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Brightwell's Top 10: 1972

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 19, 2015 10:50pm | Post a Comment
In 1857, Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented his invention for recording sound, the phonautograph. Twenty years later, in 1877, someone first realized that his phonautograms could also play back recorded music. It was the same year, coincidentally, that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and thus the age of recorded music began. In 2015, former Amoebite Matthew Messbarger posted an NME "Best of 1990" on my Facebook timeline and I decided to began reviewing the best songs of each year, from 1877 to the present, in random order.

*****

The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe

1972 was a turbulent year. The violence of the Troubles peaked, claiming the lives of more than 500 people.Though comparatively ignored in the west, the Burundian Genocide also began, which claimed the lives of over 500,000. Ferdinand Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law. Black September invaded the Olympic Village and murdered eight Israeli athletes in Munich Members of the German Red Army Faction were arrested in FrankfurtThe Asama-Sansō Incident took place in Japan. Native Americans from the The Trail of Broken Treaties took over buildings belonging to the Bureau of Indian AffairsAngela Davis was found not guilty of murder. Missouri's notorious Pruitt–Igoe projects were demolished. Health officials admitted that blacks had been used as guinea pigs in a study of untreated syphilis. Shirley Chisholm became the first black candidate for US president although the American people instead choose to re-elect fascinating nutjob Richard Nixon





Outside Earth, humans visited the moon for the last time. The Space Shuttle program began. Mariner 9 became the first artificial satellite to orbit another planet (Mars). The Pioneer 10 launched from Cape Kennedy and would become the first human-made object to leave the solar system. In art, Andrei Tarkovsky's science-fiction masterpiece Solaris debuted and although perhaps not masterpieces, Eolomea and Silent Running entertained. With all of that space travel its no wonder it was glam rock's' annus mirabilis. Capitalizing on the space craze, David Bowie's 1969 song, "Space Oddity" was re-released and Elton John, doing his best Bowie, released "Rocket Man" (which was later covered by William Shatner which was later covered by Chris Elliott). 


 

In technology and entertainment news, 
HBO was launched, Atari was founded and released PongThe first scientific hand-held calculator, the HP-35, was introduced for the price of $395 (about $1,750 in 2015 dollars). Bands including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Martha and the Vandellas, MC5, Them, and The Velvet Underground all called it a day. ABBA, Cockney Rebel, Devo, The Jam, Mama's Pride, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Rockets, Rufus, Van Halen and many other bands formed. It was a great year for music, with Neil YoungThe SweetThe Four TopsMott the HoopleYesBig StarTownes Van ZandtGentle GiantMarvin Gaye, Genesis, Lieutenant Pigeon, Lou Reed, Curtis MayfieldRoxy Music, and Hawkwind all releasing amazing songs that barely missed my Top 10.

*****

10. Bee Gees - Run to Me



9. Hot Butter - Pop Corn



8. The RaspberriesGo All The Way 



7. BreadGuitar Man 



6. Manu DibangoSoul Makossa (Funky Soul Makossa) 



5. Chicory Tip - Son of My Father 



4. David BowieStarman 



3. T. RexMetal Guru 



2. The DramaticsIn The Rain 



1. Al Green - I'm Still in Love with You - 





*****

Follow me at ericbrightwell.com

Pseu Pseu Pseudio - Pseudonymous Musical One-Offs

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 28, 2013 10:49am | Post a Comment
In thinking about and working on a post covering one-album-wonders, I was reminded of a few single releases that were pseudonymously attributed to otherwise non-existent performers. Of course many musicians release music under stage names and a list of their releases would include the entire catalogs of  everyone from David Bowie, to Elton John, to Elvis Costello and 99% of dance artists and rappers

I'm talking about weird one-offs. So far I've only thought of two (updated since with contributions from readers) of these releases but I'm sure that there are quite a few for so help me out, please. Hopefully the more suggestions that are made, the more I can clarify what it is, exactly, that I'm talking about.

*****

I'm not including The Four Seasons because although they also recorded as The Wonder Who?, they weren't a one-off, having contemporaneously released four singles over three years. Similarly, although The Pretty Things also released music as The Electric Banana, it wasn't a one-off, as they did so across two decades.

Although Thin Lizzy formed in 1969, they were hardly overnight successes. In fact, their 1970 single, "The Farmer" b/w "I Need You" sold just 283 copies. In order to make some extra Irish pounds, they recorded an album of Deep Purple covers as Funky Junction for German businessman Leo Muller. It wasn't exactly a one-off though because the vocals were provided by Elmer Fudd's Benny White and not Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott

I'm also not including The Dukes of Stratosphere, XTC's alter-ego, because they released both the 25 O'Clock and Psonic Psunspot albums under that name (and intended to release Oranges & Lemons as a Dukes album). I'm torn over whether or not to include the many noms des disques of Kool Keith because his discography is a tangled mess to sort through, many of his aliases aren't one-offs and are characters who appear and reappear on other releases.

*****


BIG CARROT - "BLACKJACK" b/w "SQUINT EYE MANGLE"

By 1973, the glam rock scene was populated not just by Ziggy Stardusts, Roxy Musics, and T Rexes but also Alvin Stardusts, David Cassidys, and lots of little Osmonds. T Rex's Marc Bolan admitted in an interview that sometime around the writing of "Truck-On (Tyke)" that perhaps he'd started relying a bit too much on formula... and remembered that he'd begun his music career aspring to be a Dylanesque poet of the folk underground. His apparent dissatisfaction with T Rextasy, which was akin to Beatlemania in the UK at least, and the glam rock that he'd helped create was made increasingly obvious by a number of Bolan's actions.

In 1974 Bolan declared that glam rock was dead and released Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow – A Creamed Cage in August, which he described as "cosmic soul." He'd wanted to release the album as A Creamed Cage in August and credit it to Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow but instead T Rex's fifth studio album would be credited for the first time to "Marc Bolan & T. Rex" (in case, I suppose, people needed to be reminded who the leader of the most popular British band of the era was). 

It wasn't Bolan's first attempt to release music under a different name. In early 1972, during the recording of Tanx, Bolan had recorded "Blackjack." It was released in August 1973 (between the #4 "The Groover" and #12 "Truck On (Tyke)") as a single credited to Big Carrot. The version that I was told was that Bolan wanted to see how well his music would do if the T Rextstatic record-buying public didn't know it was from him... but I doubt this version of the story since it sounds exactly like T. Rex, was released by Wizard Artists Limited on EMI... oh, and credited Marc Bolan as the songwriter. It was a flop, however, as the BBC completely ignored it.

Listen to Big Carrot's "Blackjack"
 

Listen to Big Carrot's "Squint Eye Mangle"




SUPERMARKET - "SUPERMARKET"

In 1992, Saint Etienne's then-new label, Icerink, released its fourth single, a moving, icy, almost-instrumental synthpop song -- it's only lyric was word "supermarket," repeated in a distant, robotic voice. The sleeve notes stated "Supermarket are two young boys from Denmark." 

It was, in fact, Lawrence Hayward (or just Lawrence), formerly of Indie legends Felt. Although he'd begun recording material for what would become Denim's debut in 1990 (Back in Denim was finally released in November 1992), "Supermarket" was his first peep in the new decade. The heavily processed vocals were done by his ex-girlfriend/Saint Etienne's singer, Sarah Cracknell. I suppose that it could be said to be Supermarket's only release rather than a pseudonymous release but it's all really Lawrence and the song later turned up on Denim's Novelty Rock -- in much the same was as most of Denim's final, unreleased album Denim Take Over later surfaced on two Go-Kart Mozart records, Tearing Up The Album Chart and On The Hot Dog Streets.

Listen to Supermarket's "Supermarket"


Listen to Supermarket's "Supermart" (Ray Keith Mix)"


CHRIS GAINES - GREATEST HITS

Chris Gaines Greatest HitsIn 1999, Garth Brooks released one album as Gaines, Greatest Hits (also packaged as Garth Brooks in.... The Life of Chris Gaines). Whatever you think of Garth Brooks's slick "hat Country" (which in retrospect seems positively gritty compared to what passes for Country today), you have to admire the inspired craziness behind his rock alter ego, Chris Gaines.  


Chris Gaines was born 10 August, 1967. He was Australian and wore a soul patch -- still de rigueur facial hair for the soulful bro. His story was going to be told in a Paramount film, The Lamb, that sadly was never made. He was the subject of an episode of the VH1 series, Behind The Music and was the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Garth Brooks. Most of the songs were written by professional pop R&B and Country songwriters including Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, and Tommy Sims, who all three collaborated for the single, "Lost in You" which, at odds with Gaines' broody bro image sounded a lot like the pop R&B and Country that the songwriters always churned out.



Even more insane was "Right Now," a 1991-esque riff on The Youngbloods' "Get Together."



So please let me know about more pseudonymous releases and I'll add them to this blog entry!

100 Famous Rock Guitar Riffs Offers Concise History of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment
      

Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.

SONG/ARTIST PLAYLIST & AMOEBA SHOP LINK OF ALEX'S 100 GUITAR RIFFS (IN ORDER):


1 "Mr. Sandman"  Chet Atkins
2 "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
3 "Words of Love"  Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode"  Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble"  Link Wray

Continue reading...

People Get Ready! My Picks for Record Store Day 2012

Posted by Kells, April 19, 2012 12:23pm | Post a Comment
All the hype leading up to Record Store Day 2012 is beginning to resemble a giddy night-before-Christmas-ish itch. Thankfully it's on the brink of being scratchable what with the big to-do coming up this Saturday, April 21st. And let me tell you: it's going to be a frenzy! I've put together a little list of titles I'm looking out for - don't forget to compile your own and head on down as early as you can Saturday morning to ensure getting your paws on your prizes. Get more news about the super duper limited Record Store Day releases available at Amoeba Music here, see a full listing of our Record Store Day events here, and check out the winning entries of our first ever Record Store Day t-shirt design contest here, they're so boss!

As for me, my number one pick of the Record Store Day 2012 releases is (drumroll, please):


The Mynah Birds
"It's My Time" b/w "Go On and Cry"

How about a little oldies for your soul courtesy of Messrs Rick James (before he was Rick James, bitch) and Neil Young (way before the Harvest) recorded circa 1966 only to be shelved indefinitely by Motown due to James AWOL U.S. Navy status and subsequent arrest. The remaining Mynah Birds went on to found Buffalo Springfield and play in Steppenwolf. All that rock 'n' roll history aside, this solid single made by some young dudes before superstardom carved them anew is a must have for my collection. Oh, yes - it will be mine!
other noteworthy selections (that, purportedly, do NOT include DNA evidence of their makers) are:



Billy Bragg & Wilco
Mermaid Ave: the Complete Sessions


Limited to 3000, this 3CD set includes the two previously released Mermaid Avenue discs plus a third disc of 17 unreleased songs and Man in the Sand, the 1999 documentary of the Mermaid Sessions. Also, because this is a box set presented by none other than Nonesuch, a 48 page full-color booklet with liner notes by Geoffrey Himes and Greil Marcus, full lyrics, archival photographs, and facsimilesof lyric sheets and sketches by Woody Guthrie are also included. Yippee!





T.Rex
Electric Warrior

Also limited to 3000, you might be thinking, "big deal! everyone has this record", right? WRONG! This singles box contains the full Electric Warrior experience plus the non-album b-side "Raw Ramp" spread across six 7" vinyl singles (cut from the original analog masters). If that adds up to nought for you consider this: how amazing will these 45s play at 33rpm? I bet your bottom Record Store Day-dollar that this sweet baby will render a stoned burner slowed down, just like the classic bleeze-brown on starless & bible black cover art suggests. Same goes for the Fleetwood Mac re-ish. Stevie Nicks slowed down sounds like the most amaaaazing country crooner!





Doomriders / Sweet Cobra
"Girls You Want" b/w "Gates of Steel"


Um, hello!
Devo covers on colored wax: want!










ESG / Las Kellies
"Erase You"

Having covered the timeless enduring classic ESG dance jam "Erase You" on their self-titled album on Fire last summer Las Kellies have reworked their version for this special, limited to 200 7" vinyl single. Yum!









Jimmy Fallon
"Tebowie" b/w "Reading Rainbow"

Limited to 3500, this li'l slice of funny is a peek into the future long-playing Jimmy Fallon comedy album slated to drop via Warner Bros. Records later this summer. Due to high demand and repeated requests the record will showcase never before released content as seen on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Pretty excited about this one!







MC5 / Afrika Bambaataa
Side By Side: Kick Out The Jams

Limited to 5000, this two-fer couples the incendiary original with a cover version from the pioneer of The Electro Funk Sound cut on gorgeous red-splattered white wax. Yeah!

Kick out the jams, muthafuckers!





There are a ton of other titles that have me drooling and wide-eyed like a child at an ice creamery, but there's just much to much to cover. I don't know if we'll be getting the Bonnie "Prince" Billy condoms (the "let Bonnie inside you" tagline has left me gagging - in a good way) and/or his very special blend of Kona coffee, but I think that they take the award for most outrageous RSD 2012 items, hands down.
Anyhoo, here's to a very happy Record Store Day this year everyone - it's gonna be a doozy!

Ty Segall's Flying Circus to Blow Through L.A.

Posted by Billy Gil, March 1, 2012 02:30pm | Post a Comment
In a short amount of time, Ty Segall has provided us with so much musical goodness in the recorded form that it’s hard to believe he’ll be releasing two (well, two-and-a-half-ish) albums this year. He’ll release a mini album on In the Red in June under Ty Segall Band, recorded with his touring band, which includes Charlie Moothart guitar (“He’s a complete shredder and dominator, he taught me everything I know about playing guitar,” Segall says), Mikal Cronin on bass and Emily Epstein on drums. The record will be mixed in Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios — where Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded, Segall points out — and recorded with Eric Bauer, who has recorded with Segall several times, including his most recent studio album, 2011’s Goodbye Bread.

A regular full-length also is due on Drag City under his own name in the fall. On top of all that, he’s releasing a collaboration LP with White Fence on Drag City in April, which he’s currently touring behind. Ty Segall and White Fence appear together March 3 at the Troubador.

I took some time to speak to Ty, who’s S.F.-based but was born in Laguna Beach, about his upcoming tours, release schedule, and how many songs he’s recorded.


PST: Last year, around the time Goodbye Bread was released, you said you wanted the next album to sound like Satan in Space, Hawkwind meets Sabbath and that sorta thing. Is that the direction the new material has ended up taking?

Segall: Well, there’s a couple different directions. This is really fun for me because this new record with White Fence I did is not that. It’s like totally weird new thing that Tim (Presley, of White Fence) and I kind of did. It doesn’t sound like either one of us, and it definitely doesn’t sound like [the earlier description]. It sounds pretty all over the place. It sounds almost like a mixtape, almost like a weird comp of some kind, which I’m way into. Working with Tim was great because we both bring something totally different to the table.

There’s this record I’m gonna be recording starting [in February], and that’s totally heavy, fuzzed-out Sabbath, Blue Cheer-like noise rock kinda stuff. Which is rad. And I’m doing that with the whole band. It’s kind of more how we sound live than a lot of the records sound. That’s the weird, heavy, fuzzed-out record. And then I’m working on another one that’s gonna come out in September/October on Drag City. It’s not as heavy or punk or anything. It’s still loud fast rock ’n’ roll. It’s kind of channeling these three different things in these records.

PST: You seem pretty prolific. Is there a steady flow to your songwriting? How often do you write?

Segall: I kind of write whenever I can at home. A lot of the stuff is really bad. I throw away most of the stuff I write, to be honest. I try to write a song a day. If you write 10 songs, there’s gonna be one of them you think is pretty OK that you’ll keep around. That’s kind of my rule. A lot of times you’ll have a riff and it’s like, I’m gonna toss this riff.

PST: If you had to guess, how many songs have you written? How many bands have you been in?

Segall: Aw man, I don’t even know! There are 12 songs on average per record, I’d probably say I’ve released 180-200 songs. There are about 300 throwaway songs that will never see the light of day.

PST: You’d never release them in some form?

Segall: No way. They’re bad, man. They’re real bad. Like me trying things that are out of my comfort zone. It’s like, yeah, there’s a reason it’s out of your comfort zone, man.

PST: Goodbye Bread saw you trim the fuzz a bit. Should we expect the sound to continue to get cleaner and/or more focused, or is it more that that’s just what you happened to want to do then?

Segall: Definitely not cleaner. I think, no maybe you could say it’s recorded better, because Eric [Bauer], who recorded Goodbye Bread, got a new tape machine and it’s technically more high-fidelity. I don’t think it’s cleaner. We’re just using it in different ways. It’s definitely not part of that trajectory. It’s a totally different thing that’s not following that path. It’s a whole different thing, you know what I mean? Which is what I like doing. I like starting over for each record. To be honest I’m not the best at explaining where my head is when I’m making my records. The main idea is to make something different than before and make something that is better. Hopefully better.

… The Drag City release will be more song-focused than fuzz-focused. It’s kind of like the left and right sides of your brains. One is getting really loud and fucked up live and try to sonically hurt people. Like hurt their ears. And that’s something I want to achieve. And the other side is trying to write songs. … I had to get the band that I’m playing with in the studio because I really do feel like they’re a special group of people. We gotta record them because I feel so lucky to be playing with them. … Everybody rips so hard. And it’s totally different than on record. So I’m just super psyched to have them make a record.

PST: As far as the White Fence collaboration goes, how did that come about? And how will those live shows with the two of you play out — one at a time, and then together or something like that?

Segall: I just asked him, dude, we gotta do a record together man. I was like, I bet you I could get Drag City to do it. And they were like, yeah man, just go ahead and do it, and when it’s done, we’ll do it. So Tim came up like four diff occasions for two days, and we just wrote a lot of songs together and already had two each. It was super fast and really fun. He’s just insane at what he does, and it was really cool to have a different perspective on songwriting and push you to do things you’re not used to doing. He plays guitar like Jimi Hendrix, man. He’s a psychotic guitar player. … We’re basically gonna pick two or three of our favorite songs from the record and maybe play it in the middle of my set, Tim’s just gonna walk up and play it in my set, but it’s basically gonna be White Fence set and then my set after, and then in the middle of it we’re gonna play two or three songs from the record.

PST: When did you start playing music? What was your first band?

Segall: I started when I was like 15. I started playing drums. My first band was this like no wave dancepunk band called Love This. (laughs) We only played house parties. It was a ridiculous band. And Mikal Cronin was in that band. He played saxophone.

PST: I loved the Ty Rex mini album (a six-song T. Rex cover EP, released last year for Record Store Day). Would you do another for another artist?

Segall: Yeah man. Totally. I don’t know which artist. It’s not on the top of my agenda right now. I’d like to do a Bowie one. … Basically I tried to think of the most ridiculous thing I could think of that you’re not supposed to do. … It was like really fucking scary, man. You’re not supposed to do that. I think it turned out pretty good. I tried to do like 10 songs, but I ran out of time.

PST: Speaking of covers, I also really like the “Bullet Proof Nothing” [by Simply Saucer] cover you did and the Sabbath cover I saw you play in Eagle Rock last year. What covers are you playing lately live? Or would that ruin it?

Segall: We don’t really have any new covers. Usually we just throw in a couple of things — we covered “The End” by The Doors the other day. I haven’t figured that out yet. But hopefully something will come. Something ridiculous. I wanna cover that song “Moonage Daydream.”

Ty’s World
Ty Segall has some seven albums, two splits LPs, nine EPs/45”s, five split EPs and countless collaborations to his name, in addition to the albums he’ll release this year. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best releases from Ty and his collaborators.
 
Ty Segall SinglesSingles 2007-2010
 (2011, Goner)

A great overview of his records, singles et al. and as good a place as any to start with Segall’s catalog. It’s also a great place to pick up non-album tracks, like his screamy, nasty cover of OG punks Chain Gang’s “Son of Sam.”






Goodbye Bread
(2011, Drag City)

His most put-together record, aided by slightly cleaner production and slower tempos, which allow his hooks to shine through. Segall taps into late-era Beatles territory in songs like the spare title track and glam rock with the terrific “You Make the Sun Fry.”




 
ty segall meltedMelted
(2010, Goner)

As usual, Melted sports a variety of sounds, from sludgy rockers (the title track) to Beatles-esque folk rock (“Caeasar”), but it feels like his most cohesive and well-considered release to this point. And it has perhaps Segall’s catchiest song yet — the acidic “Girlfriend.”






Ty Segall LemonsLemons (2009, Goner)

 
Psych-folk adds to the lineup of rockers for a rough-and-tumble set. Maybe his most psychedelic record.







Ty Segall Ty SegallTy Segall
(2008, Revolver)

This is lo-fi rock ’n’ roll at its finest. Like early White Stripes or Jay Reatard, it’s raw and unpolished in the best way possible, but you never get the sense he’s just dicking around — there are great tunes under the din.







Horn the UnicornHorn the Unicorn (originally released on tape in 2008; reissued in 2010 on Captcha Records)

Segall’s first solo release wears its influences more proudly on its sleeve, from the Nuggetsy organ on songs like “Apples” and “Skin” to the old school punk of “Shoot Me in the Head” to the T. Rex stomp of “Can’t Talk to You.” If it’s less cohesive than other releases, it shows the scope of what Segall would undertake with future releases.



Mikal CroninMikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin
(2011, Trouble in Mind)

This beautiful psych-pop record from Segall’s longtime friend and collaborator was released last year and was a little too slept-on for my taste. A great and tuneful rock record with some gloriously heavy moments (“Green and Blue”).





White FenceWhite Fence – Is Growing Faith
(2011, Woodsist)

Super weird psych-pop from Segall’s current collaborator. “And By Always” sounds like a C86 tape left in the wash, while “Enthusiasm” makes compelling listening out of hearing a catchy garage-rock song try to escape the copious noise piled atop it. Recommended for fans of Elephant 6, ’80s college rock, weirdo garage rock — everyone, really.