Monday, April 30, 2007

Turn Back the Clock

The Brigade - Last Laugh

Music moves so slowly nowadays, there really isn't that much difference sonically between a record from 1997 and 2007. But there was a time...

This record came out, in the sense that there were like 50 or so pressed, in 1970. But it sounds pretty much like a frat rock record from 1965. The only concessions to the modern day seem to be a wah-wah pedal and a homemade Sgt Pepper-ish outro for side 1. And that's cool by me.

For a bunch of high school kids, there's a bit of instrumental talent on display here. I'm gonna guess these kids met in the jazz lab in school. In particular, the drummer has some kick-ass non-rock sounding beats. The single mic recording quality plus the swing feel gives this an odd sort of old jazz record vibe. The singer could use some R&B, but the nice harmonies take the edge off a bit.

Well, I guess one other thing marks this as 1970 - these are all originals. And those are the rocks on which many of these small crafts wash up on. As far as amateur songwriters go, I'll give 'em a solid B.

The best song for me, by far, is the album closer. It's the whole deal - good keyboard lead, groovy Zombies harmonies, and a sticky vocal hook. Everybody is laughing....we got the last laugh.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hippies Are Cool

Buzzy Linhart - Buzzy

Buzzy Linhart was a fringe participant in the NY folk scene from the early 60s through at least 1980 or so. He was both a side man and a recording artist for much of this time.
He is probably best known for a band that never recorded - a raga group that backed Fred Neil for a bit in 65-66 or so. If anyone has a tape of that....
His first recording was a group called Seventh Sons that did an extended raga-ish piece on ESP. The recording data claims 1964, I'm guessing it's more 67, though. It's cool, but not earth shattering.
This is the first under his name, and it came out on Philips in 1969. The front half is not terribly far from where Fred Neil was at the time. Meandering, vaguely raga feels, slow tempos, kinda blues phrasing. The difference is that Fred Neil is one of the top five vocalists, and Buzzy Linhart is not.
The back half is mostly taken up by a single sitar session called Sing Joy. It is about as Hare Krishna as a major label release gets. Meaning hippie bliss, mothas. Yee-hah!
Buzzy must have been fond of putting out albums called Buzzy, because he did it at least twice. The other one, like the rest of his stuff that I've heard, doesn't hold much for me. When he outgrew the raga, he left me behind.
Burned from vinyl in good, not great shape.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Other Other Kaleidoscope


It seems like every 10-square block radius had a band called Kaleidoscope in 1967-9. Here's the Mexico version.

This is a really fun record. Very amateur hour, and lots of try anything spirit. There is a surprising amount of studio trickery for a non-US production of the time.

I think of this record as a low-rent Steppenwolf. If you're not a fan of the 'wolf, don't let this scare you. Neither am I, and I really like this knockoff version.

Re-up: by request

GTOs - Permanent Vacation

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Let's See If This Thing Works

Sandy Bull - E Pluribus Unum

This is my first attempt at a vinyl rip with my new set up. Please loyal listeners, give me feedback about how this sounds. Questions I have:

1) Are there any glitches in the sound? I'm not hearing any, but in some of the testing I did on other records, I had problems.

2) How are the levels? Am I getting clipping? Too soft?

I chose to do this as my first burn for a couple reasons. One, it has one track per side, so I still haven't needed to learn how to put song breaks in yet. Baby steps.

More importantly, this is a genius fuckin' album. Deep as the Pacific Ocean, and twenty times as weird. Sandy is using the reverb and tremelo sounds as timekeepers here, playing against the drones set up by the effects. Don't believe AMG when they say this is Bull's worst album, because they LIE. This is the real deal.

If you like this, pick up the new live release on Water. It was recorded about the same time as Pluribus came out, and has a lot of the same material.

I'll wait until I get a couple of comments on the quality of the burn to get back on a regular schedule. I've got a few cool things to add on the way, so lemme know what you think.

Monday, April 2, 2007

We're Not Dead, Just Sleeping

IRA fans will note that we've been pretty quiet over the past couple of weeks. Here at the underground IRA HQ, we're doing R&D on a new IT setup. In our continuing effort to optimize the fidelity of our sound reproduction, we've upgraded our equipment. When our dumb-ass old school technophobes figure out how it works, maybe the torrent of music will begin again. I'd say, give us a couple weeks, then.

You know, though, the whole process would seem a lot more rewarding and important if the IRA could get a little bit of support from the readers on the interweb thingy. Lately, I'm gettin' nuttin' but crickets out there.