Sunday, November 25, 2012

Link Wray And The Raymen ‘Big City After Dark’ 2 X 7” – Reissue! #02

Released November 2012
Until recently, I was familiar with Link Wray mostly by reputation and the song ‘Rumble’.  He was one of those guys on my list to get more acquainted with.  Well as fortune would have it, I grabbed the ‘Big City After Dark’ double 45 reissue from Sundazed during the latest Record Store Day event.  Credited to Link Wray And The Raymen (his brothers and friends), this set features two rare singles originally released by the Mala label in 1962.  I was pretty excited to open up the mini-gatefold jacket and throw the first side on the turntable.  What came out of the speakers next was mind melting!   Featuring overdriven guitar bends with heavy protopunk leanings and backed by a tight classic rock ‘n’ roll rhythm section, ‘Big City After Dark’ sounds like what many of the latest wave of garage rockers have been striving for.  The innovation and energy of Link’s guitar playing jumps right out and doesn’t let up through the entire set of tunes.  ‘Hold It’ is even more aggressive than ‘Big City After Dark’ and ‘Dance Party Pts. 1 & 2’ sound like awesome ragers.  Link sings a bit on those ones too.  I’m not typically into instrumentals in the rock realm, but Link Wray transcends the notion of an “instrumental” and blasts it to pieces.  Link deserves even more credit than he already gets and I’m looking forward to searching for more great cuts from him and his fabulous Raymen.

Thanks For Reading...

Tune courtesy of Surfadelic

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bikini Kill 12” EP – Reissue! #01

Released November 2012
The first Bikini Kill 12” EP just got the 20th Anniversary royal reissue treatment.  Originally released in 1992 by Kill Rock Stars, this EP now comes to us courtesy of the band’s own Bikini Kill Records.  Bikini Kill was punk, fierce, smart and funny.  They demanded “revolution girl style now!” and they got it.  The positive effects of the Riot Grrrl movement are still being felt 20 years later.  What’s more, the core ethos of the movement took on a life of it’s own after it’s first incarnation and stretched out in many different directions.  The female-centric counter culture it inspired is still present in everything from music and art (think Denver’s own Titwrench Fest) to small businesses and beyond.  Now back to the record itself.  As soon as the needle dropped on the first track and that famous quote faded into the pummeling riff that begins ‘Double Dare Ya’ I was re-hooked.  The songs on this record are immediate and raw and they still hold up today.  Their best music was yet to come, but this was a statement record.  Kathleen, Tobi, Kathi and Billy were announcing themselves and letting anyone who listened know they had something to say.  The rest is pretty much history.  The reissue includes a new fanzine poster and some cool liner notes.   Although the Reissue! category of this blog was formulated to cover obscurities, this EP is most widely know as the first half of ‘The CD Version Of The First Two Records’, so having it rereleased in the original format is close enough.  I’m looking forward to more vinyl reissues from Bikini Kill, especially since CD’s suck my left one.  Wink!

Thanks For Reading...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ty Segall “Twins” LP – Brand Spankin’ #09

Released October 2012
SF, CA’s Ty Segall consistently cranks out great tunes.  Whether on his own, with his band or with collaborators the guy is a rock machine.  While the quantity of his output is impressive, the quantity pales in comparison to its quality.  Enter “Twins”, Ty’s latest album recently released by Drag City.  Mind= Blown!  I’m pretty sure this is his best album.  It is pure blown-out, psych-fuzz, garage-punk genius.  “Twins” now takes the top spot of my fave albums of the year and it’s gonna take a mighty effort for it to be displaced.  Yes, it’s that good.  There’s not much else to say.  Go have a listen.  If you don’t agree, listen again!

Thanks For Reading...

Plastic 350 Records And Infinity Cat Recordings – Willing And Label #03

Nashville is a pretty happening place from what I can gather.  One needs to look no further for evidence than the tandem of Plastic 350 Records and Infinity Cat Recordings.  Infinity Cat is at the top of the hill when it comes to the current wave of garage-punk-fuzz excellence.  Acts like JEFF The Brotherhood and Cy Barkley & The Way Outsiders (previously covered on this here blog) have seen to that. But did you know Infinity Cat has a cool little subsidiary called Plastic 350 Records where there is a modest stable of pop oriented artists?  While I had heard of Plastic 350, I didn’t know much about them until my new e-pal Bob, trusty label employee, responded to the post on Cy B. & TWO.  He was nice enough to send a package of some records so I could do this spotlight. Included were copies of the two latest offerings from Plastic 350- “Space” by Monkey Bowl and “Apples And Oranges” by Art Circus.  Monkey Bowl has lush, spacious pop tunes where piano is a prominent fixture while Art Circus’ pop-craft bounces along with electronic flourishes.  These albums are a nice change of pace and sound quite fresh in a world where many of the best pop intentions get ruined by overproduction.  The gem of the package for me was “Album” by Skyblazer, released earlier this year on Infinity Cat.  Skyblazer was a short-lived project featuring JEFF The Brotherhood and a couple pals.  They recorded album in 2006 and it lay dormant until the cats at Cat pressed it to vinyl.  Think Deep Purple Mach II with a healthy dose of female vocals and you’d be in the right neighborhood.  Much appreciation goes to Bob for sharing the rad music.  Check out the Q & A below for more insight into these two fine labels.

Thanks For Reading... 

Three Random Queries For Bob Of Plastic 350/Infinity Cat 
1. What's been the best thing to come out of having Plastic 350 be the home of the pop-oriented music?
“When Infinity Cat started there was a very eclectic mix of rock and pop and punk, just whatever we thought was good. But about five years ago, we decided to laser-focus Infinity Cat on bands like Heavy Cream, JEFF The Brotherhood, Diarrhea Planet, etc.- in other words, bands that would actually tour together. We wanted fans to know that if they liked our core bands, and we put a Hell Beach record on the site, they'd probably like that too. And that's exactly what happened. In the meantime, I was still producing cool indie pop like Art Circus and we needed a home for those records. So Plastic 350 was born, named after the first Monkey Bowl album. And we've got all kinds of good stuff coming!”
2. What is your least favorite thing about doing a record label?
There's nothing I don't like about it- except when the Post Office lets a package sit in the sun and the vinyl warps!”
 3. Who made the Infinity Cat logo?
Jake made that up when he was in high school. It was before we had a label- he drew 100's of them. We named the label after the drawing and picked one to be the standard.”