Monday 2 April 2018

More Sixties Girls; The Luv'd Ones - Truth Gotta Stand 1966-'68 (1999 Sundazed)

Rising from teen girl band ashes known as the Tremolons, guitarist-gal rocker visionary Char Vinnedge put together the Luv'd Ones, Dunwich's only all-girl punk group. But the Luv'd Ones were no mere boy toys with instruments; under Vinnedge's direction, she wrote the dark, somber originals, played lead guitar and generally directed the band in the male-infested waters of mid-'60s rock & roll.

That their siren song was unheard 'til now (a small batch of singles only) is no reflection on their material or their talents, both in abundance on this excellent 20-track compilation. Largely comprising unissued demos and long lost sessions (their sides as the Tremolons are on a separate Sundazed vinyl EP) and all of it steeped in fuzztoned swirls of sound, this is a pretty amazing little collection of DIY female punk spirit done just right. A missing chapter in rock & roll history.(

There's nothing to add. Except you can't reduce the band to calling them a punk band. They had a lot of pop in their music and they were also influenced by the California sound of the sixties.(Frank)

Flac (zippy)                                                                 Flac (M)

mp3 (zippy)                                                                 mp3 (M)

                                            pass: SB1

Garage Girls The Second: Girls In The Garage Part 2 (1990 Romulan)

This is the second cd volume from the Romulan series. The 28 tracks are a collection from the LP volumes 6, 6 1/2 and Vol.7. Some of the bands and artists included here are Lindy Lane (now i know who's the role model of Cindy Lauper), Pat Downey & The Vistas, Cupons, Ellaine & The Shardells, Millie Rogers, Karin Krogh & The Public Enemies, Fatimas, just to name a few. Fatimas ''Hoochy Coo is a fine freaky light psychedelic garage song and in my opinion one of the goodies here.

Also Karen Verros with her powerful ''You just gotta know my mind'' is of the better ones here. Venus Flytrap with ''The Note'' reminds me a little bit of the early psych folk works of Mr Boettcher. The She's present with ''The Fool'' an early version of eighties new wave pop sounds.
The collection is divided in two parts. Some songs are more influenced by the fifties, while most are more into the sixties. In my opinion this second volume is not as strong as Vol.1 but you will find here a lot of real interesting songs and sounds. And what i really like in this collection is the diversity and the creativity of the songs.(Frank)


Garage Girls: Girls In The Garage Vol 1 (1987 Romulan Records)

It was the logical extension of two of the most important and enduring pop music tributaries of the 1960s -- the girl group sound and the garage band explosion, respectively -- but the distaff garage rock scene has earned precious little documentation on record or in history books over the years. Romulan's long-running Girls in the Garage series has done much to rectify that oversight, however, compiling an astounding amount of prime crunch -- the first CD volume in the series is also its strongest, adding 11 tracks to the 16 that made up the original vinyl.
Like all garage collections, there are equal amounts killer and filler, and the joy of discovery is alone worth the price of admission -- Denise & Co.'s "Boy, What Will You Do Then," the Belles' "Come Back," and Lydia Marcelle's "The Girl He Needs" are top-shelf by any standard, however, and the Continental Co-Ets' blistering instrumental "Melody of Junk" dismisses once and for all any lingering misconceptions that the girls couldn't rock as hard as the boys.(allmusic)

That girls as hard, good, fast, or whatever can rock, should have gotten around to the far corners of Middle-earth by now.
There are 27 tracks on the CD that prove just that: Girls rock just as well and sometimes better than the boys.
The CD Vol.1 consists of the tracks 1 to 7, 9 to 14 from the ''Girls in the Garage'' LP and the tracks 15 to 27 from ''Girls in the Garage Vol.2'' LP. Track 8 is the only ''CD only'' track here. This is just for information, so that there is no confusion with the LP releases.
You will get here fine Garage rock with often pop shades in the songs. The Chymes, for example, could go through as an early version of the Bangles. The Daughters of Eve plays fine early jangle Power Pop. This collection is highly recommended. (Frank)


Sunday 1 April 2018

The New Pornographer's Guitarist Todd Fancey's Third Solo Album: Fancey - Love Mirage (2017)

With an album cover that references the opening credits to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and production that pays very faithful homage to the slick sounds of '70s AM pop and disco, Todd Fancey's third solo offering plays like a period piece for soft rock classicists. The New Pornographers guitarist's new album arrives a full decade after the excellent Nilsson-referencing Schmancey, another sly nod to a '70s icon. While his earlier releases hinted at this direction, they still lived more squarely in the vein of power pop and '60s sunshine pop.
Chock-full of smooth sunlit harmonies, electric piano, mellow harmonica leads, and white disco-funk bass, Love Mirage harks back to a time of great studiocraft when the saccharine sounds on the radio belied the precision and delicacy of their arrangements. The songs and sounds here are old-school pop, analog in their orchestration, and made by people whose musicianship and record collections run deep. Behind standouts like "Baby Sunshine," "Dream All Night," and "Carrie," Fancey and his crew deftly weave joy, humor, and tender affection, all wrapped up in a satin jacket of easy melody. It's a welcome return from an unsung hero of indie pop.(

Why someone in 2017 makes a pop record that clearly seems to come from the seventies should remain unanswered here (simply because I don't know :-)). But I don't really care about that either. Fancey delivers a very good pop record which I like from a to z as well. And that's why there's not much more to say. Everything else is already mentioned in the review above. Have fun.(Frank)

Flac (M)                                          Flac (M)

mp3@320 (zippy)                         mp3@320 (M)                      

Soundtrack??? Manfred Mann - Up The Junction 1968 (2004 Umbrella, DigiPack) 9 bonus tracks

One of the great soundtracks of the 1960s, Up the Junction shows Manfred Mann shedding their pop skin and evolving into a truly awesome jazz outfit, which would later be fully realized in their Chapter Three incarnation. Not that they didn't have some lovely pop gems on this record. The title song, sort of a flipped-out, very very British alternative to "Good Vibrations," is one of Manfred Mann's finest pieces ever, with an excellent vocal from Mike d'Abo, Paul Jones' (Manfred's original vocalist) replacement. But the series of brief jazz-based instrumentals such as "Sheila's Dance" and "Belgravia" are equally arresting, showing off Mike Hugg's drumming and Mann's own piano abilities as never before. Priceless.(

That's the one side of this album, yes album, because that's it for me and much less a soundtrack (although it's of course a soundtrack). It is perhaps the best album that Mann has created in the sixties. The most versatile, the least obvious commercial, the most demanding...maybe.... . Manfred Mann combines small jazz freedoms with small pop pearls that don't make the album sound like a soundtrack but like an outstanding piece of contemporary modern music. Quite at the beginning I wrote it's maybe Mann's best album of the sixties. It IS Manfred Mann's best album of the sixties. Sure, he's got more hits on other sixties albums, but the music plays here. Clearly! (Frank)


Jangle Folk Pop, Power Pop: The Grapes Of Wrath - Treehouse 1987 (Capitol EMI)

Early comparisons to R.E.M. are clearly justified on Treehouse, a jangly folk-pop masterpiece. On this, their second album, the band seem considerably more confident and focused. Crisp and bright production, courtesy of Tom Cochrane (ex-Red Rider), compliment the glorious harmonies and melancholy, introverted songs perfectly. A sadly overlooked classic of '80s guitar rock.(

The Grapes of Wrath were a jangly alternative folk-pop quartet formed in Kelowna, British Columbia in 1983 by brothers Chris Hooper (drums) and Tom Hooper (vocals, bass), along with Kevin Kane (vocals, guitar) and the later addition of keyboardist Vincent Jones. In 1984, they signed to Nettwerk Records and relocated to Vancouver where they recorded a four-song, self-titled EP that earned the band some initial local exposure.
1985's full-length, September Bowl of Green, however, brought them national recognition and critical acclaim. Ready to make a stab at the U.S., they enlisted the help of Tom Cochrane (ex-Red Rider) for production of the follow-up, Treehouse. Though it failed to break big, it did yield a hit single in Canada with "Peace of Mind." Subsequent singles and two more albums, Now and Again (1989) and These Days (1991), did well in their homeland but earned little sales elsewhere. In 1992, Kane left the band, and the remaining members went on to become Ginger. Ginger released Far Out on Nettwerk in 1994 (released in the U.S. in 1995) and followed with Suddenly I Came to My Senses in late 1996. Kevin Kane released a solo album, Neighborhood Watch, in 1996 for On/Off Records in Canada.
High Road In the summer of 2010, after 18 years, the original founding members (Chris and Tom Hooper and Kevin Kane) joined together to play the Surrey B.C. Fusion Festival. Due to the show’s success, the band once again began touring Canada and subsequently signed with Aporia Records to put together a new album. High Road, recorded in the spring of 2012 with co-producer Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case, Blue Rodeo), was scheduled for release the following March. In the meantime, EMI-Canada released the album Singles in October 2012, featuring each of the 15 radio singles from GOW's catalog, as well as two new songs. The first new single, "Good to See You," reached the Top 40 on Canada's Active Rock and Alternative Rock charts.(

Es ist kein Geheimnis daß ich so meine Schwierigkeiten mit den Achtziger Jahren habe. Musikalisch meine ich. Natürlich kamen großartige Power Pop Alben aus dieser Zeit und auch hier und da gab es einige großartige Alben aus anderen Bereichen. Aber alles in allem, vor allem verglichen  mit den beiden vorhergehenden Dekaden empfand ich die Achtziger eher schwach. Und vor allen Dingen begann in diesem Jahrzehnt der Siegeszug der Oberflächlichkeit und für eine zum Glück eher kurze Zeit ebenfalls der Siegeszug der grauenhaftesten Synth Sounds, gnadenlos grottenschlechten Gitarrensounds und und und. Aber es gab auch Ausnahmen. The Grapes Of Wrath waren eine dieser Ausnahmen. Mit diesem Album legten sie eine größtenteils angenehme Popscheibe vor, die an manchen Stellen vielleicht manchmal fast glatt klang aber meistens mit feinen Gesangsdarbietungen, die sich perfekt in die Songs einbetteten, alles ins richtige Lot brachten. Definitiv eine der besseren Kommerzplatten der Achtziger Jahre. Um Mißverständnissen vorzubeugen, dies ist keine Musik aus der Subkulturecke und es lag in meinem Interesse eben auch mal keine solche hier vorzustellen mit diesem Album.(Frank)

Melissa - Midnight Trampoline 1971 (1999 Vicious Sloth Collectables)

In the current CD re-issue series Vicious Sloth continue to trawl through Australias rock heritage in an effort to unearth those criminally underrated and overlooked gems from the early seventies. As gems go Melissa's 1971 album 'Midnight Trampoline' takes its place alongside the other albums in this series as an extra fine listening experience. Originally known as Molten Hue, Melissa was one of the first bands on the Sydney 'head' scene of the early seventies to include obscure West Coast material in their live set. Forever caught between the totally dedicated flower children out for their dose of psychedelia and acid-rock, and the simple popsters of the day, the band members must have suffered no small identity crisis. At its peak Melissa was able to play concerts at Paddington Town Hall and Sydneys famed Arts Factory alongside renowned underground outfit Tully, as well as commanding a large following on the suburban dance circuit.

The original Melissa line-up came together in 1969 around Robert Gunn (flute, vocals), Rick Barrett (guitars), Ken Frazier (bass, vocals) and Warren 'Wal' Spark (drums). Not long after the band s formation, Irishman Joe Creighton replaced Ken Frazier. From early beginnings playing acid-rock, Melissa developed into an innovative rock band incorporating subtle country and jazz-blues overtones. The story of Melissa's debut album, Midnight Trampoline, is your typical saga of bad deals and lost opportunities. Recorded over a period of nine months, the album eventually appeared on the Banner label to little response at the end of 1971. 'Midnight Trampoline' stands as an intriguing artefact that combines esoteric, folksy-rock redolent of Jethro Tull ('Matalla', 'Getting Through'), Moody Blues-styled pastoral pop ('Out in the Country', 'Jennifer In New York'), progressive blues-rock ('Cuckoo'), and two Van Morrison covers ('Young Lovers Do', 'Madame George'). The band was obviously taken with Morrisons Astral Weeks album, and indeed Creighton bore a remarkable vocal resemblance to Van the Man.
Prospects looked promising, but various pressures and frustrations brought to bear over the album severely undermined any sense of unity. By the time the album appeared there was a new Melissa line-up, but the band continued to tour before finally breaking up at the end of 1972. Mastered from the original tapes, here once again for your enjoyment Melissa with 'Midnight Trampoline', in the original artwork with added liner notes.(

An album that may be a little out of the ordinary here in this blog, but the musical quality is absolutely convincing. I don't know where the band sounds like Jethro Tull, on this album for sure not. The album convinces with real joy of playing, is best when they bring out the more melodic pieces and their Van the man covers convince not only vocally but even more musically. Strong band, strong album.(Frank)