Posts Tagged ‘Anthology Recordings’

RSTB Best of 2018: Reissues, Etc.

A large part of the site is not only focusing on new releases, but also the great reissues that are unearthed during the course of a year. Below are my picks for the best editions dug up by the hardworking folks on the reissue circuit. Every year there are less options to work from and every year labels continue to surprise me with what they bring out. I’m also going to take a moment to give tribute to an album that could have been this year but due to unfortunate circumstances didn’t make it to fruition.

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Unusual Sounds

I’m a sucker for a couple of things, compendiums of overlooked music and collections of sleeve art throughout the years. Both come to a delightful crest in Dave Hollander’s book for Anthology Editions, Unusual Sounds. In the book the Texan record collector and filmmaker dips into his vast collection of Library music (one of the largest documented such collections around) to shed some light on what he sees as essential cuts and collections. While its an informative k-hole and a visual delight that’s wrapped up in a book jacket by Robert Beatty, one would assume that a book like this either leads to YouTube overload and keyboard cramps or that it might benefit from some sort of companion album, or ideally three or four.

Seems that Anthology agrees and they’ve rounded up twenty tracks from releases highlighted in the book. The collection spans all the best Library hallmarks, from the gameshow funk of Keith Mansfield to the creamy soul of John Cameron, it’s as much a feast for the ears as the book is for the eyes and mind. The haunted psychedelia twofer from Brainticket founder Joel Vandroogenbroeck is a particularly nice touch as is the creeping synth work of Nagara drummer Klaus Weiss. Library music has always been a genre that requires a studious collector and, in that regard, it’s nice to have Hollander take some of the encyclopedic work off of our plates. For those looking to get into some excellent examples of the film archives, funk collectors and soul savants this is a prime collection of genre gems that aren’t likely on over-dug compilations previously existing. Highly recommended!

The double set is, naturally, also wrapped in a Beatty-designed sleeve that gives it a touch of classic age.



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Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes – Box Set

Anthology is going above and beyond with a massive reissue of early ’70s albums from French progressive artist Catherine Ribeiro. The singular vocalist had an uncompromising vision of psychedelic folk that saw her progress over this three album arc from baroque, yet semi-grounded folk to a wildly experimental set that would send most Krautrock heads spinning. The artist began her trajectory on film, appearing in Spaghetti Westerns and, notably, netting a part in Jean Luc Godard’s Les Carabiniers. Acting put her in contact with creatives that started her down a musical path and by 1969 she was carving out a space with the help of Patrice Moullet, who backed her first record with his band 2Bis. By the time her follow up rolls around the band had morphed to become Les Alpes, and thus began this period of fruitful collaboration.

Ribeiro’s voice is truly the star of her albums, strong and unyielding, its a true force of nature. She’s often been compared to Brigitte Fontaine and shares similarities with Nico and Buffy St. Marie. Her work over the course of N°2, Ame Debout, and Paix wound darker and more complex with each year. N°2 is mostly just Moullet and Denis Cohen (percussion, organ) backing her up. With each ablum, as they gain confidence in their vision, Les Alpes begins to take on bigger and more varied forms, though. Ame Debout picks up some motorik steam, locking rhythms to anguished violin and wild flights of ambient sound. The band gets more of a role here, even taking on a couple of instrumental tracks that aren’t dominated by Ribeiro’s powerful sway. The album is the most in flux, shedding Ribeiro’s beginnings, but not fully in command of what would come next.

By the time the band rolls into ’73’s Paix they’ve left the normal constraints of folk behind, working into 15 minute lengths and pushing the idea of song further from the digestible single than ever before. Paix is truly the band’s Zenith, tough its remarkable to see how they built towards this exploratory sound over the past two albums. As a box set the trio works to dissect how Ribeiro and Moullet worked off of one another and pushed each other to get outside of the mindset of French pop music entirely. If you have the time for the deep dive, then all three are worth a visit, but if you must cut to the core, Paix is where Ribeiro makes her mark for the ages. This is an excellent collection of an artist truly deserving of a retrospective.



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The Night Crawlers – The Biophonic Boombox Recordings

Entrance into The Nightcrawlers’ world is foreboding at best and the currency at the gate is time. Considering the Philadelphia collective recorded over thirty-five cassettes of home recorded material between 1980 and 1991, the true barrier to figuring out their Kosmiche wonderland is finding the time and patience to sift through their extensive improvisational float. Thankfully, Anthology have cut out a lot of the work for you, boiling down their boombox experiments to a hefty collection that weighs in at over two hours, but tackles some of their best psychedelic fodder.

The band released a handful of LPs along the same arc but would become consumed by their studio improvisations that they recorded down to simple boombox room recordings. This gives the works here a rough quality, pocked with hiss and dotted with coughs and clicks, but it doesn’t detract from the band’s commitment to the German Progressive lineage. They churned out some high quality special float that spurned their contemporaries’ dive down dance paths, opting instead for the hypnotic comfort of Tangerine Dream, Goblin and Klauz Schulze LPs as their talismans. As such they also bridge the gap between those early German synth weavers and more contemporary resurgence that have arisen through Emeralds, Oneotrix Point Never and The Belbury Circle. A definite recommendation for the heads out there and the Kosmiche surfers looking to expand their library.




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V/A – Follow The Sun

While the new crop of Australian indie is being etched and codified presently, US archive house Anthology has been doing their best to begin to dig into the independent ’60s and ’70s past of the country, mapping out some of the Nuggets-era fodder that’s been long overshadowed. The label has explored bands that mapped the country’s surf culture through reissues of Tamam Shud and Tully and now they’re teaming up with Aussie luminary in his own right Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control, mastering on every essential new Oz release) to scour the bins for a collection that encapsulates not just a sound, but the sound of Australia in the ’70s.

The collection, like Lenny Kaye’s now iconic roundup of garage, cherry picks gems that were consigned to local fan culture rather than world shaking hits or hints of things to come from artists in their infancy. Unlike Nuggets’ ranks though, they twist the dial from loner folk to psychedelic fizz, prog-jazz glints to lush singer-songwriter territory. The only real consistency seems to be that each track feels like an instantly necessary addition to your life. It’s full of faded sun melancholy and a feeling that inside the bubble of Australian pop, the outsider could be king.

The double LP set is a perfect companion to the relatively recent Down Under Nuggets release, which scratches a much shallower surface of the ’60s and gives the overview of acts that found their way out (see: The Bee Gees, The Easybeats) alongside some gems that would stretch the pocket book. In a way, using the ’70s as their touchstone lends itself to much less homogeny and much more experimentation. Follow The Sun winds up a dream classic rock station set to sink into the sea. It’s getting harder these days to do these kind of comps right, but this is hitting all the marks.



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Tamam Shud

As part of Anthology Recordings Surf Archives series, the label has reissued the first album / soundtrack from Tamam Shud. The band evolved from a previous incarnation as The Sunsets, who had also worked with director Paul Witzig on a few of his prior surf films. For Evolution, the band’s debut as Tamam Shud, they began a very new and different approach to soundtracking the film. Usually the films of the day would feature a combination of narration and music, but for Evolution the band had the film screened in the studio while they wrote the soundtrack live to film, creating free-form jams that matched the pace and pulse of the surf runs. In response, Witzig jettisoned any idea of narrating the film, letting the band’s music stand as the only comment needed to accompany his shots.

This combination of surf and art worked out to the advantage of both the filmmaker and the band. It catapulted Tamam Shud to a decent amount of recognition in Australia, beyond just the surf and hippy crowds, while bringing acclaim on the film as well. The band would go on to record a follow-up, also well-regarded in progressive circles, that featured newcomer Tim Gaze a young Aussie guitarist who’d become subsequently known for his work with fellow collector’s psych legends Kahvas Jute. The band would only last the two albums though, disbanding shortly after their second album. Anthology’s series focused on surf culture has brought to light some real psych essentials, reaching far beyond just the twang of Dick Dale and the American vision of what defines surf. They’re shining a nice light on a pocket of culture that influenced ’60s forms as much as skate would in the near future. If you haven’t delved in yet, Tamam Shud is a nice place to dip your toes in the water.


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Träd, Gräs och Stenar – Box Set

Springing from the remains of International Harvester and Persson Sound, both groups worth peeking into in their own right, Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Trees, Grass & Stones) was at the forefront of the psychedelic movement in Sweden in the late ’60s. The band was built around the live experience, setting up shows on their own that heavily pulled in audience interaction. At the core of the group was Bo Anders Persson, who’d already done time with his earlier band Persson Sound. Persson began leaning into rock after a career that started off working with Terry Reilly, but finding rock to be much more inclusive he found his home marrying experimental impulses to rock’s medium. His emphasis on exploratory forms and DIY setup with Persson only grew stronger as he added musicians and went on to transition to what would become Träd, Gräs och Stenar.

The band recorded two studio albums, Rock För Kropp Och Själ and an eponymous LP, but the studio is not the focus here. As the band was rightfully a live band first and foremost, they recorded several live albums including their two most well known, Djungelns Lag and Mors, Mors. Anthology have rounded up a set that includes these two albums from ’71 and ’72 respectively along with a new set, culled from recordings the label sourced from member Jakob Sjöholm. The new set, Kom Tillsammans, features recordings that have never seen light to this point.

That’s a hell of a lot of backstory, as for the music, TGoS don’t lean too heavily any crazy psychedelic effects, but instead delve into a territory that blends Swedish folk with The Dead’s style of longform jams as an exploratory conduit, feeding off of the audience and pushing their songs well past their originally written bounds. Though, don’t let the folk tag fool ya, the band definitely get heavy and its easy to see that they had a love of groove and the blues germ that fed into many of their British and American counterparts. There’s a proto-Krautrock kick here and they share some of the same impulses, if not necessarily the precision that their German peers would latch onto in the same period of time.

Its a hefty set, but for those with the right kind of ears, highlights like the 26+ minute jam “Sommarlåten” and 23+ minute “Ofullständiga rättigheter” provide a glimpse into their prowess. This one is a gem, as is pretty standard for Anthology’s in depth releases and at 6xLPs, its a bit of an investment as well, but a worthwhile one. This is a key piece of history that deserves this new light.




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