Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Jigsaw Seen - Zenith - 2000


Soon after its release in September 2000 on the band's own Vibro-Phonic label, the Jigsaw Seen's Zenith garnered a lot of attention, much of it derived from its inventive packaging, which was nominated for a Grammy in the best recording package category. The innovative cover art -- co-designed by lead guitarist/group co-founder Jonathan Lea and Grammy-winning art director Rachel Gutek -- featured a die-cut that revealed the compact disc inside the digipack; rotating the CD showed 11 different classic TV images on a TV screen. Although the clever artwork was worthy of praise, the group's music on that shiny disc deserved to be praised just as highly. The Jigsaw Seen -- the longtime L.A. favorites formed there in 1986 -- began recording the tracks for this release back in 1995, but Lea and co-leader Dennis Davison (who paid for the recordings themselves) didn't finish recording and mixing the album's 11 tracks until 1999. Its release was a long time coming, fully nine years after their full-length debut, Shortcut Through Clown Alley, was issued by the now-defunct New Jersey-based Skyclad label. Zenith reveals Davison and Lea's remarkable range of influences, which include '60s and early-'70s bands and artists like Arthur Lee's Love, the Kinks, the Pretty Things, Big Star, early Bee Gees, and pre-glam David Bowie. Davison and Lea -- both accomplished musicians -- experimented by introducing an astonishing array of instruments (including mellotron, stylophone, Optigan organ, analog synth, and E-Bow). They were, from time to time, also assisted by guest musicians, including D.J. Bonebrake (ex-X, ex-the Knitters) on vibes and percussion and Danny McGough (of Shivaree and Tom Waits' touring band) on harmonium. Highlights abound, from the Big Star-influenced opening track, "Letter to the Editor," accented by roaring 12-string guitar and Kristian Hoffman's sublime piano. "Celebrity Interview" is charged with loud guitars, Hammond organ, and prickly pizzicato strings. Another key Jigsaw Seen tune, "Fiddlesticks," finds them in an introspective minor-key mood, with Bonebrake's wood block highlights providing a sound not often heard in this genre. Other highlights include the Gene Clark-ish "Girl on a Red Velvet Swing" and the hauntingly sober and beautiful "If My Eyes Offend You," which combines medieval and somber folk themes. The album comes to a resounding climax with "Big Hand," a dolorous epic of mellotrons, harmonium, piano, and white noise/static. -AMG



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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Webstirs - Radio Racket - 2000

Preston Pisellini (guitars /vocals) and Mark Winkler (keyboards /vocals) began their collaboration as childhood friends in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Elmhurst penning 'Leroy', a semi -autobiographical musical about a stowaway rat that becomes the Emperor of Rome. The collaboration continued in the formation of several bands at the Univeristy of Illinois where the two attended and eventually led to the creation of The Webstirs with the release of their first album, Smirk (1996), a nod to the then unreleased Beach Boys legendary album Smile. Smirk was followed by two full lengths, Rocket to the Moon (1996) and Radio Racket (2000) And the 7" Gallaudet/Liberty Camp on Chicago's Ginger Records. -thewebstirs.com



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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Gerry Alvarez Odyssey - Candy Prankster - 2006


The first solo CD effort from singer, guitarist and founding member of Canadian Garage-Punk Legends "The Gruesomes"!! During the long breaks in the bands career Gerry has written, recorded and produced 11 original slices of Psych Rock reflecting a wide range of moods + emotions. A virtual cornucopia of driven rhythms + surreal passion commencing with the fuzzed-fueled and sly lyric humour of the title track "Candy Prankster" thru the catchy lead-in hook + warning of "Fly by Night" to the phased-out inverted guitar/vocal harmonies + far eastern drone of "Urban Shaman + Heaven" then culmination with subtle effect on the Lennonesque inspired "The Trail"!! Superbly assembled and performed... produced by Gerry Alvarez and Alphonse Lanza. RICOCHET SOUND is proud to offer this aural delicacy to the world... But don't take our word for it!! THE TIME IS NOW! JUMP ON BOARD AND JOIN THE ODYSSEY!!! -thegerryalvarezodyssey



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Monday, September 27, 2010

Sweet Relief helping to raise money for musician Gary Myrick


One of our nation’s outstanding artist’s, Gary Myrick, was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and is undergoing surgery in early September 2010. Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, along with Gary’s family, music industry friends and fans seek support to help defray medical costs and vital personal expenses during this difficult time.

Due to challenging economic times for musicians and all Americans, Gary found himself unable to maintain health insurance over the past year. Unfortunately, during a recent medical checkup, it was discovered that Gary had prostate cancer. While a full recovery looks promising, the expense of surgery, hospitalization and lost income will cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Gary decided to work with Sweet Relief because he knew that sharing his personal story would help the thousands of musicians facing illness and disability who do not have a network to come to their aid. A portion of all funds raised for the Sweet Relief / Gary Myrick Fund will go to assist those artists.


If you wish to donate you can do so online through this Chip In Widget. Donations can all be made at our website www.sweetrelief.org



Or send a check or Money Order to:
Sweet Relief / Gary Myrick Fund, 4952 Warner Avenue, Suite 235
Huntington Beach, CA 92649


If you wish to do more, like have a benefit show, donate items etc. please contact Sweet Relief at info@sweetrelief.org
Phone: 714-846-3030


Direct contributions can still also be sent to:

Gary Myrick, 14622 Ventura Blvd. #430, Sherman Oaks, CA. 91602 or via PayPal to misshellbelly@aol.com. Checks or money order should be made out to Gary Myrick. Rate this posting:

Electric Crayon Set - One Man's Trash - 2002

The Electric Crayon Set is a psychedelic powerpop band with a raw but folky edge. Its music leans heavily on the 60s psychedelic /mod pop legacy of the Zombies, Small Faces and the Creation not forgetting the twisted pop geniuses of the 70s, 80s and 90s of which XTC, Martin Newell and the Jam spring to mind in the first place. Electric Crayon Sets songs have ultra catchy choruses while the songs themselves are sometimes mystic, idiosyncratic and often even weird.
The creative talent behind these interesting pop ditties is Timo Pkk, a 43 year singer/guitarist/songwriter. A self-confessed anglophile and a huge rock and pop fan ( and, errmm if possible. even bigger fan of English soccer ). A recording career spanning two decades has seen our versatile front man record finnish pop, aussie style 80s indie guitar rock and even rockabilly.- electriccrayonset
 


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Friday, September 24, 2010

Silver Sun - B Is For Silver Sun - 1997


Another Japanese -only compilation of B-sides, this 11-track album is as impressive as the two that came before it. Great songs, great harmonies, and a powerhouse guitar attack that embraces you and shakes you off of your foundation. This time, all the tracks were taken from the two-part U.K. singles for "Golden Skin," "Julia" and one from the re-released "Lava." "She'll Do" appears on CD here for the first time, having been previously only available on vinyl. There are no songs on this release taken from their debut album. -AMG




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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Gits - Enter: The Conquering Chicken - 1994


Before the Gits' second album, Enter: The Conquering Chicken, could be completed, lead singer Mia Zapata was brutally raped and murdered, lending an atmosphere of solemnity to the proceedings that might not otherwise be so prevalent. The tone of this record is actually lighter than the previous one, although that's due in large part to some of the filler material necessitated by Zapata's absence; most of it is lighthearted, especially given the circumstances, and there are two versions of "Social Love" back to back, one a solo acoustic performance by Zapata. The first half of the record holds much of its substance, including a surprisingly effective cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," and Zapata's fully fleshed-out originals can be positively harrowing. Enter: The Conquering Chicken can't quite be up to the level of Frenching the Bully, since there's no way the album could truly be completed, but parts of it stand as a powerful epitaph, and the informal tone of the filler actually helps paint a more complete picture of Zapata as a human being. -AMG



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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - 1998


Perhaps best likened to a marching band on an acid trip, Neutral Milk Hotel's second album is another quixotic sonic parade; lo-fi yet lush, impenetrable yet wholly accessible, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is either the work of a genius or an utter crackpot, with the truth probably falling somewhere in between. Again teaming with producer Robert Schneider, Jeff Mangum invests the material here with new maturity and clarity; while the songs run continuously together, as they did on the previous On Avery Island, there is a much clearer sense of shifting dynamics from track to track, with a greater emphasis on structure and texture. Mangum's vocals are far more emotive as well; whether caught in the rush of spiritual epiphany ("The King of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two and Three") or in the grip of sexual anxiety ("Two-Headed Boy"), he sings with a new fervor, composed in equal measure of ecstasy and anguish. However, as his musical concepts continue to come into sharper focus, one hopes his stream-of-consciousness lyrical ideas soon begin to do the same; while Mangum spins his words with the rapid-fire intensity of a young Dylan, the songs are far too cryptic and abstract to fully sink in -- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is undoubtedly a major statement, but just what it's saying is anyone's guess. -AMG



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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beatnik Filmstars - Boss Disque - 1997


Boss Disque could almost be called a departure from the Beatnik Filmstars' M.O. -- the white-noise-on-catchy-tunes ethic is still in effect (and we wouldn't have it any other way), but the record is smoothed over in an entirely tasteful manner, and actually seems to be written for the band's waves of tape hiss and fuzz. The result is the Filmstars' best record to this point -- 22 tracks of buzzy, reckless, yet oddly laid-back pop that's nearly impossible not to love. What's most interesting is that the process of honing the band's somewhat "difficult" sound has brought them to their most accessible release. -AMG



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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Ropers - The World Is Fire - 1997


The Washington, D.C.-based indie pop band the Ropers was formed in 1991 by singer Doug Bailey and guitarist Mike Hammel, students at the University of Maryland who quit school after two years to begin making music. They soon recruited drummer Alex Hacker, whom both Bailey and Hammel knew from their brief stint in the Lilys; with bassist Greg Pavlovcak, the Ropers recorded their debut single, the 1992 Slumberland label release "Sunbathe," soon followed by "I Don't Mind." In 1994 the group released a self-titled EP, with the full-length All the Time following a year later; Hacker departed in early 1996, and with new drummer Mike Donovan, the Ropers recorded their TeenBeat label debut The World Is Fire, disbanding a short time later. -AMG



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