“The term ‘garage band’ literally means the space where many bands rehearsed. LSD and marijuana played a big part in the music with widespread use among America’s youth across its colleges and cities. This led to some of the wildest and most demented records ever put to vinyl as sounds became….”
Article by John Rose, Pop/Collage Artist and Frontman for Pablo Alto. Featured Artwork by John Rose.
MY FIRST ENCOUNTER
Psychedelia is back!…in fact it’s never really gone away as each new generation turns on and freaks out to a new revamped version of those groovy 60’s sounds. It all started for me after taping an hour long Psychedelic radio show special in the late 80’s (possibly on Radio 1) which I still have featuring wonderful psych gems from The Seeds (Satisfy You), TheChocolate Watchband (No Way Out), Nobody’s Children (Good Times), The Bees (Voices Green And Purple) and the fuzzed up brilliance of The Third Bardo’s ‘Five Years Ahead Of My Time’.
There was also a strange track by Dave Diamond & The Higher Elevation called Diamond Mine with a weird voice over and sinister lyrics and howls (the six foot narcissus and peanut butter fudge angel of love) and a cool, hypnotic song called ‘Cellophane Wrapped Woman’ which will always remain a mystery. I’ve never heard it since and have no idea who its by. Anyway, my mind was suitably expanded and I rushed out to get the Best Of The Pebbles on yellow marble vinyl, a great place to start.
I first stumbled into the murky world of collecting illegal bootleg records in the early 80’s when I went with a mate to the Manchester Record Fair which was then located in a basement at the back of Piccadilly Plaza in the heart of Manchester. I still recall the excitement of walking down the steps and paying my admission price (around 60p) and seeing stacks of record crates and boxes in the stalls packed into every available corner of the basement space overlooked by dodgy looking geezers with fags hanging out of their mouths and T-shirts a couple of sizes too small. The kind who looked like they’d rip-off their own granny. Continue reading “A ROUGH GUIDE TO BOOTLEGS”
This month I decided to review some classic post-punk albums on vinyl from the early to mid 80’s which have had a big influence on me and still listen to now. There are so many classic albums to mention from this era, but here’s a few that stood the test of time and still sound fresh to this day.
THE CHAMELEONS – SCRIPT OF THE BRIDGE (Statik Records 1983)
Released in the autumn of 1983, this is one of my favourite records of all time and its status as a seminal post punk album has only grown over the years. The album starts with ‘Don’t Fall’ one of the all-time great opening tracks with a powerful, spiraling guitar riff with The Chameleons trademark delay guitar sound and impassioned, angry vocals with some memorable lines “Freak out! Nothing’s familiar and nothing seems to fit the scheme of things, seeing faces where there shouldn’t be faces, no-ones really certain what tomorrow brings, Don’t Fall”.. despite it’s bleak message the track is supremely uplifting and a good taster for the rest of the album. Track 2 ‘Here Today’ is equally great and packed with drama, written about the night John Lennon was murdered.
The insistent bass line of ‘Monkeyland’ is next with it’s slow build up and memorable chorus before ‘Second Skin’ starts up, one of the best Chameleons songs with a stunning otherworldy guitar riff and clever change of tempo halfway through and the repeated line “I realise a miracle is due, I dedicate this melody to you”. The excellent single single “Up The Down Escalator” follows and side one ends with the haunting ‘Less Than Human’.
Track 2 ‘Here Today’ is equally great and packed with drama, written about the night John Lennon was murdered.
Side Two kicks off with ‘Pleasure And Pain’ with another nagging and catchy guitar riff but the highlight is the wonderful ‘A Person Isn’t Safe Anywhere These Days’ an angry song railing against mindless thuggery and violence with a menacing guitar riff which eventually gives way to a slow, plaintive coda and repeated lyric “How can you laugh this one away”..
Last Saturday 16 January, Carnival Records in Malvern hosted a David Bowie Day in memory of the great man who gave us so much amazing music. An icon who changed the lives of his fans, shaped pop culture and inspired generations of musicians. His memory and songs will live on forever.
Local musicians including Tyler Massey, Jaime Knight and Kevin Jenkins played classic Bowie songs in the courtyard outside the shop and there was a DJ, readings, face painting, a raffle and refreshments. Fun was had by all with the crowd singing along to the hits and an excellent turnout.
There were some fantastic prizes in the Bowie raffle, an Aladdin Sane canvas, Starman original 7” single and a 4 CD box set of Bowie’s Berlin period albums. The raffle raised £400 for MacMillan Cancer support.
In memory of Bowie and friends of Carnival Records taken too soon by cancer. Thanks to Chris and Rachel at Carnival records for a wonderful afternoon and fitting tribute.
Hereford City Centric Retail and Culture Blog introduces a new feature in our catalog of goodies. We have been anxiously awaiting this review and John Rose does NOT disappoint. John Rose is a Manchester native but likes to call himself “a Manchester Ledbury Local” since he has been a resident of Ledbury for ten years now.
A popular creative in Ledbury, well loved for his musical talent and for running the The Ledbury Poetry Festival Box Office, John ticks all the boxes that such a persona embodies. Always friendly, you are sure to be greeted with a smile and the lowdown on the local music scene. Oh and let’s not forget about his passion for his guitar collection. Certainly my ‘go to guy’ for what’s hot in music. His band Pablo Alto offer up Psychedelic Garage vibes ‘suped up’ with a a Post-Punk twist.
His long-term partner Jeanette McCulloughis a prominent figure of the arts in Ledbury, known for her beautiful painting style, and her arts project supporting the elderly. They both recently had a well received art exhibit at Hereford’s Courtyard. What a team.
You see, John is an artist, as well as a photographer. His collage series speaks volumes about the whimsical melting pot brewing away in his head.
His hobby of concert photography has found him putting together limited edition books for the Ledbury Poetry Festival book artists exhibit, such as Every Second Counts, a photography series documenting 2012 Green Man Festivalmusicians for his own pleasure.
What can we say, the man is a star, and we are extremely pleased to have him on board Hereford City Centric as our official vinyl reviewer and a contributing photographer and music reviewer. Watch this space.
Look forward to John’s Reviews in 2016, featuring whatever is inspiring John at the moment, whether it be retro or current. We love the element of surprise and are certain you will too. Of course, keep an eye onHereford City Centric, we are full of absolutely wonderful ideas to keep your hungry minds satiated.
Photography Below: Left: Natalie Prass, and on Right: Hookworms, Green Man Festival 2015, John Rose Photography
Natalie Prass, Green Man Festival 2015, John Rose Photography
Hookworms, Green Man Festival 2015, John Rose Photography
The John Rose Best of and End of Year Vinyl Review
As it’s Christmas (nearly), I decided to make this an End of Year Review of my favourite vinyl releases from 2015..and then I got carried away!
Ty Segall – Ty Rex (Vinyl Import) Goner Records 2015
This is the new release by californian garage / psych rocker Ty Segall and some of the tracks were originally released in 2011 as an EP of T-Rex covers for record store day and this new expanded version (for Black Friday RSD) includes a blistering version of 20th Century Boy and 2 more extra tracks. This is loud, fuzzy, gnarly garage rock at it’s finest, tempered by some heavy acoustic riffing and the usual scuzzy lo-fi production with no attempt made to mimic the overtly glam rock stylings of the originals. Brilliant!
The Parrots – Weed For The Parrots (10″ vinyl) Luv Luv Luv Records 2015
Written in a haze of wild elation and intoxication, The Parrots debut release features 6 tracks of crazy, primitive rock’n’roll with energy to burn. From the wicked, raw guitar sound of opener ‘Terror’ which lasts all of 1:18mins through the punky reverb-soaked ‘White Fang’ to the frenzied uptempo blast of ‘All My Loving’ complete with trademark squawked vocals. I look forward to hearing more from this chaotic 3 piece from Madrid.
Black Fruit/Factotum (split 12″ vinyl) Stolen Body Records 2015
This split LP from Bristol’s Stolen Body Records features Black Fruit from Michigan, USA and Factotum from Bristol, England on glorious red and clear vinyl. Both bands play a brand of raw, fuzzy garage rock with surf and blues influences…noisy and energetic with heavy, distorted guitars and reverb-soaked vocals. Black Fruit have some awesome garage punk numbers such as the hypnotic ‘Slugworth’ and driving ‘Mustard Frosty’. Factotum offer up awesome bluesy garage rock like ‘Snake Charmer’ and ‘Seasick Surfer’ with memorable heavy, garage riffs and Kurt Cobain like strangulated vocals. Both great bands and worth checking out.
Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love (Vinyl LP) Sub Pop Records 2015
The Portland USA based Sleater Kinney have re-formed to bring us this new LP ‘No Cities To Love’ a serious return to form with the combined guitars and vocals attack of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker.
First track ‘Price Tag’ is an anti consumerism rant taking in post recession anxiety. Other highlights include the hypnotic title track ‘No Cities To Love’, the catchy single ‘A New Wave’ and the charged, rock groove of ‘Bury Our Friends’ featuring the lyrics..”exhume our idols! Bury our friends! We’re wild and weary but we won’t give in”…a solid comeback.
The Lily’s – Eccsame The Photon Band (Vinyl LP) Frontier Records Re-issue 2015
This is a re-issue of one of my favourite albums, The Lily’s second LP originally released in 1994 and now re-released on remastered multi-coloured splatter vinyl.
It’s a glorious, atmospheric LP with tremulous, shimmering guitars and dream-like vocals taking in elements of trance-like psychedelia and UK shoe-gazing bands. The songs melt away with an otherworldly production into another dimension. Some songs were different takes mixed together and enigmatic singer/guitarist Kurt Heasley running different effects pedals through 2 amps and sampled drums to create hypnotic loops.
Slower epics like the addictive ‘Day of the Monkey’ and excellent ‘FBI and their Toronto Transmitters’ are blended with faster, melodic tracks like ‘Hermit Crab’ and ‘Kodiac’ to create a brilliant, psychedelic and totally unique sound.
A quick mention here for Carnival Records in Malvern, a superb local record store run by Chris and Rachel Heard who stock a huge range of new and old Vinyl and CD’s. You can find almost everything here from kraut rock, punk and indie to Bulgarian folk music!. It’s a good place to be on Record Store Day when they have local bands and musicians playing live outside the shop and lots of rare records.
Top 5 Films
Kurt Cobain : Montage Of Heck
Who Killed Mr Moonlight – Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction by David J
David J was bass player in Northampton band Bauhaus who I saw several times in the early 80’s. If you’re a fan it’s a brilliant read about the post-punk years and beyond, describing the classic influential records the band made and their exciting, theatrical live shows, including various music projects and avant garde collaborations David was involved in.
The Green Man Festival 2015, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Featuring : Television, SFA, The Wave Pictures, Natalie Prass, Father John Misty, Hookworms, Vietcong, Slug, White Fence, Slowdive, Waxahatchee, Sexxwitch, Ultimate Painting, Jane Weaver, Syd Arthur, Steve Gunn, Calexico, Matt Sewell, Mark E Smith…
Best Local Event
Billy Whizz, The Youth Within, Pablo Alto, Koura The British Legion, Ledbury