Friday, December 27, 2019

Purple Roses





















And here we go with For The Sake Of The Song's dirty dozen of 2019, so take a step behind if you please. Unseen and out of sight, between the country and the mountains and the sea, and with ripping artwork by Tinca, these are the albums that moved and shook us this year.

1. Rose City Band - Rose City Band
2. Ian Noe - Between The Country
3. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
4. Garcia Peoples -  One Step Behind
5. Joan Shelley - Like The River Loves The Sea
6. Steve Gunn - The Unseen In Between
7. Jake Xerxes Fussell - Out Of Sight
8. Dire Wolves - Grow Towards The Light
9. Nick Cave - Ghosteen
10. James Matthew VII - Stoned When I Pray
11. Simon Joyner - Pocket Moon
12. Hiss Golden Messenger - Terms Of Surrender

Rose City Band - Rip City

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Groovy Thunder





















It's nearly time for the inevitable FTSOTS end of year list, but let's get the finest reissues and archival albums of 2019 out of the way first ok? You'll come alive when the band starts swinging... With stocking stuffing artwork by the almighty Tinca, it's ho ho ho and here we go.

1. Peter Laughner - The Peter Laughner Box
2. Bob Dylan - The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings
3. Jimi Hendrix - Songs For Groovy Children: The Fillmore East Concerts
4. v/a - If You're Not Part Of The Solution: Soul, Politics And Spirituality In Jazz '67-'75
5. Jim Sullivan - If The Evening Were Dawn
6. Neil Young & The Stray Gators - Tuscaloosa
7. Sachiko Kanenobu - Misora
8. Grateful Dead - Dave's Picks Vol. 30: Fillmore East 1970
9. v/a - Black Man's Pride 3: None Shall Escape The Judgement Of The Almighty
10. Tunng - This Is Tunng... Magpie Bites And Other Cuts

Peter Laughner - Fat City Jive

Monday, December 23, 2019

On The Road Again





















Two recent acquisitions from Bandcamp, which remains a cool institution to say the least. First up is Party of the Sun, a young and mellow combo from rural New Hampshire. Clearly inspired by early seventies psychfolk, their Trekker is a confident debut that feels like a warm bath.
Party of the Sun - Sea Surrounds

And the bath water is even warmer on Stoned When I Pray by James Matthew VII, a Canadian session veteran who finally saw fit to release his full lenght debut recently. Smelling like a forgotten country rock classic, it's got lots of pedal steel and a surprising guest role for Augie Meyers of Sir Doug fame to boot.
James Matthew VII - Stoned When I Pray

Friday, December 20, 2019

Let In The Sun





















Underrated roots picker Charlie Parr takes on a classic composition by fellow Minnesotan Grant Hart, and he does that very well indeed.
Charlie Parr - Twenty-Five Fourty-One

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Ramble On





















Since it's been ten years ago since picker extraordinaire Jack Rose left us, the fine folks at Tompkins Square decided a special commemoration was in order. The resulting tribute rings like a bell and what's more, provides ample opportunity to discover some exciting new names on the solo guitar front.
Mariano Rodriguez - Raga For Dr. Ragtime

Monday, December 16, 2019

Trippin' Out





















Delicate instrumentals in an ambient desert style? High Line by SUSS bring us exactly that. File under mood music for imaginary westerns.
SUSS - Road Trip Part 4 (Fork In The Road)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Monster















Just got the sad news that Roy Loney has passed away at 73. The original singer of the Flamin' Groovies, and later of the Phantom Movers, was born on Friday the 13th and died on Friday the 13th. Miss him.
Flamin' Groovies - Teenage Head

Friday, December 13, 2019

Passing Through





















Happy Len's last will and testament, tastefully curated by his son Adam. And a fine farewell it is, too, with Catalan guitar maestro Javier Mas stealing the show on all things with strings. Lilies from the dead indeed.
Leonard Cohen - The Night Of Santiago

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

No Problem





















All hail this new, exemplary compilation. Subtitle says it all really: Soul, Politics and Spirituality in Jazz 1967-1975. So just dig that delightful, understatedly funky track below to hear what's going down here and be sure to put If You're Not Part Of The Solution on your Xmas lists pronto.
Johnny Lytle - Tawhid

Monday, December 9, 2019

Try To See





















It's not that often you get a musical surprised in a bar, but this righteous roots track from legendary Studio One came on when I was enjoying a drink in one of my fave watering holes in the barrio last weekend. You have to take this ride, my brethren, if only for that deep bass and that lovely swirling organ.
Al Campbell - Take A Ride

Friday, December 6, 2019

What I Do Well





















Boring Prince Billy? Never thought I'd say that, but ever since Mr. Oldham tied the knot a couple of years back the edge seems to have gone out of his music. Coincidence? Who knows, but all I can say is he just doesn't move me the way he used to do, and he used to move me a lot. Bonnie may have made a place alright, but the also made the damp squib of the year.
Bonnie Prince Billy - Squid Eye

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Worth The World





















Mr. Smog shows his good taste by covering obscure outlaw Lee Clayton. And as his interpretation of the happy Len classic on the flip ain't half bad either, I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hope of a full-length covers album.
Bill Callahan - If You Could Touch Her At All
Lee Clayton - If You Could Touch Her At All

Monday, December 2, 2019

Out There





















Jazz on a monday with a fresh re-release of a rather obscure 1966 album by the unique Sun Ra. Tune in and travel them spaceways, folks.
Sun Ra - The Idea Of It All

Friday, November 29, 2019

No Evil Spirits





















All hail Rikki Ililonga, who proves himself a true Zamrock pioneer on Musi-O-Tunya's Dark Sunrise from '75. That wild sax is the cream of the cake of course.
Musi-O-Tunya - Dark Sunrise

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Have You Heard





















Spotlight on three old live gigs, excavated this year. The Gregg Allman Tour was recorded when Gregg was on the road in '74 promoting his first solo album Laid Back, with Cowboy as his backing band. Goes without saying it's an inspired and often quite funky affair all around.
Gregg Allman - Queen Of Hearts (live '74)

Listening to Tim Buckley is always a joy. Here he is helped by percussionist Carter Collins and a nameless bassplayer on stage in Chicago back in '69. A charming audience recording with quite a bit of tape hiss, but when the star sailor is in improvisational full flight, who gives a damn?
Tim Buckley - Green Rocky Road/Hush, Little Baby (live '69)

And last but not least, ladies & gentlemen: the greatest guitar slinger of 'em all. Jimi's Songs For Groovy Children set compiles all the Fillmore Concerts with his legendary Band Of Gypsys, which means we've got an essential document on our hands here. "Do I laugh, baby, do I cry..."
Jimi Hendrix - Who Knows (live '69)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Have You Seen





















A bit underwhelming, this new volume of Bob's Bootleg Series. Has a lot to do with the incredible riches of previous installments of course. Most of the charming sessions with Johnny Cash have been circulating for a long time already, and the alternate takes from John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline are nice to have but not really that special. Still, there are plenty nuggets to be found here, like this previously unknown outtake from the Nashville Skyline sessions.
Bob Dylan - Western Road (take 1)

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Just Goodnight





















Last will and testament dept: the mighty Light in the Attic just released a fine collection of acoustic demos by Jim 'UFO' Sullivan. While we will probably never know what exactly happened to the enigmatic musician on that fateful day in the desert, at least all of his recorded works have been released now. "Birds without wings they never touch the sky..."
Jim Sullivan - What To Tell Her

Monday, November 18, 2019

Here It Comes




















Looking for something different? Some exquisite instrumental miniatures maybe? Then check out versatile guitarist Ryley Walker's latest project, on which he teams up with jazz drummer Charles Rumback. Subdued tension never sounded so good.
Charles Rumback & Ryley Walker - Self Blind Sun

Sunday, November 17, 2019

You're So Nice





















A small fragment from Slits guitarist Viv Albertine's highly entertaining autobiography Clothes, Music, Boys: "Johnny doesn't take his eyes off my face, he sings this song to me too. I'm rooted to the spot, I can't believe what's happening. This is the way to win a girl. He sings the whole set to me. Every single song straight into my eyes. He changes the words to Can't Keep My Eyes On You to Can't Keep My Eyes Off You..." Charmer Johnny. A couple days later, he would introduce his latest flame to heroin.
Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers - Can't Keep My Eyes On You
The Slits - Love Und Romance

Friday, November 15, 2019

See The Beauty





















A new Joan Shelley album is always a gift. And Like The River Loves The Sea, recorded in Iceland with prime pickers Nathan Salsburg and James Elkington, might just be her best yet. As it proved real tough to select a  favorite tune, I went for the bittersweet gem below as it features Bonnie Prince Billy on co-vocals. Later it dawned on me that The Fading probably would have been even better without his contribution.
Joan Shelley - The Fading

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Better Believe Me





















Obscure soul singer from Atlanta gets warned away by mom and dad, but falls in love with that bad girl anyway. Lord have mercy indeed.
Lee Moses - Bad Girl, Pt. 1

Monday, November 11, 2019

Hugging Trees





















Pretty obvious and kinda clear: Matt Valentine and Pat 'PG Six' Gubler do the bass-heavy funky wah wah jam thing and they do it very well. From Water Weird, out now on the always interesting Three Lobed label.
Wet Tuna - Cowpath 40

Friday, November 8, 2019

Full Of Fire





















So this is the epitaph for his late son Arthur, and not predecessor Skeleton Tree as everybody assumed at the time. Atmospheric and solemn but not too bleak soundscapes by Warren Ellis set the tone, with St. Nick crooning like he's Leonard Cohen's long lost offspring. Very impressive, at times almost suffocatingly so, though there is a glimmer of light to be found here and there, too. The keywords are horses, ghosts, and Jesus, and you can make of that what you will. "And the little white shape dancing at the end of the hall is just a wish that time can't dissolve at all..."
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Bright Horses

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Connect The Lines





















Hey now, I guess we can all agree that Dead archivist Dave Lemieux's got the best job ever. He just finished curating Volume 32 of his Dave's Picks series, which means a 3 disc registration of a fine fine 1973 gig at the Spectrum in Philly. And if that's not enough, he picked a bunch of choice nuggets for 30 Days of Dead month again, too. Head on over to board that bus here and keep waving your freak flag high.
Grateful Dead - Wave That Flag (live Philadelphia '73)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Reveal Everything





















Simon Joyner, the amiable singer/songwriter from Omaha, Nebraska, has been building an impressive oeuvre since starting out in 1992. After all these years he's still a cult artist though, and maybe that's the reason he looks rather sad on the sleeve of his most recent album Pocket Moon. Whatever the case, it's yet another impeccable collection of intriguing songs to get lost in, both the missus and I agree... Lend him your ear, all of you, and go see him live if you can, as he's on tour in Europe as we speak.
Simon Joyner - Morning Sun, Slow Down

Friday, November 1, 2019

Please Lord





















A fine and varied collection of rare black gospel from the midwest, courtesy of Chicago collector and producer Ramona Stout, and brought to you by the always reliable Tompkins Square label. Out in a couple of weeks, but here's a righteous taste already.
The Travelers Of Zion - I Want You To Help Me

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Could Be Time





















Our fave Jersey jammers release their second album of the year, comprised of only two long songs this time. One is a mellow beauty evoking prime Dead, the other a mini symphony of kraut-influenced trancerock. The latter, the title track, starts with a saxophone played by the dad of one of the Peoples, and they build things up nice and slow, taking a glorious ten minutes before their trademark guitars actually kick in. Really different, really good. Here's the single edit, but trust me, you really need to put the complete 32 minute monster in your pipe.
Garcia Peoples - One Step Behind (single edit)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Is There Gold?





















Just my luck: got tickets for a Mark Lanegan gig tonight - been a while: last time I saw him he was still fronting the mighty Screaming Trees - and I just found out his new album is not to my taste at all. That trademark bariton sounds fine as always of course, but the songs on Somebody's Knocking are rather  throwaway and these eighties-sounding synths and booming drums don't help much either. Where recent albums like the ones made with Duke Garwood were electronica-heavy as well, that was subtly done. Here he hits you over the head with it. Oh well.
Mark Lanegan Band - Night Flight To Kabul

Let's keep an open mind and see what happens onstage at Sala Apolo later on. All I know is I prefer him sounding like this:
Mark Lanegan - The River Rise
Mark Lanegan - No Contestar
Mark Lanegan - Halcyon Daze

Friday, October 25, 2019

Like A Dream





















Got some new flamenco for you this sunny Friday. Alfonso Carpio Fernandez, better known as Mijita, is part of one of the great flamenco dynasties of Jerez de la Frontera. And with a little help from the usual local suspects on guitar, he lives up to the high standard set by his forefathers. Nothing too heavy mind, but El Palacio De Cristal is an easy going, airy album. Brings back that summer feeling, too.
Alfonso Carpio Fernandez 'Mijita' - A Mi Me Falta Aire

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Close Your Eyes





















An offer that you might refuse? This new box set aims for a re-discovery of the Mats' much maligned Don't Tell A Soul album, which loses its eighties pop sound a bit in a new mix by original producer Matt Wallace. Interesting to say the least. As a bonus, you get a not that stellar earlier session with Tony Berg at the helm, and a blistering Milwaukee live gig. Hop a ride why don't you.
Replacements - Talent Show (Matt Wallace mix)

Monday, October 21, 2019

Watch Me Cry

















Just got the sad news that Nick Tosches passed away yesterday. The New York author, one of the so-called Noise Boys together with Richard Meltzer and Lester Bangs, was 69. He was the writer of many inspired novels, music books, and biographies, all in a distinctive gonzo style. Hellfire, his vivid portrait of wild man of rock & roll Jerry Lee Lewis, remains required reading for every self-respecting music lover. Miss him.
Jerry Lee Lewis - Wine Me Up

Friday, October 18, 2019

Eye On The Moon





















A wonderful present for yesterday's birthday boy: a beautiful box with the collected works of Peter Laughner, the extremely talented but equally self-destructive Cleveland musician, music writer, and scenester from Cleveland who died far too young at only 24 years of age back in '77. The connaisseurs among you may remember him as a co-founder of the seminal Rocket from the Tombs and the mighty Pere Ubu. With a mixture of fine originals and inspired covers, all rather lo-fi but who gives a damn, this 5 disc plus big book labour of love makes you wonder what could have been, and then some... Play on.
Peter Laughner - Cinderella Backstreet
Peter Laughner - (Going To) China

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Open Your Eyes





















A new Hiss record is always welcome around here, and Terms Of Surrender proves no exception. This one's intimate and atmospheric without trying too hard to resemble an old Van the Man album, and always uplifting despite MC Taylor's ongoing searches of the soul. "Daddy, take down your sorrow..."
Hiss Golden Messenger - Cat's Eye Blue

Monday, October 14, 2019

Deep & Wide





















For some reason or other, songs about rivers are often really cool. This one's no exception. Relaxed hippie vibes from a '73 private press.
Jim Spencer - River Run

Friday, October 11, 2019

No One Else





















At 83, Lee 'Scratch' Perry is still alive and kicking, recording and gigging. And that's cool of course. But as I prefer the early output of the wizard producer from Kendal, Jamaica, let's skank to a trio of deep cuts from the Upsetter years today. "I am the avenger, you'll never get away from me..."
Lee 'King' Perry - I Am The Upsetter
The Upsetters - French Connection Chapter 2
The Upsetters - Bad Lamp

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Barest Of Bones





















A soulful Dutch lofi gem from 1995 I had all but forgotten about. Still sounds mighty fine.
Gitbox - Wrecked It Good

Monday, October 7, 2019

Om Indeed





















Volume 9 of the always interesting Imaginary Anthem series dedicated to American Primitive solo guitar was curated by none other than folk maverick Ryley Walker. Says he: 'Music biz is a shit biz but guitar players are pretty intuitive at making it work...' Right on the ball. To illustrate, here's a lovely guitar mantra by Ryan Jewell and pals under the Mosses moniker.
Mosses - Om Ah Hung

Friday, October 4, 2019

Stay Alive





















Still a few trips behind with volume nine already looming large on the horizon, but I finally managed to score the seventh trip of Riding Easy's amazing Brown Acid series. And yup, it's yet another fine collection of goodies from the tail end of the sixties, when the hippie dream had faded and harsh reality set in. Good times? Go tell 'em, Children.
Nobody's Children - Good Times

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Momentous Truth





















Patti's new book is another keeper. Here's a fine example: "A homeless fellow in a long, gray overcoat and purple watch cap was scrawling a message on a brick wall with a thick piece of pink chalk. I slipped a five in his cup next to a makeshift bed of flattened cardboard, then watched his fingers as the words slowly emerged: Belinda Carlisle Matters. Why? I asked Why does Belinda Carlisle matter? He stared at me for a fairly long time that extended into an even longer time, all the way back to when cities were merely hills. He shifted his gaze from me to over his shoulder, then down to his shoes, then finally looked up and answered in a low voice. She's got the beat."
The Go-Go's - We Got The Beat

Monday, September 30, 2019

Still Feeling Blue





















Hot on the heels of last year's wonderful Both Directions At Once comes another lost piece of the Trane puzzle. As this more or less forgotten soundtrack session from 1964 contains mostly alternate takes of familiar tunes, Blue World may not be as amazing a find, but fine takes they are, so who's complaining?
John Coltrane - Blue World

Friday, September 27, 2019

No Idea





















Neighbor Lady hails from Athens, Georgia. May give off a bit of a nineties indierock vibe, but still a band to watch.
Neighbor Lady - Let It Bleed

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Vanished In The Air















Just got the sad news that Robert Hunter has passed away. The Californian writer, best known as non-playing member and lyricist of the Grateful Dead, was 78. He wrote the words for classics as Dark Star, St. Stephen, Ripple, Dire Wolf, Uncle John's Band and Trucking amongst many others. Miss him.
Grateful Dead - Friend Of The Devil (live San Francisco '70)

Monday, September 23, 2019

Passing Through





















Relentless touring needs to be documented of course, which is why a second collection of live mayhem from the rockingest band this side of Crazy Horse comes as no surprise really. Keep on howlin, guys.
Howlin Rain - Missouri (live)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I Need Some






















Cranking up the fuzz today with a rare 1970 single by the obscure Ron Wray Light Show. Instant mayhem guaranteed.
Ron Wray Light Show - Speed

Monday, September 16, 2019

Creation Rebel





















I you dig the Tuareg desert blues of Tinariwen and Bombino, better check out Mahamadou 'Mdou Moctar' Souleymane, too. The talented, left-handed Fender Strat player from Niger brings a heavier, rockier sound to the table, but the results are just as hypnotic.
Mdou Moctar - Tarhatazed

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Of My Heart





















Just got the sad news that Daniel Johnston has passed away. The eccentric and often brilliant lo-fi outsider was only 58. Miss him.
Daniel Johnston - Speeding Motorcycle