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PREVIOUSLY ARCHIVED RECORD REVIEWS FROM MY OLD BLOG


Here are some of my random thoughts and words about obscure and in-demand ’60s garage and psychedelic singles over the years. All of the original blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from teen music magazines.

The free CD that came with Greek fanzine ”Lost In Tyme” #01 contains several really excellent cuts that were either ’long lost’, live recordings or unreleased numbers from demo tapes. I’ll name drop The Infidels, The Sound Explosion, The Stepford Husbands, The Maharajas, The Unheard Of who all contributed worthy cuts.

But my pick is ”Do What I Say” by the strangely named Blindshag which was an early 90s group led by Jen Lindberg. Check it out in the comments. What a relevant garage sound. Shame no records emerged.

(13/07/20)

THE BEFORE & AFTER – ”Your Choice Now” (CDR Bandcamp download) 2008

During my rake about in the garage the other day I found numerous CDs and other ephemera not seen for a decade. Now then, this leads me to a majestic set of psychedelic songs from the mind of ex Mystreated member Sean Thomas.

I bought the ”Before & After” CD-R directly from Sean several years ago. He was selling copies on eBay. I did a quick search online and couldn’t believe how little to zero exposure this has had!! 

This is a seriously great mindblower of a set recalling the way-out underground sounds of English groups from ’67. Add to this potent mix some Electric Prunes and you’ll get the gist. DELIGHTFUL 

(10/07/20)

THE INNER MYSTIQUES – ”You Can’t Turn That On Me” (unreleased demo) November 2000

When The Sound Explosion broke up in the late 90s some members (including John Alexopoulos, who sent me this CDR titled ”Get Mystified!”) formed a new group with former musicians from The Walking Screams and The Outta Sites.

They lasted just over a year and recorded a handful of demo numbers that never emerged on any discs. The demo recordings date from November 2000, there are ten original songs plus two spoken parts that appear to be extracts from some long forgotten American B-Movie.

In my opinion it would have been a worthy album release with some studio tinkering here and there.

John was interviewed in Greek fanzine ”Lost In Tyme” Issue #01 and here’s what he said about his short lived band The Inner Mystiques.

Periklis: After The Sound Explosion you formed a new group, The Inner Mystiques. With The Inner Mystiques you didn’t have any record releases but you wrote some fantastic songs and we also have the memories of a live show with The Fuzztones. When did you form The Inner Mystiques and what made you form a new band? Any deprivation syndrome?

John: After the break-up of The Sound Explosion and for a couple of years, I didn’t want to form a new band, however, The Inner Mystiques began in early 2000 when my pal George Rigas from The Walking Screams, who had at the time broken up as well, we both decided to start jamming and playing classic garage standards.

I dusted off my Vox guitar, George took his bass from his case and with the addition of Stathis on drums, who was also an ex-Walking Scream, and Paul on the farfisa organ, who had played before in various garage bands, we started playing. The band lasted for something like a year. In December 2000, George had to quit the band, due to lack of free time, and another ex-Walking Scream, Lefteris took his place until the Spring of 2001, when we finally broke up.

Periklis: The sound of this band was 60s with more beat elements and reminded me of the last period of The Sound Explosion. Tell me about the music of The Inner Mystiques.

John: I don’t think there’s a certain musical connection between the bands. Actually I think the sound of The Inner Mystiques was quite different to that of The Sound Explosion and The Walking Screams. It was like a merging of musical tastes, all in the ’garage’ music field, like we played fuzz punkers, garage beat songs, folk punkers, some minor key stuff, you name it. So it was just garage music after all, but in a different vein compared to our previous bands.

Periklis: Besides the live show with The Fuzztones did you perform any other live gigs?

John: No, we didn’t do any more shows. Just after that gig, opening for The Fuzztones, in their first show in Greece for ten years, we broke up.

Periklis: What was the fans reaction for the new band?

John: I think the reaction was quite positive. Every garage fan wants to see new bands forming and playing in their town.

Periklis: The Inner Mystiques had no record releases. Did you have any contact with record labels?

John: We never really had the chance to record something because the band had a really short life. We were together for something like a year, but only in the last six months or so were we serious about it. After that show there was talk with a couple of labels, but we broke up. There are some songs which were recorded roughly and live in a rehearsal with two mics. We did this with the first line-up in November 2000.

(08/07/20)

THE GRIP WEEDS – ”She Brings The Rain” / ”Strange Bird” (Twang! Records TS 081 280) August 1993

I’ve got a couple of Grip Weeds 45s….this one on Twang! from 1993 is great psychedelic rock. They use some pure pop jangle on ’Strange Bird’ which is of course my bag! As you can see from the record sleeve they all sported classy psych shirts and no doubt tight threads and Beatle boots…..good sound with a good image. This band pic brings to mind The Church on the cover of their ’Heyday’ album… I don’t know for sure but I think The Grip Weeds hailed from New Brunswick, NJ.

From Kurt Reil: An early all-male lineup! We took this shot in front of our guitar player’s wall, which he had painted with a mural of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I remember we agreed to all wear our paisley shirts for the shoot (pretty much what we wore all the time back then anyway (and now!). These are early versions of both songs – we later re-cut them for album projects.

(26/06/20)

THE FRANTIC V – ”Play The Fugitive!” EP (Corduroy Records CORD 020) 1997

This is spooky farfisa organ dominated garage beat from Greece. Everywhere in the World has been infected by ’thee sound’ if you know where to look. This was one of their early singles and is not cheap nowadays. Four hard driving instrumentals, probably cut live in the studio. The back cover states that the songs were recorded during their 6th rehearsal in October 1994.

This is the only single by The Frantic V in my archive, I’m not quite sure why I haven’t added more but I suppose they’re not that easy to find in Britain. Too bad because I dig this kind of sound, the cruder the better. No need to over produce things but there was a need to wear sunglasses at their photo session.

songs:
The Fugitive!
Haunted Melody
James Bond In Space
Blues Theme

(20/04/20)

BIG STAR – ”Thirteen” (Big Beat CDWIKK 197) 1998 

I recently found a shoebox full of CDs in my garage. Long thought lost or accidentally thrown out for years, but there the box was, behind two huge bags of compost. Amongst a twenty odd CDs by the likes of The Barracudas, The Acrylic Tones, The Wondermints and The Thanes was this one on Big Beat by Big Star.

“September Gurls” is probably their most well known number but I’ve rediscovered “Thirteen” from 1972 which is sublime and a search on YouTube has found this devastating piece of history of the band in the studio. It’s the official music video for the Alternate Mix to this classic song featuring archival footage of Big Star members Alex Chilton, Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. ”Thirteen” was initially released on the album ”#1 Record”.

In 2009, Rhino released the Alternate Mix on the career-spanning greatest hits compilation ”Keep An Eye On the Sky”.

(17/04/20)

”Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” (Dionysus Records ID123313) 1989

It’s the first time I’ve played the Zebra Stripes album for ages and it holds up well with a variety of styles, 60s garage, sleazy rock and roll and even a 70s punk cover!!! of The Ramones “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” is not on YT so I’ll add it. Backed by members of The Yard Trauma, Thee Fourgiven, The Miracle Workers and SS20. Recorded in Hollywood in the late 80s.

Zebra Stripes provided a few numbers for late 80s garage compilations. ”Intro ’66” on ”Battle Of The Garages” #3 and perhaps her best known number ”The Trip” from ”Sounds Of Now” – of course it’s the Kim Fowley classic and it was played by John Peel on one of his radio shows at the time, although I didn’t hear it.

I rate her version of ”Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” mainly because the backing group lay down some crisp and polished sounds which don’t overwhelm Zebra’s fragile vocal style which incidentally remind me of mid sixties singer Twinkle.

My Facebook chat with Dionysus Records label owner Lee Joseph 

Lee: Thanks, that was my creation – I wanted to do an album with Zebra on vocals that covered all those genres as they were all things we were fans of! In particular, taking the Ramones song and interpreting in 60s girl-group style, one of their biggest influences! Besides the bass on the entire album, I played the lead solo on that track, it references ”You Showed Me” by The Turtles!

Me: Yeah, I checked out the back cover and realized you had a huge input. The album doesn’t sound like anything coming out at that time, quite a potpourri of styles. I rate it a lot especially the version of ”Some Velvet Morning” and the Ramones number!!

Lee: Thanks! ”Some Velvet Morning” was actually inspired by the Lydia Lunch/Roland Howard version!

(16/04/20)

SICK ROSE – ”I Don’t Care (She Doesn’t Care)\” (Electric Eye EELP006) 1986 

The very strange lockdown situation we all find ourselves in due to the Covid-19 virus because a hungry Chinese fucker decided to stuff his vile fucking face with an uncooked bat means that my investigation into the 1970s punk and new wave scene has been temporarily suspended. I can’t go out and find worthy releases to add to my archive for the time being.

This means that I’m back in my comfort zone, playing mid 80s garage punk records once again. Italian group The Sick Rose have been highlighted on my blog before with one of their worthy singles, this time around I turn my attention to their album ”Faces” released during 1986.

If fuzz, farfisa and punk attitude is your scene this album comes highly recommended although it may be a little tricky to pick up on the original Electric Eye label. My pick is the extraordinary fuzz onslaught of ”I Don’t Care (She Doesn’t Care)” which has enough fuzz and mayhem to blast huge cracks into your skull. Let your brains ooze out while you listen to this way-out number.

(14/04/20)

THE BEEVILLE HIVE V – ”Beer, Beer, Beer” (Satellite Records RAW 7) 1988

The other day Lenny posted this rare photo of his group The Beeville Hive V on his Thanes Facebook page and it inspired me into making a You Tube video for their number ”Beer, Beer, Beer” which according to Lenny was the only recording of theirs that ever made in onto vinyl. Fortunately Satellite Records were able to satisfy demand on their Raw Cuts – Volume 7 compilation from 1988.

”Beer, Beer, Beer” is raw and primal inebriated garage beat and sounds like it was produced by a pilled-up Morlock inside a Crypt and that’s what makes it such a brilliantly conceived artifact. This was the late 80s remember and absolutely nothing sounded as dirty as this.

Our Highland mop-top Cavemen keep wailing for their beer, beer, beer and of course they get their beer and drink, drink, drink. The number slowly comes to it’s ending in a crescendo of indistinguishable noise and what can only be described akin to a drunken hangover. The boys had drank their beer and all that remained was a pile of crushed Tartan Special cans and sore heads.

(21/12/19)

THE WRONG SOCIETY – ”Tell Me You’ll Be Mine” / ”I Really Don’t Care” (Market Square Records MSR-20) February 2018

Market Square Records is an enterprise coordinated by Paul Messis and what a fantastic job he’s doing too. Single releases are limited to 300 and all are relevant and his label has a new release by Germany’s The Wrong Society.

I’ve known about this combo for a number of years and have followed their progress via their Facebook page and have always bought a copy of their discs. This latest 45 doesn’t disappoint, the top side ”Tell Me You’ll Be Mine” is an up-tempo punker with background harmonies and a solid backbeat. This one really moves along nicely and is interspersed with a pulsating fuzz guitar break. Short but sweet but it’s there and it adds a touch of menace.

I particular dig the B-Side ”I Really Don’t Care” which has that sombre New England Teen-Scene sound that has become popular. So not only has Germany got great footballers, beer, cars, castles, chocolate and huge sausages….they’ve also got a cool garage band.

Both sides recorded at Heiko Herzog in Room 424 and mastered by Tim Warren.

(29/05/18)

THE GREEN TELESCOPE – ”Turnin’ Out” (Psycho Records 35) 1985

Until we get a long deserved Green Telescope retrospective we’ll have to make do with the selection of cuts found on singles and obscure vinyl only compilations from the mid 1980s, including ”Turnin’ Out” from ”The Waking Dream.”

”The Waking Dream” also showcased recordings by Mood Six, Sleep Creature & the Vampires, Palace Of Light and The Magic Mushroom Band. Those other bands are not my scene and for my particular head space The Green Telescope rise like Scottish Nobles above the others.

These Edinburgh based outsiders contributed three songs. The frantic acid punk gem ”Turnin’ Out” and a cover version of The Calico Wall’s ”I’m A Living Sickness” as well as another self penned number ”Can’t Step Off The Path.” These recordings were the first to be available on vinyl by The Green Telescope and predate their first single / EP ”Two By Two” on Imaginary Records.

Line-Up:
Lenny Helsing (guitar and vocals)
Bruce Lyall (farfisa organ)
Gavin Henderson (drums)
Steve Fraser (bass)

All songs recorded at Sound Site, May 1985 and produced and engineered by Ron Real. The gig photos have been taken from their Facebook page. Go here for more information and ephemera.

(04/03/18)

Day 1 of 7 Primitive Beat:

One of my old Geordie mates asked me to select seven songs with a memorable riff or in this case a caveman beat. The 1980s quite rightly get SMASHED cos most of it was horrendous. That’s why I’ll present an alternative vision that most humanoids are not even aware of. I think James Baker is rattling thee drums with human tibia bones on this number.
The Hoodoo Gurus ”Dig It Up” (1983)

Day 2 of 7 Primitive Beat:

OK, picture the scene. It’s 1986 and everything is rubbish and you don’t even have a job. You’re in a local record shop and you’ve got a spare £5 from your Dole money.

Do you buy the latest record by Flakey Goes To Hollywood, A Flock Of Sleaze Gulls, Depeche Commode or perhaps the new one by Bruise Springs Teen.

No No NO NO!!! that stuff is for squares. It’s gotta be this Primitive piece of Fuzz ’N’ Roll by The Primates.
The Primates ”I Ain’t Like You” (1986)

Day 3 of 7 Primitive Beat:

At the end of thee turgid 1980s this perfect four track twelve inch nugget was released by Chaos Records. Chris Such and his Savages a.k.a. The Headless Horsemen only used vintage equipment and has a back to basics merseybeat inspired approach. This early ’60s Rock ’N’ Roll style was almost extinct. Check out the cover with thee Stuart Sutcliffe lookalike, could almost be Hamburg 1962. MONO-tastic
Chris Such and his Savages ”Leave My Kitten Alone” (1989)

Day 4 of 7 Primitive Beat:

This number is not only primitive beat it is BRUTAL. It seems that The Misanthropes were feeding themselves with raw liver to get this wild.

There’s boundless garage noise, reckless energy, pissed off fury, the best scream outside of a Hammer House of Horror film and the drummer is probably bashing away on his kit with human tibia bones.
The Misanthropes ”Why Do You Treat Me So Bad?” (1988)

Day 5 of 7 Primitive Beat: 

The Mystery Machine are a very intriguing group with Crawdaddys and Tell Tale Hearts connections. My guess is that they named themselves after the van in ’Scooby Doo’ Sadly they never released any singles, only one song emerged on ”Battle Of The Garages #3” (Voxx Records) back in 1984….a kind of ’66 inspired Sunset Strip folk jangler with compact organ.

All of this going on when the mainstream was seemingly obsessed with awful production jobs including gated reverb, horrendous synths and sequenced sounds….I hear The Yardbirds in places too. The Mystery Machine ”She’s Not Mine” (1984)

Day 6 of 7 Primitive Beat:

It’s 1986 and it’s crap, everything is.. There’s not much to get excited about apart from reading in ”Bucketfull Of Brains” Edinburgh’s finest The Green Telescope have a single out!!!

The ”A” Side is an all time classic garage punk raver but thee ”Thoughts Of A Madman” on the other side is a worthy piece of greatness too. Big deal that it’s just a cover version of a 1967 number by The Nomads. The Green Telescope take the song to another level.

Lenny’s tormented vocals become so possessed I actually think he is a MAD man by the end of the disc. Listen out for the fuzz overload at around 1 minute 20 seconds. Drums on this are way-Out too….
The Green Telescope ”Thoughts Of A Madman” (1986)

Day 7 of 7 Primitive Beat: 

We’re in the middle of 1985 and it’s a time of grotesque synth bands and assorted wimpy crud… thank goodness there were still primitive punk outsiders recording manic swingers including Swedish garage band The Stomach Mouths. This record is so primitive and wild it belongs in a pre-Medieval period where their Viking predecessors are preparing thee soundtrack for their gruesome execution ”The Blood Eagle”
The Stomach Mouths ”Don’t Put Me Down”

(26/02/18)

THE THANES – ”Don’t Change Your Mind” / ”What You Can’t Mend” (Hidden Volume HV0043) December 2017

The new single by The Thanes arrived today also. Amazing to think that they’ve been releasing records for 30+ years. The top side ”Don’t Change Your Mind” is a bit of departure in sound for them with heavy use of hammond organ mixed with fuzz. Reminds me of early Small Faces.

The other side ”What You Can’t Mend” is thee more familiar teenbeat Thanes sound, dig those scattergun drums, compact organ and of course Lenny’s vocal delivery which is pretty damned fucking great. The revenge put down lyrics are particularly inspiring and worthy of any 60s punk lament. 

”Stood on the ledge, and now you’re gone”

(07/01/18)

BOBKAT ’65 – ”This Lonely Road” (Get Hip GH-1965) July 2017

Yeah! Bobkat ’65 are easily my favourite new group and ”This Lonely Road” is my nomination for album of the year. Love this little neo garage jewel. With two swingin’ kittens and a hat wearing bloke on drums they create a genius crude moody sound with fuzz and jangle. Check out their promo video of ”This Lonely Road” cos it’s where it’s at.

Before this album on Get Hip there was a single recorded during September 2015 and released some months later. ”Gwani” / ”Time” comes highly recommended and is worth tracking down before it becomes scarce.

Both songs are short sharp stabs of coolness, ”Gwani” was inspired by Ana’s pet dog. This upbeat number with fuzz is perhaps the most fast paced number I’ve heard from them. Great girl screams too, reminds me of The Pleasure Seekers.

The other side ”Time” is a convincing crude and moody cover version of a 1967 song originally by Dexter & the Derbies. Once again Bobkat ’65 are authentic in both style and approach, in other words they nail it and make it their own.

So it’s back to the album ”This Lonely Road” which was recorded at Estudios Circa Perrotti during December 2016, making it almost a year old already! A theme of melancholy and longing runs throughout the ten songs of stripped down ’66 inspired beat. Kinda like outsiders lookin’ in, loneliness, feelings of craving and desire after a lost love and those anxieties of life in general…it’s all a moody puzzle and they’re scrambling around for missing pieces that may never be found.

Their superb original songs are mixed perfectly with obscurities that only a few connoisseurs will spot. These include ”Try” by The Cobras, ”Loneliness Is Mine” by The Esquires and ”To Be Like You” by The Missing Lynx.

Ana (guitar / vocals) 
Paula (bass / vocals)
Diego (drums)

They have really come up with something solid here. I’m very impressed indeed and hope to hear more of their work in the months / years to follow.

(18/11/17)

THE SINISTER URGE – ”Ain’t Yet Dead” (demo tape) 1995

When The Offhooks disbanded or changed their name? I don’t know for sure but will find out and amend the details here. Whatever the consequences, an urge was born.

What I do know is they gigged quite regularly in the Edinburgh area and even travelled down to Newcastle for a gig, which is where I saw them and lead singer Calvin Burt gave me this six song demo tape.

They were a rockin’ garage band, not the purist ’66 sort with moptops and Beatle boots…they were much more into the basic rock ’n roll of The Sonics and The Wailers. It’s no surprise that The Sinister Urge recorded two Sonics tracks for their demo tape namely ”Witch” and ”Boss Hoss”.

All six cuts are decent to great and would have made a killer vinyl EP but sadly it seems that no label was around in a hurry to release any of their material. Check out the monstrous fuzztoned punker ”Ain’t Yet Dead” for the kind of medicine The Sinister Urge could have administered given half the chance.

demo tape cuts:
”Ain’t Yet Dead”
”I Can’t Tell”
”Bad Attitude”
”Witch”
”Nobody’s Fool”
”Boss Hoss” 

Updates:
Any other information to add and when and where did the recordings take place?
Brian Guthrie our cut price, rotund, Don Arden wannabe, deluded svengali, decided a few years ago he was going to release the demo as a 10” EP.

It must be sitting at the bottom of his vast ’things to do’ pile. It’ll never happen. Luckily we own the stuff ourselves (unlike the 2nd Offhooks album which was a bit complicated..) and if anyone was interested in a retrospective 45 it would be easy to get together.

It does have all the old bite!! Recorded live to 4 track in Chamber Studio rehearsal rooms. Calvin should be able to tell you about how the vocals were done. We had such a blast recording it. George Miller from the Kaisers recorded and engineered it. Just done on the spot. Think Calvin and George did the mixing about a week later. 

Lindsay Hutton has left a message on my YouTube upload saying that the title is ”Ain’t Yet Dead” but the demo tape states ”Ain’t Dead Yet” – is it a typo on the cassette?
It used to be either or, but we did tended to write Aint Dead Yet on the setlist!

Never really got a sniff of a release back then, but it did make it on to a Beatsville comp released by Angus a good few years ago. The song is indeed ”Ain’t Yet Dead” according to the Gardyloo! comp. It’s now official . . . we didn’t even know the titles to our own songs!! 

(01/07/16)

PAUL MESSIS – ”A Matter Of Opinion” (State Records THSLP-005) April 2013

As the modern world wakes, eager to check the latest technology for their next hit of adoration, Paul Messis delivers reality right under their noses!

What with the ”NOW” generation drowning in their own apathy…like this, like that…liking a Paul Messis record isn’t as lazy as staring at the blue screen, pushing a button and letting everyone know you mindlessly think something is good! Paul’s take on music and indeed life itself, although seemingly complex, is in fact quite simple…let the reality prevail.

Don’t be a slave to connectivity if the prize is the empty feeling sensed from screen-bound isolation…Paul writes and records real songs, from the heart of that which drives him, whist understanding there is a real world out there…way beyond the virtual one of today’s illusion!

Case closed.

Marty Ratcliffe:

Combine loner folk-rock with mordant punk and you get Paul Messis ”Case Closed” – this came out on the ever reliable State Records three years ago. Check out his incisive trip into the world of 1965/66 folk jangle with ”A Matter Of Opinion”

(12/06/16)

HEAD AND THE HARES – ”Painted Air” / ”No Use In Tryin” / ”How Many” (Outer Limits OL.62.705) 1995

I posted images of both Head and the Hares singles way back in 2007 with the intention of writing about them, it seems that I forgot! For those who don’t know Head and the Hares formed in Rome during the late 80s but at this point in time they were called The Spookies, their sound was also radically different going all out for 60s garage punkers.

They changed direction and name then started creating a much more subtle sound mixing low-key folk rock with the purist teen sounds from New England from the ’66 era. Their cover versions became much more obscure with less focus on ”Back From The Grave” style boneshakers.

”Painted Air” originally recorded by The Remaining Few is an extraordinary cover version which is very faithful the 60s acid punk classic. Quite how The Head and the Hares were able to recreate this sound in the (mostly dullsville) 90s is mind boggling.

The other side of the disc is very special too. ”How Many” is a low-key moody gem and that’s followed by a killer version of The Five Bucks nugget ”No Use In Tryin”
This is certainly one of my favourite 45s from Italy.

(07/01/16)

HEAD AND THE HARES – ”Two Tymes” / ”Lost” (Stanton Park M-107) 1992

I posted images of both Head and the Hares singles way back in 2007 with the intention of writing about them, it seems that I forgot! For those who don’t know Head and the Hares formed during the late 80s but at this point in time they were called The Spookies, their sound was also radically different going all out for 60s garage punkers.

They changed direction and name then started creating a much more subtle sound mixing low-key folk rock with the purist teen sounds from New England from the ’66 era. Their cover versions became much more obscure with less focus on ”Back From The Grave” style boneshakers.

”Two Tymes” is a group original and sounds very cool indeed but even better is their version of ”Lost” written by T. McCall.  Is this Toussaint McCall? Anyway, if it is I’ve never heard the original but The Head & the Hares version certainly delivers the goods. Seek out this single as fast as you can for your kicks and shakes.

(05/01/16)

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