Sunday, October 29, 2006

More of a lullaby than a smooth soul love ballad, "Liza" by Bill Withers is, as is stated at the beginning of the song, about "that kind of affection that's there between a worldly old uncle and a very innocent young niece."

There's a whole lot of weird in that sentence, but you get over it once the first verse kicks in. The song is beautiful, and much more interesting than his funky Womack-ish moments that tend to feel instantly dated.

"Liza" is taken from the oddly titled +'Justments (1974) LP, probably Bill Withers' best. Last I checked it still hasn't been reissued.

20/20 is best known for writing "Yellow Pills", the song that spawned the acclaimed power pop 'zine (and Killed By Death-style compilation series) of the same name, but the song itself is kind of a middling achievement -- it's synthy, sterile and even a little bloated by pop standards.

So let's not worry about that one.

But their first single for Bomp, "Giving It All" b/w "Under The Freeway", is a crystallization of what that band did best -- or, to be fair, does best, since they never really broke up save for a few years in the '80s -- and is worth seeking out.

It's also one of those records where the b-side wins, so I've uploaded the flip for your enjoyment. "Under The Freeway" is a punchy toe-tapper about convincing your girlfriend to let you have sex with her in a filthy underpass. Young love!

Friend of 20/20 and fellow Oklahoman-who-moved-to-LA Phil Seymour plays on this one as well, and is credited by way of a conspicuous thank you on the back of the sleeve. Seymour, who was best buds with Tom Petty and sang back-ups on a few of his early records, died from Lymphoma about fifteen years ago, but not before releasing one great record (1980's Phil Seymour) and one decent record (1982's Phil Seymour 2).

The first LP is easy to find, if you're interested. And I'd upload the killer opening track, "Precious To Me," but I don't have the MP3. So for now, here's "Baby It's You", which has appeared on probably every power pop comp ever, but not for nuthin'.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

This is probably my favourite cover of all time, next to perhaps the Stones cover of "Can I Get a Witness," which in my mind is way better than Marvin Gaye. I'm racist though, so you'll have to judge for yourself.

MC5 - I Don't Mind

-Mike Long.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

From 'Live at the Apollo' comes the most perfect James Brown song. I'd be hard pressed to consider it anything less than a 10/10.

"And when I tell you something that makes you feel good inside...and when I say that little thing, I say that little part that might sting you in your heart now, I wanna hear you scream.."

The second song I'm posting is from a 2003 Now-Again/Stones Throw re-issue from a psych/funk band called The LA Carnival. Originally recorded sometime between 1969-1971 (no dates are actually known), this song was their only actual release, and the band split up shortly after, with only a few more recordings under their belt. Band leader Lester Abrams plays drums, sings the main vocal, plays organ, acoustic piano and percussion throughout the record, which remain the only 10 LA Carnival songs in existence.


Forming in Thunder Bay, Ontario in the late 1960s, the Jarvis Street Revue released one of the rarest documents of Canadian psych rock with their ridiculously over-the-top Mr. Oil Man LP in 1970. Built around its centerpiece – the epic "you really need to hear this shit to believe it” 12-minute-long title track - it is a concept album about the destruction of the environment and pillaging of the earth's natural resources by the Petroleum industry and no-good businessmen in general. While it was at least 15-20 years ahead of its time lyrically and conceptually, musically speaking it is hard, progressive psychedelic rock with some pop leanings grounded firmly in the late 60s/early 70s. In other words, it compares favorably to "Inside Outside"-era Blue Cheer, The Smoke and Electric Prunes, occasionally reaching the other worldly heights of early Can and Hawkwind, as well as at times (oddly enough) referencing the dreamy, radio friendly 60s pop rock of Buffalo Springfield and the Guess Who (the singer dude also happens to be a dead ringer for Burton Cummings). Obsessive compulsive psych collectors with money to burn have been known to pay in the $300-$500 U.S. range for this LP any time it pops up on eBay. For the financially un-inclined, Pacemaker re-issued the album on CD with several bonus tracks around five or six years ago.

Jarvis Street Revue "Mr. Oil Man"

Jarvis Street Revue "Sally's Hymn"


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

OK, so it's lo-fi week over at my place (Longer Bedrooms, LTD.), and these two songs really shoot through the heart of what's important in music. A couple chords, some non-pro vocals, and some amazing lyrics. I never thought I'd been into either of these bands. Anyone that I've ever met that likes either one is a huge douche, so again, it's another case of "it's not the band it's the fans." I at least have always admired their stories, I can say that wholeheartedly...anyway, enjoy.

(I guess this is what's cool now, I am digging, I hope everyone keeps up with it...)

Half Japanese - 1,000,000 Kisses

Beat Happening - Our Secret

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

From Morgan Geist's (Metro Area, Environ Records) vault of obscure italian disco and other weirdness comes the Unclassics compilation series, featuring this track, "Disco Special" by Discotheque. It's definitely disco, but with oddball Dr. Who style lazer gun effects, perfectly recorded handclaps and unexpected time changes.

Portland's Glass Candy also play messed up disco as evidenced on last year's "Iko! Iko!" 12" single on Troubleman. "Sugar and Whitebread" is the b-side.
Alright, here's a couple gems from the Pebbles series. Two weirdo hits for your lovin'. The Elastic Band's "Spazz" is certainly ahead of its time. I'm thinking a little Gong, some Captain's odd and stands out among the standard fare garage stuff that populates Pebbles. The next song is a French number that I think of whenever I hear Les Georges lately. I think they'd like this if they don't already love it.

The Elastic Band - Spazz

Evariste - Connais Tu L'Animal Qui Inventa Le Calcul Integral