At this past weekend's WFMU Record Fair in Manhattan I ran into Josh Wright, who along with Matt Sullivan co-owns the amazing Light In The Attic Records (LITA). The music fanatical duo had trekked out from their Seattle base to set up a table to sell some of the latest releases from LITA's impressive catalog (lots of lovely vinyl) and also to give away cool freebie sample CDs.
Scroll down to see the Amoeblog interview with Josh in which he talks about some of the new and upcoming releases from the unique label known for its lovingly compiled catalog of reissues of forgotten music by such greats as Rodriguez, funk goddess Betty Davis (above), and pop-psych outfit The Free Design. LITA were featured on the Amoeblog back in May of this year when they undertook their West Coast Road Trip that included stops at Amoeba. The label also releases new music from contemporary acts, including an EP and LP from the Seattle/Tacoma pop/rock/rap outfit The Saturday Knights', Mingle, that featured the great opening track and single "45" (see video below). Another contemporary act on LITA is Austin, Texas psychedelic rock group The Black Angels.
As Josh mentioned in the Amoeblog video interview below, some of the exciting new releases include the aforementioned Betty Davis and the Black Angels, seventies reggae artist Noel Ellis, keyboard/xylophone artist Emil Viklicky, 60's/70's Czech female vocalist Marta Kubisova, and the various artists release Reggae to Toronto: Soul Funk & Reggae: 1967 - 1974.
On Memorial Day --this Monday, May 25th, sometime between 1 and 2 in the afternoon, four guys from Light In The Attic Records (LITA) up in Seattle are expected to roll through the doors of Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
The four may look tired and understandably so, as it will be Day 8 of their unique road trip that will take them from Seattle to San Diego and back. But expect the LITA four and the Amoeba folks who greet them all to be smiling widely once they peep the cool music these guys are coming armed with -- all from LITA's deep catalog: stacks of wax, rarities, and lots of goodies from the indie label known for its roster of reissue projects and its distribution catalog, with artists including Serge Gainsbourg and The Monks.
On Monday last, May 18th, they crammed thousands upon thousands of pieces of music into their van and since then have driven all the way down from Seattle, through Tacoma and Olympia, then through Oregon and into California, stopping all along the way at a total of 50 indie record stores to personally deliver the goodies. This 50 store/10 day/3000 mile music road trip will take them as far south as San Diego. Then it's back north and inland to Sacramento, their last stop before heading home to Seattle by Friday, May 29th. For those of you with calanders asking, doesn't that then make it an 11 or 12 day trip? Well, technically it is still 10 days, since the record store part of the operation runs from May 18th to the 28th.
The winds came first … the neighbors tree falling came next, and when the haunted harmonica sounds of the wind blowing through my office door, (sounding like a Ennio Morricone soundtrack), started imitating an Armenian duduk, (the most beautiful sounding instrument on the face of the Earth), I knew I was going to find something sadder than usual in my morning New York Times.
Dave Havlicek, aka Dave Day, guitarist and banjo player for one of the most original, legendary and enigmatic bands ever to grace a stage, The Monks, died last Thursday, January 10th. Day, who was born and lived in Renton just outside Seattle, Washington, suffered a stroke or a heart attack on the previous Sunday morning which left him on life support for a short time before he passed.
Many years ago, way too many to actually acknowledge, I used to work at the original Onyx Café when it was next door to the Vista Theater in East Hollywood. One evening a customer gave me a home made cassette tape of a band I had only vaguely ever heard of named The Monks, the record Black Monk Time.
I put on the tape. What I remember most are two distinctive reactions: mine of total amazement and awe, how the hell did I miss this band (I’m a record geek for chrissakes!), and the reaction of another customer saying almost the same thing. But his “what the hell is this?” was followed by something like “do you have to play this crap now!”
The Monks were five American GIs stationed in Germany who billed themselves as the “Anti-Beatles”. They played it heavy, weren’t afraid of feedback or dissonance and Dave Day added to the mayhem and the whole crunching rhythmic sound by playing the hell out of the electric banjo. They shaved their heads into monks' tonsures, dressed in black monasterial robes, sometimes wearing nooses as neckties, mocked and rocked harder than any of their sixties counterparts while basically inventing what would become kraut rock, industrial, and punk music. Am I overstating their importance in rock music history? No! Their nihilistic deconstruction of Rock and Roll, owing in part to the Dada Movement of the ‘20s, predated Punk’s similar efforts by a good ten years or more. The Monks were easily 30 years ahead of mainstream rock’s time.