Browsing Category Reissues

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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Popul Vuh – Letzte Tage – Letzte Nächte

The catalog of Popol Vuh is dense and rather intimidating to find entry points into. Sure, for the true heads out there the beginning of Fricke’s universe, Affenstunde, only makes sense, but there are plenty of other nicely set moments that don’t necessitate charting the history of the band. Though up until now many of these have not been available on vinyl, but thanks to some stellar work by Wah Wah/Supersonic Sounds the band’s later works have now found room on your shelf. The integration of guitar into the band’s sound really starts to take over on Das Hohelied Salomos, where Daniel Fichelscher really starts to become an integral part of the group, but its here on Letzte Tage – Letzte Nächte that he really pushes to the forefront of their sound. Still balancing light and dark, psychedelic heaviness and a pastoral Eastern vibe that’s central to the Popul Vuh sound, this record sees them stretch out and find place in the Krautrock canon that show’s some love for their UK brethren in prog – feeling very versed in Floydisms and the grandeur of Yes. The band were in a very verdant period at this time also working on some of their numerous collaborations with Werner Herzog. These also appear in the newly minted series of reissues by Wah Wah/Supersonic and remain great points of entry into the band’s psychedelic odyssey.



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Pan – Pan

70’s prog had its enclaves for sure. Germany always gets its due. The US and UK are well, maybe even over represented, but Denmark never really hits the map. Pan were on of the most hard hitting and inventive Danish prog acts of the 70’s and over the years this eponymous record has achieved some cult collector status. The majority of the album revolves around muscular riffs but the band balances the sweat factor with some pastoral organ and acoustic touches that give it a more storied appeal. The band was founded by French ex-pat Robert Leilevre who was wandering Europe to evade military service. When he landed in Denmark the pieces fell in line for what would become Pan. Though Leilevre was rumored to be difficult to work with and the band would split after this sole LP with members filtering on to other bands including Denmark’s other famous export Culpeper’s Orchard, Blast Furnace and Delta Blues Band. Shadoks has done this one up nicely, with far more attention given than even recent CD reissues. Poster, printed inner and a bonus 7″ on a 500 press. This is definitely one that will go fast.



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Jean-Paul Sartre Experience – I Like Rain: The Story of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience

Fire Records have gone through the exhaustive work of compiling this retrospective of the JPSE and its well worth the time to wade through the band’s storied history. Their debut is a charming record that felt apart from the rest of the Flying Nun stable. There’s jangle, but more often there’s a subtle wash of grey-skied melancholy and an early indie pop simplicity that feels more akin to the outset of the Creation records stable than many of their contemporaries at home. Love Songs introduced the band with the hit that this collection takes its name from and its a pretty fitting entry point to the band’s catalog.

Size of Food has always overshadowed the debut in critical acclaim but at the time of its release it fell on many deaf ears. Delayed by two years due to some financial finagling on Flying Nun’s part, the album finally hit shelves without much in the way of fanfare. But hindsight being what it is, this one stands as a benchmark of fractured pop that would have lasting reverberations even if it didn’t shake scenes at the time of its issue. Their final album, Bleeding Star saw the band enter the studio, amp up the production (some critics would argue too much) and finally allow themselves some international acclaim. But where the album saws off a bit of their connection to jangle, it dives headlong into a buzzing sea of guitars that buoy that same melancholy they’d always let through with a stronger punch. This album also garnered support from Matador in the States and they finally made it over for some dates only to pull themselves apart in the process. This would prove their last effort. In addition to the albums themselves this collection ropes in bonus tracks, tracks from the alternate US/NZ pressings and singles. They might not top your list of essential bands of the late 80s/early 90s but spend a little time with the JPSE and let this collection wash over you. It will definitely surprise you.





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