Peter Walker "Second Poem to Karmela or Gypsies are Important" - A nearly forgotten masterpiece by legendary 60's multi-instrumentalist, Peter Walker. This is a beautiful reissue by Light In The Attic, they are doing God's work, aren't they? Don't be fooled by the slightly hippy-dippy title. "Of Mice And Men" was originally titled "Something that Happened" until Steinbeck's wife stepped in. Second Poem puts me in the same place as Tim Buckley's "Lorca" or the late, great Sandy Bull's "E Pluribus Unum". Slightly druggy, psychedelic folk with eastern instrumentation. Expansive modal bread and jam. It sure was a beautiful thing when all the clean-shaven, collegiate, spectacled students of guitar chewed up and reconfigured American folk blues mythology, then grew their beards and ordered sitars, sarods and tablas from the Sears catalog and went even deeper into song. Walker's career is unfairly overshadowed by folks like Fahey and Bull, it seems, but that's changing with the reissues from Tompkins Square and Light In the Attic. Get some.
Listen to Peter Walker's "Gypsy Song" HERE!
Dan Melchior Und Das Menace "Hunger" - Dan Melchior is one of the great humorist/satirist lyricists of our time, in my opinion. More lucid than Mark E. Smith, more English than Mark Twain. He's lived in America now for a decade and a half, from New York to North Carolina, observing, writing and recording. He has so many records that I feel like I'll never catch up, I'll never know just how ridiculous we all are, or how loved. Hunger is a great starting place for anyone interested in digging into Melchior's vast catalog. It's a collection of unreleased songs from his archives, cherry-picked by the Castle Face label. Start in medias res and work in both directions. There's garage rock, singer-songwriter, ambient noise, and an appreciation and distillation of various genres in his songwriting. His songs are infectious and yield more rewards as his worldview comes into focus through both repeated listening and collecting more records from this oracle of the comfortably underground. -SIMON
Listen to Dan Melchior's "It's the New Dark Ages" from his O Clouds Unfold LP HERE!
Mississippi Fred McDowell "I Do Not Play No Rock-n-Roll" - You know that Vic Chesnutt lyric from his song, Parade? "Remember that time you took me to see Harold and Maude because I didn't know the meaning of the word 'catharsis'?" Everyone should have this record and play it all the time, for the same reason. What doesn't kill you sometimes gives you the passport to the kind of empathy necessary to heal the whole goddamn world. Mississippi Fred McDowell is one of the best things to happen to the 20th century and this record is just one of his mighty testaments. "61 Highway" is a Fred McDowell song. You think "Highway 61 Revisited" just sprang unpollinated from Zeus' swollen head? Not likely, friends. "You Gotta Move" is on here too, the Rolling Stones knew who to steal from, just as any self-preserving artist does. Fred means it when he says he doesn't play rock-n-roll, but rock-n-roll cannot be played without asking him permission first. -SIMON
Listen to Mississippi Fred McDowell's "You Gotta Move" HERE!
Lou Reed, John Cale, and Nico "Le Bataclan Paris Jan. 29th 1972" - This bootleg has kicked around a long time in various forms. The scene is a dream deferred, as close to a Velvet Underground reunion as we ever got during the height of their collective powers. One concert in a small club in Paris with pugnacious Reed, overshadowed Cale, and the coldest, darkest heavyweight champion of the world, Nico. This version of the legendary concert sounds amazing. My only wish is that the cover art were more in line with the aesthetics of the band. Kind of a hideous, graphic art nightmare, but hey, it's the vinyl that matters. Lou's pissy banter at the microphone would be worth the price of admission on this alone but the show yields much greater rewards, from all your favorite VU songs to solo material by all three songwriters. The killer here is Nico's set, she unequivocally steals the show and tears the place down with songs from The Marble Index and Desertshore, making Wild Child look like the spoiled brat that it is. I know it's a bit expensive but um, it really is that great. -SIMON
Listen to the trio's version of "Femme Fatale" HERE!
Khorshid is an Egyptian guitarist whose suaveness pervades both his look (check out that photo on the cover) and his performance. I usually avoid live albums on vinyl because the performance rarely justifies the format, but this album is one of those rarities. The recording is “hot” in engineer terms, really up front and with a treble crispness that gives the playing a tenouous level of instability. I have to come at this via my Western ears, but it is clear why Sun City Girl Alan Bishop released this. There is an unmistakable influence here, with scales running up and down the guitar in melodic beauty. -BEN
Bill Fay: Who Is The Sender & Life Is People (Dead Oceans)I feel like many latter day Bill Fay fans arrived at him much like I did. After fully digesting Scott Walkers 1-4 LPs, I asked, “Where to now?” Thankfully, I soon discovered Fay’s initial two releases from the early seventies. Heartfelt vocals, ornate symphonics, abstract yet personal lyrics….yes yes yes. Here are two Fay records after decades of silence, and the touches of bombast heard in his early material has given way to delicate grace. These songs carry step out of your speakers like a cat coming out from under the couch to see if the coast is clear. His voice, roughened by age, has such a soft quality, they sound like a collection of comforting bedtime stories. This is what you always wanted your favorite musicians of the past to ideally morph into as they age – honest, nuanced and keenly aware of what made their earlier recordings so wonderful. -BEN
When I was a kid, I’d pore through role-playing rule books. They were dense texts filled with statistical info, and I felt smart just reading through them. More than that, though, they promised a complete line of thought; they created a world, stuck to the rules and boundaries, and then left it up to you to create what actually would happen within it. This is what Ben Chansy has along with his new album, Hexadic. The record, which recalls the grinding unrepentant rock of the hardest hitting SST and Touch & Go records, was written by a pack of cards. He’s created those cards, as well as a beautifully printed rule book on how to make your own Hexadic compositions. There is nothing less here in this bundle then a whole universe of complete thought, a Moneyball applied to adventurous guitar play. And indeed, things sometimes sound otherwordly, while never losing grip on the logic that binds it all together. This is a book and system I’d choose to be on a desert island with, because the possibilities it offers could occupy a lifetime. –BEN
Hearts & Flowers "Of Horses, Kids And Forgotten Women" - Primarily overshadowed by a monster country-rock album from the same year, "Of Horses, Kids and Forgotten Women" has every bit of punch and barnyard singalong as said monster, but tickles your jawbone in a way that your sweetheart never could. Hearts & Flowers disbanded after this, their second effort, and disappeared in to those dreaded Los Angeles hills, with burritos and hotels in their eyes. -MIKE
Check out the track "Second-Hand Sundown Queen" HERE!
Sapat "A Posthuman Guide To The Advent Calendar Origins Of The Peep Show" - This record finds us traveling down the long and dusty highway and leaves us desperately crawling towards the next exit. Filled with faded memories of glossy-eyed glares towards your favorite slacker-rock album's inner label and watching it spin, spin, spiiiiiin on your college dorm's turntable. Check your speakers. Are you hearing this right? You probably aren't. -MIKE
Check out the track "Rock Face" HERE!
Owen Maercks: Teenage Sex Therapist (Feeding Tube)
Owen Maercks: Teenage Sex Therapist (Feeding Tube)
The undiscovered album that launched a trio of sax careers. What more could we want? The story of this album is best read while Maercks sings "process and product" over and over in "I've Been Sleeping With Great Works Of Art." Undiscovered swagger trumps swagger, this time. -KATIE
I used to have a lot of childhood dreams about tigers in my house, and this is the only thing that heals me. –KATIE
What it would sound like if someone trapped you in a vat of JELL-O and wheeled you into a Velvet Underground concert where the Velvet Underground covered The Beatles and you're entranced but also wondering “Am I naked? JELL-O feels great.” -KATIE
Head on back to the Grapefruit Store!