Friday, May 24, 2019

Rode On Ahead





















78 candles to blow out today today for the poet laureate of rock & roll. Many happy returns, Bob! In feverish anticipacion of next June's Rolling Thunder extravaganza - a Marty Scorcese Netflix documentary and a huge live '75 box set - we're celebrating things with a steaming soundboard recording of Isis from the Revue's stint in Lowell, a town in Massachusetts known for its motto 'art is the handmaid of human good'.
Bob Dylan - Isis (live Lowell '75)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Voice Woes



















Please welcome John McGrath, an Irish solo guitarist residing in London. Not only capable of channeling Britfolk greats as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn or Michael Chapman, he can also pick like John Fahey and his fellow American primitives, as the hypnotic track below clearly shows. His all-instrumental Wake And Whisper is out the first of June on the Crooked Stem imprint.
John McGrath - Woes Of The Turtle

Monday, May 20, 2019

Come On In





















Hey now, yet another Dave's Picks has hit the shelves. Installment #30 takes us back to the legendary Fillmore East of January 1970, just a few months before the masterful Workingman's Dead was released. Makes for essential listening of course. Need proof? Dig this crisp take on Robert Hunter's intriguing fable of the dire wolf. "An easy chorus, and you can even sing with it, it's fun..."
Grateful Dead - Dire Wolf (live New York City '70)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Way Back When





















Just happily found out that David Berman will be making a comeback soon. The bearded Silver Jews singer officially retired from the music world back in 2009, but behold, under the name of Purple Mountains he has risen. The first sign of life from a forthcoming album, the lushly orchestrated All My Happiness Is Gone, certainly sounds interesting enough.
Purple Mountains - All My Happiness Is Gone

Some prime Joos, you ask? There you go.
Silver Jews - Rebel Jew
Silver Jews - Random Rules
Silver Jews - Friday Night Fever

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hot Stuff





















Bobby Kalphat was just about the only guy who could give melodica master Augustus Pablo a run for his money. Producer Phil Pratt deliriously dubs him to the top here.
Bobby Kalphat & The Sunshot All Stars - Collie Collie

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Suffer Some





















Joaquín Jiménez Fernández, the flamenco vocalist better known as Salmonete de Jerez, started singing when he was 7, made one album when he was seventeen, only to disappear from the scene for fourty years. Long time no see indeed, but come back he did, his weathered voice accompanied by Domingo Rubichi on guitar, and the results are impressive to say the least.
Salmonete - Tanto Me Hiciste Sufrir

Monday, May 13, 2019

Wondrous Fair





















Miss Waters goes all out on a centuries-old traditional folk song. Haunting as hell throughout and getting weirder by the minute, this is a masterly performance in a free jazz style. Phew. Even the incomparable John Jacob Niles, who set it to music back in 1941, or the mighty Nina Simone didn't manage to scale such dizzying heights.
Patty Waters - Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair
Nina Simone - Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair
John Jacob Niles - Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair

Friday, May 10, 2019

Good Question That





















With special thanks to Tinca for ten exquisite illustrations, we're gonna end our questioning mini series with an exclamation mark. Groep 1850 was a combo of longhairs from the Hague, Holland, who recorded this tour de force in 1969. As far as far out psychedelic farfisa freakouts go, it's the real deal alright.
Groep 1850 - ?!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Funky Scene





















The Tulsa master's last will and testament. Curated by his widow and his manager, this collection of laid back leftovers is as warm, as groovy, and as seemingly effortless as any Cale album. Wish he could have stayed around a little longer.
J.J. Cale - Lights Down Low

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Back To Frisco





















Still got a craving for that early American punk sound? In that case, head over to the esteemed Jonderblog and help yourselves to a fine fine compilation of '76-'78 Bay Area groups. Their neighbours in LA had the zines, the labels, the venues and a sympathetic radio station and got more exposure that way, but San Francisco's scene sure was vital in its own right.
The Avengers - I Believe In Me
The Offs - Zero Degrees

Monday, May 6, 2019

Dead And Gone





















The Dead woeing their audience in acoustic mode. Two complete unplugged sets here, recorded during their October series of shows in San Francisco's famous Warfield theatre back in 1980. Fingerlicking good sound quality, too. These are high times for deadheads everywhere, as there's a new volume of Dave's Picks on the way as well, in the form of a classic Fillmore East gig from 1970. Hey now!
Grateful Dead - I've Been All Around This World (live '80)
Grateful Dead - Jack-A-Roe (live '80)

Friday, May 3, 2019

Good Question That





















Sixties-influenced pop bliss from the Flying Nun stable, by an Auckland band cleverly named after the first known European to reach New Zealand: Dutch seafarer and explorer Abel Tasman. "Run that one by me again..." Indeed.
Able Tasmans - What Was That Thing?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

She Went Away





















"Lady Luck looks down on me with a frown..." First up: a bad-luck story if ever there was one from 1965 by Gene Savage, the 'only man alive without a horoscope'. Over the top sad. Meanwhile Billy Rufus, on a fine Hank-inspired honky tonker from '67, ain't exactly a happy camper either. Locked his keys in his house and stands out in the rain, and that's not even half of it. Find both on a most excellent compilation called The Beginning Of The End - The Existential Psychodrama In Country Music.
Gene Savage- I Started At The Bottom And Worked My Way On Down
Billy Rufus - Low Down Blues

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Monday, April 29, 2019

Meow Again





















A new collection of hypnotic guitar instrumentals from the man who currently runs a cool performance space in Philly called Jerry's On Front. Forsyth's visions are as always clearly inspired by the mighty Television, which is definitely a plus in my book. Go cat go.
Chris Forsyth - New Paranoid Cat

Friday, April 26, 2019

Good Question That





















Time for a question we've all asked ourselves one time or another. Black Francis posed it while scuba diving, an activity the Pixies headman didn't dig too much apparently. Oh well, at least he got a fine song out of it. "Way out in the water, see it swimmin'..."
Pixies - Where Is My Mind?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ought To Know





















A most excellent post over on the White Trash Soul blog collects all the original songs of Copy Cats, that cool cover album from 1988 by Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin. Sounds interesting? Dissappear here.
Roy Head & The Traits - Treat Her Right
Johnny Thunders & Patti Palladin - Treat Her Right

Monday, April 22, 2019

Sunlight Streams





















Cosmic countryrock with a twist by a mellow duo from exotic Taos in New Mexico. Headlands came out in 2017, so I'm a tad late to the party, but never mind that. It may just become my soundtrack for a long hot summer summer about to arrive. Stop press: Trummors just recorded a fine Lagniappe Session, which you can check out here.
Trummors - Spanish Peaks

Saturday, April 20, 2019

That's The Way





















A floor-filling afro-funk gem from '77, recently reissued by the mighty Analog Africa imprint. If you ever find yourself in the Ghanese capital of Accra, be sure to have dinner at Rob's Chicken Pepper restaurant. If his food is as good as his music, you're in for a treat.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Question That





















A southern soul scorcher from '67 by the rather obscure Jimmy Hughes makes for question #7 in our mini series. "Why try to deny your feelings..." Indeed. Will she give in?
Jimmy Hughes - Why Not Tonight?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

You And Me





















Those hoping that Garcia Peoples would move in a more cosmic direction on the follow-up to last year's promising debut will be a tad disappointed with Natural Facts. What we get is the other side of the coin, as the young New Jersey five-piece has decided to showcase a heavier (indie-) rock sound here. Bit of a shame that, but I'd still love to see 'em live - check out a blistering Big Apple show with some special guests, as recently caught by the tireless New York Taper, to understand why.
Garcia Peoples - High Noon Violence

Monday, April 15, 2019

So Alone





















Forgotten guitar instrumentals as dug up by the always amazing Tompkins Square label. Warm and lazy, like that ideal summer afternoon.
Kinloch Nelson - Solitudes

Friday, April 12, 2019

Good Question That





















Today's query is short and sweet. "I stand for language, I speak the truth..." New Wave was a term coined by record companies of course, trying to sell a varied batch of young bands (from the Go Go's to Dire Straits and from Mink deVille to the Cars) to customers thought to be wary of the scary punk moniker. Although this is a Mike Watt composition, let's send it out in loving memory of Minutemen mastermind D. Boon, who died way too young in a van crash back in 1985.
Minutemen - Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Truth?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Turn It On/Up/Off



















Albums and singles by late nineties San Jose slowcore ensemble Duster (no, I wasn't familiar with them either) have been changing hands for big money on sites like Discogs for quite a while, so the fine folks of the Numero Group saw fit to release their collected works as a box set. For an interesting background story on this enterprise, check out a fine piece of writing in the Ringer. Which begs only one question of course: were Duster any good? Well, if you're still into that typical nineties indie sound patented by Codeine and Low, this might be one to pick up.
Duster - Topical Solution

Monday, April 8, 2019

What I Am




















Arizona desert rockers in surprising second childhood shocker. Or: there's nothing dusty about the new Meat Puppets album, folks. Au contraire: it's surprisingly good.
Meat Puppets - Warranty

Friday, April 5, 2019

Good Question That





















This rollicking ride in typical Fall fashion was released in the grim early eighties, but is still as relevant and pressing today as it ever was alas, if not more. Hip priest Mark E. Smith's answer to his own question-ah is as cryptic as always, but amongst others he offers 'bad-bias Tele-V and intellectual half-wits'. Some truth in that methinks.
The Fall - Who Makes The Nazis?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Why So Sad





















Around here, a new volume of Nigeria 70 is always more than welcome. No Wahala: Highlife, Afro​-​Funk & Juju 1973​-​1987, the fourth installment if I haven't lost count, dishes out yet another steaming platter of funky Nigerian delicacies. Close call, but the gloriously named Etubom Rex Williams and his band the Nigerian Artistes steals the show in fine style.
Etubom Rex Williams & His Nigerian Artistes - Psychedelic Shoes

Monday, April 1, 2019

Wanted To Be Loved





















The always wonderful Numero Group saw fit to release a compilation of tracks from Tommy Falcone's obscure Cleopatra Label and who are we to argue? Teen Expo is filled with all kinds of rickety surf, novelty and garage pop tunes by bands you've surely never heard of, all recorded in New Jersey between '62 and '70. Marginal, sure, but oh so charming. My current fave is the way cool piece of teen angst below. Take it away, Vickie.
Vickie & The Van Dykes - Outcast

Friday, March 29, 2019

Good Question That





















"There's nothing to win by this sort of an outcry..." Be that as it may, 'who says it's good to be alive' remains a valid question. This nihilistic, bohemian punk anthem from Richard Hell's legendary Blank Generation debut is too short to even feature a trademark Robert Quine barbwire guitar solo, but that's the only beef I have with it. Now do the perpetual jive, y'all.
Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Who Says?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Get This Far





















Far from their humble Leeds postpunk origins, the new Mekons album was recorded in the desert near Joshua Tree, hence the lonely title. Good to find that Jon Langford and co are still going strong since starting out in that magical year of 1977, that they're still in fine form, still rebellious, still full of adventure and wit.
Mekons - Andromeda

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Seeking A Star





















Got the sad news yesterday morning that Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, has passed away. The man with the golden voice was 76. Starting out as a bona fide pop star with the Walker Brothers, he made what is arguably his masterpiece with the lush Scott 4 in 1969, to drift more and more towards the avant-garde from the eighties on, creating some heavy but always rewarding and very original albums in the process. Miss him.
Scott Walker - Rhymes Of Goodbye

Monday, March 25, 2019

Killed Me





















Soul diva Bettye in action. You Don't Know Me At All opens with the biggest blues cliché imaginable, but hang on a sec: things will get better. "You took my breath away, now I want it back..." Now we're talking.
Bettye LaVette - You Don't Know Me At All

Friday, March 22, 2019

Good Question That





















Staying in '79 a little longer with Derry's finest. Ever since Alexander Graham Bell invented the dog and bone, kids the world over have been asking the question Feargal Sharkey poses here. Few will have matched the pure urgency in his voice though. "Do it, do it, do it, do it..."
The Undertones - You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Catchy Indeed





















Currently enjoying Jonathan Coe's very British and wickedly funny recent novel Middle England. In it, one of the book's protagonists talks to a journalist about his love for quirky seventies Canterbury Scene ensemble Hatfield and the North. "For instance, on their first album there's a piece called Aigrette, which was written by the guitarist, and if you listen carefully, not only is the time signature changing every few bars, but it goes through these extraordinary modulations, these key changes, and yet the tune is really catchy, really attractive on the ear..." Listen for yourselves.
Hatfield and the North - Aigrette

Monday, March 18, 2019

Wave Goodbye





















Just got the sad news that Dick Dale has left us. The legendary king of the surf guitar, a pioneer of the Fender Stratocaster, was 81. Miss him.
Dick Dale - A Run For Life

Friday, March 15, 2019

Good Question That





















Going warp factor 2 today with the Spizz consortium. Never was much of a trekkie, but of course one doesn't have to be a fan of Spock & co to enjoy this whimsical British new wave wonder from '79. John Peel called it 'the only Star Trek tribute worthy of the Enterprise's jukebox' and as usual, the legendary dj was spot on. "The time warp in space made a change in me, for I was the captain and the captain was me..."
Spizz Energy - Where's Captain Kirk?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Take Them Home





















Released last week on what would have been the late great's 75th birthday, these recordings from a '73 session in Atlanta prove a treasure trove for Townes fans. Not bootlegged before as far as I know, Sky Blue provides a mix of known classics, rare covers and even two fine unknown originals, with the unnecessary productional flourishes so often found on his regular studio albums mercifully absent. Good times indeed, my amigos da musica.
Townes Van Zandt - All I Need

Monday, March 11, 2019

Suomi Calling





















Yet another new band begging to be checked out further, and not only because the charming Leaves ends with some genuine bird song. Kiki Pau's got that certain je ne sais quoi, if you follow my drift. The mighty 22 Pistepirkko will always remain my fave Finnish combo, but these new kids from Helsinki are contenders for sure. Fresh pop for now people: hurraa!
Kiki Pau - Leaves

Friday, March 8, 2019

Good Question That





















Let's start off a new mini-series with one of the eternal questions. Blind Alfred Reed posed it back in 1929, and it's as relevant now as it ever was of course. One of the first protest songs, too: "We can hardly get our breath, taxed and schooled and preached to death..." Hard times and a deadpan delivery. Ry Cooder would revisit this song 4 decades later, and Bruce Springsteen would add his two cents after 77 years, but this version remains the real deal.
Blind Alfred Reed - How Can A Man Stand Such Times And Live?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lucky Star






















Peter Hammill all inspired by an old Dylan classic? Sure seems like it. An intense performance this, proving that Mr. Van Der Graaf hasn't lost that magic touch. "And just like that, she's gone..."
Peter Hammill - Girl To The North Country

Monday, March 4, 2019

Born To Roam





















Growing old gracefully. Michael Chapman's warm and wistful True North features youngster Steve Gunn as a second guitarist, which only goes to show the British folk septuagenarian still has his finger on the pulse. And their interplay sounds lovely of course. Nothing more to give? Don't you believe it. Chapeau.
Michael Chapman - Full Bottle, Empty Heart

Friday, March 1, 2019

Break It Up





















Currently reading Wayne Kramer's funky autobiography The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 and My Life of Impossibilities. Here's a cool anecdote on the Motor City's finest recording Skunk, one of their hottest tracks. For the horn part, the band invited trumpeter Charles Moore, who wrote a chart and brought some jazz cats along to play it. As Kramer tells it: "The engineer and I were alone in the control room. 'Look, Wayne,' he said conspiratorially, 'I hear what you guys are going for, but these guys aren't cutting it. They're playing the wrong notes. I could bring in some union guys after the session to play this stuff right, in one take.' The engineer was old school, and couldn't hear what Charles had written. The parts weren't traditional harmony, they were written to be dissonant. We wanted biting, extended chords, and that was exactly what we were getting from the musicians. (...) I thanked the engineer for the suggestion and went back to work. The track came out marvelously..." Amen to that, brother Wayne.
MC5 - Skunk (Sonicly Speaking)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Swaying Round

















Good to hear that Nicky Hopkins ('44-'94) finally got his well-deserved memorial. Most famous for his work with the Stones (She's A Rainbow, Sympathy For The Devil, Exile On Main St), the session musician par excellence also helped out the Beatles, the Kinks, Jeff Beck, The Who, and the Jefferson Airplane (on stage at Woodstock no less). Even if you don't know his name, you'll have heard him playing keyboards on a couple of your favourite records. Tip: buy the man's '73 solo effort The Tin Man Was A Dreamer: a highly enjoyable record.
Nicky Hopkins - Speed On

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Walk On





















A true raga from '66, even featuring authentic Indian tabla drums. Hypnotizing as hell.
Peter Walker - White Wind

Monday, February 18, 2019

Swaying Softly





















A psychedelic mouthharp dirge that gets under your skin. As Endless Boogie singer and record collector Paul Major writes about this track in the liner notes to his often intriguing Feel The Music compilation, 'the blue lightning does strobe-like flashes and you feel even more alone..."
Joint Effort - Blue Lighting

Friday, February 15, 2019

Sawadee, Guys




















The exotica factor can't be denied of course - how many bands from Thailand do you know? - but Khana Bierbood (or คณะเบียร์บูด, meaning Strange Brew) doesn't deserve to be dismissed as just another weird-ass gimmick from the Far East. Their garagy tunes are simply too infectuous for that. Short, surf, and fun, out now on the hip Guruguru Brain label.
Khana Bierbood - Plankton Bloom

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Just Light Up





















Crazy afro rhythms, bopping saxes, and way out wahwah guitars, coming to you from Milan, Italy. Stoner madness supreme. Belissima!
Al Doum & The Farids - Light Up