thought the names were too similar). In the wake of those bands Cole and Toody headed to the Yukon to homestead and dropped out of music for a bit. On their return to Portland they founded Captain Whizeagle, Fred’s repair shop and the accompanying Whizeagle records. The label would release Zipper’s eponymous LP in ’75. The album is dirt caked and whiskey dipped, a hard-nosed bar band with definite proto-punk tendencies that would certainly manifest themselves in The Rats and Dead Moon. Cole’s is a long and storied career and this is a good piece of it to have back in print and on the shelves.

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Radio Stars – Songs For Swinging Lovers

Radio Stars formed in the wake of “supergroup” Jet. Not the middling Aussie band, but rather the 70’s project formed between members of Sparks and a gaggle of musicians who played with Marc Bolan, The Attack and Roxy Music. That record is worth tracking down in its own right, but a bit harder to find in proper reissue these days. After Jet split, Martin Gordon hooked up with Andy Ellison (from the Nuggets-era stompers John’s Children) and Ian Mcleod to form the backbone of Radio Stars.

Sparks’ influence is evident here in Gordon’s songwriting. There’s the same pageantry and huge sound amid cheeky subject matter and splashy glam overtones. Radio stars lean in closer to punk, making this akin to the chopped furor of Big Beat, which Sparks released the year prior. The idiosyncrasies give the record a longevity well beyond their era, making this feel like the oddball discovery it is but still letting it blare on the speakers in fine fashion. The follow-up, Holiday Album, didn’t chart as well and Gordon left the group, who disbanded shortly after. Though Ellison would attempt to use the name later in the 80’s, but that iteration never had the vitality of the original Radio Stars. For what its worth, though, Songs For Swinging Lovers cements them into the canon of punk and glam essentials.

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The Cakekitchen – Time Flowing Backwards

Driving home a different side to the Flying Nun sound, Graeme Jefferies’ The Cakekitchen blends a bit of that telltale FN jangle with buzzing leads and a clouded moodiness that sits well with some of their American post-punk/college rock counterparts. The band was a move towards a more traditional rock-oriented sound, following the dissolution of Jefferies’ former band with brother Peter, This Kind of Punishment. Graeme would always remain the center of The Cakekitchen as they lost and gained members, but here on their first album, the trio with Rachael King (bass) and Robert Key (drums) gives the album a full sound that totters towards the experimental but always stays just this side of pop (well with maybe the exception of “One + One = One.”) Jefferies has a warm purr to his voice that’s not unlike Calvin Johnson but not quite so jarring within the context of songs. The band would go on to several iterations, eventually releasing albums on Merge in the US, and collaborating with Hamish Kilgour. While Jefferies has kept the band up in some form through the late 2000’s and its never really lapsed, its these early pieces that feel like a vital bridge between New Zealand’s scrappy past and American Indie’s fractured present.


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Besombes-Rizet – Pôle

Long a collector’s trophy in its original press, Pôle is the work of two synth carvers who have more known credits apart than together. Philippe Besombes was an academic, trained in organic chemistry, but fled the profession for a life in music contributing several instruments here but he’s most well known for works in Moog along his career. He’s teamed up with Jean-Louis Rizet another talented multi-instrumentalist who brings keyboards, synths, flute, trumpet and guitar to the table on this collaboration. The duo’s work in soundtracks makes a sizable impression (Rizet most notably contributed to the soundtrack for Besson’s Subway) and the pair have a way with space and mystery that turns the whole record into a faded-edge composition of shots that evoke emotion without letting words get in the way. There’s an appreciation of Krautrock / Kosmiche that they borrow from and blur that into the French avant-garde in a way that feels like those two genres should never part. Gonzai record return this to vinyl, where, frankly it belongs.



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Alejandro Jodorowsky – The Holy Mountain

As chaotic as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s psychedelic epic The Holy Mountain is from a visual standpoint, the soundtrack gives back in equal measure, dialing all over the spectrum from plaintive folk to Tuvan throat singing, epic orchestrals to noise and rock. If you’ve ever seen the cult classic, then you know that the movie is overwhelming to say the least and only really coherent to probably about 13% of the populace in the midst of an Ayahuasca comedown. Its heavy handed but also rather beautiful and since its release its legend has only grown. The movie’s score finds a way to keep pace with the barrage of non-linear imagery, bursts of color and shifts in tone so adeptly that its a testament to its originators. Jodorowsky enlisted the help of Don Cherry and Ron Frangipane (he of The Archies fame) to bring the musical companion of the film to life. Along with Jodorowsky’s own conducting, the team proves well more than formidable. Traditionally the score hasn’t been widely available and certainly not on vinyl but RealGone have rounded it up on double vinyl.




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