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 ’60s youth  magazines “Intro”.

THE BELLTOWERS – “Day Breakaway”

About a month ago Paul from The Belltowers sent me a promo CDR of their soon to be released album on Twenty Stone Blatt…called ”Day Breakaway”.

Be prepared to be completely blown away by this group of Rickenbacker guitar slingers. Pure jangle, tambourine and harmony heaven. All songs group originals, they simply soar away on their beautiful clouds of melody….fabulous backbeat by Tom…total coolsville.

congrats to Paul, Marshall, Eddie and Tom for creating such a piece of purepop.

Can’t wait for the official release which I’m told will be early next year…It’s sure to get rave reviews. Just remember you heard it here first.


THE CHURCH – ’The Unguarded Moment’/’She Never Said’ (Carrere 2081) 1982

I can’t believe it’s taken me almost six years of writing/researching entries for ’Flower Bomb Songs’ to finally get around to posting one of my all time favourite songs by a contemporary group. ’The Unguarded Moment’ by The Church became something of a ’life changer’ when I first heard it sometime in 1982.

I was seventeen years old and had gradually moved from 70s punk rock to listening more to 60s groups. I didn’t know it at the time but I suppose my tastes in music had become more vibrant, colourful and sophisticated. I wanted to hear folk rock and psychedelia.

Trouble being that no contemporary groups were playing what I wanted to hear in 1982. That was until my head was turned around and my mind turned on by a psychedelic rock group from Australia called The Church.

I remember seeing their official promo video for ’The Unguarded Moment’ in late ’82 on ’The Old Grey Whistle Test’…they had it all as far as I was concerned. Four cool looking lads with killer haircuts, paisley shirts, jangly 12 string Rickenbacker action, mysterious lyrics etc. Best still….they were happening RIGHT NOW and I needed their records real bad but no one in my Town was selling them…

I managed to obtain the UK Carrere release via mail order from a record shop in London and read somewhere that their first album was due to be released in some parts of Europe. I quickly made my move and secured a copy and it’s probably become one of my most played albums by a non 60s group.

I tried to get my mates into The Church but no one was interested. I was pleased in a way because it made The Church even more important to me. The more obscure the better was my motto back when I was a teenager. I loved the fact that virtually no-one had ever heard of them in Britain, at least not until ’Starfish’ was released in 1988.

’The Unguarded Moment’ was first released in the UK during April 1982 b/w ’Busdriver’.

The single was then re-released with a different B-Side during September 1982. Those new songs were ’An Interlude’ and ’The Golden Dawn’, the latter a none LP track. I then located a release from West Germany with another B-side, this time ’She Never Said’.

The Church were a very important group for me back then, like I said, they were a ’life-style-changer’.


FELT – ’Penelope Tree’/’A Preacher In New England’ (Cherry Red 59) June 1983

By 1982 I had discovered 60s groups (apart from the well known ones) and in particular West Coast outfits like The Byrds, Love, Turtles etc…I was only 16 years old and no one of my age group was interested in these groups or the 60s sound….pre internet, fanzines and glossy hip music magazines that write about such things….I’m telling you, it was a lonely place I inhabited.

I was immediately attracted to the folk jangle sound and would listen to my one and only Byrds album for hours. I was also enthralled by the folk-rock sound of Simon & Garfunkel.

It was only natural that I’d take an interest in indie groups from England that used 12 string guitars or jangle to colour their sound. I can’t remember how I discovered Felt, John Peel probably played ’Penelope Tree’ or something as it was this 45 that I located first.

Felt were an ignored English indie guitar band from the early/mid 80s. They were hopelessly unfashionable at the time but have now received some acclaim in recent times.

At the time I thought the title of the A-side was strange but have since sussed out that Penelope Tree was a 60s swinging London fashion model. Playing the record for the first time in years it sounds even better than I remembered it to be.

The flip ’A Preacher In New England’ is a guitar instrumental written and performed by Maurice Deebank. He was a classically trained guitarist and it showed on this performance…Jangle soundscape…really beautiful. For some reason the song wasn’t even listed on the sleeve (front or back).

One of the best early 80s records by an English band for sure.

(updated entry from April 2008).

Keith Bickerton comment:
A lovely choice Colin from the vastly under rated Felt, I have the 12” of this which has another Deebank track (and fab as well!) ”Now Summer Spread It’s Wings Again”.

There are a lot of great guitar instrumentals on Maurice’s solo album ”Inner Thought Zone”, but my favourite Felt track is ”Evergreen Dazed” from their 1st album ”Crumbling The Antiseptic Beauty”.

So, by 1979 I had began my obsession with vinyl records, problem being of course that I was still at school and ’earning’ £3 per week pocket money. I probably was able to add to my meagre record collection at the rate of three or four singles per month.

My small local Town had a Woolworths and they sold records as long as they were Top 75. They didn’t stock anything not in the charts.

I quickly discovered their box of records that housed ex chart singles that nobody seemed to want that much any more.

These were selling at a token price of 20p, sometimes even less. I think they were happy to get rid of old stock.

Good news for me as I was able to afford more records. After school, I would call into Woolworths and snap up ex chart punk and new wave singles at a bargain price.

Around about this period I packed in buying football weekly ’Roy of The Rovers’ in favour of music weeklies like NME and Sounds.

By the end of 1981 I had accumulated a decent little collection for a 17 year old. If you call about 50 odd singles and a handful of LPs decent… Anyhow, I was happy with it.

I’d also discovered that the streets of Sunderland Town Centre were a veritable oasis of record shops. I’m not kidding, but back then there seemed to be a record shop on every street. It was in some of these shops that I managed to acquire many of the old 1977-78 punk singles by groups that I’d only read about in NME.

Some shops such as ”Volume”, ”Pet Sounds” and ”New Record Inn” plus one or two others stocked unknown one-off indie releases on small labels.

These shops had a huge influence on me. Most of my spiky jangly pop 45s were bought from ”Volume” during the early 80s. Some are pictured….Felt, The Icicle Works and The Cure……plus many more….They were the first shop to stock garage revival discs and cool comps like ’Pebbles’, ’Highs In The Mid Sixties’ and many records on the French Eva label.

I now had a couple of hundred records bought by 1984…all as a teenager…..but by now I had discovered 60s garage punk and psychedelia. Also the so called mid 80s ’paisley underground’ scene from Los Angeles… direction had changed.

Keith Bickerton comment:

It is great to see a mention of the best weekly – Sounds. They started a little shakily but soon hit their stride. N.M.E. was too cool for it’s own good, and Melody Maker still wished it was 1972…

But Sounds was great – specially for 45’s. Every Friday after work, I would go to the Rough Trade shop and but 4 or 5 of Sound’s top picks: Felt, Colors Out Of Time, the Prefects, Crispy Ambulance, Dangerous Girls. Soft Boys, Psylons, Brainiac 5 and countless others. What a time!


True it’s a dream, mixed with nostalgia

For several months now I’ve been touched by nostalgia or is it really strong pangs of melancholy? Either way, my mind has been filled with happy memories of my childhood, school days and especially how records have pretty much shaped the way I’ve lived since I was a teenager.

You’ve got to understand that I’m not a musician and can barely shake a tambourine in time. I’ve never tried but you get my gist. I’ve never wanted to learn how to play a guitar, I’ve never wanted to write songs. All I’ve ever wanted to do since about 15 years old is to collect records. Yeah, CDs came around in the late 80s but I’ve always preferred vinyl.

The fact that I’m not a musician has probably heightened my desire to collect these vinyl artifacts. I consider the vinyl 45 to be an art form.

I’m an artistic / autistic kind of guy and with a record not only do you get some music (which is aural art) but you get a graphically designed sleeve. Good or bad, it’s still art and someone has designed it.

I also dig record labels, especially those labels from indie garage band releases during 1965-67…..No one can ever beat some of those, so it’s pointless trying.

I suppose my nostalgia has gathered pace because I’ve recently turned 48 years old, and that is middle aged by anyone’s standards. 1977 was a huge year for me. During October of ’77 I became a teenager. Not only that but I’d discovered The Jam via a Marc Bolan TV Show simply called ”Marc”….The Jam, dressed in their black suits, skinny ties and displaying short haircuts (everyone seemed to be a fuckin’ bearded hippie those days) were on the first show broadcast in August 1977…they played their new single ”All Around The World”…..WOW, this sound is what I wanted more of.

I was still only 12 years old but I thought they were the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Even better than the Banana Splits, and they were good. The Jam definitely got me interested in music. I started listening to Radio One virtually every day, most of the stuff they played during this period didn’t appeal to me, only the odd snotty punk rock record stood out. Mike Reid was probably my favourite DJ, he seemed to play more punk and new wave that the others.

Sadly, as I was too young, I didn’t have enough money to buy records yet. I had to be content with listening to the radio. What little pocket money I got was spent on Subbuteo teams and Panini football stickers. I collected the full set of World Cup 1978….

I bought my first records in 1979 with some birthday money. They were The Jam ’Setting Sons’ and Blondie ’Parallel Lines.’ But I was mostly buying singles because they were much cheaper than albums for a kid on a couple of pounds pocket money per week.

Reader comments:

C: Oh yes, it was SO exciting, wasn’t it?! Being of similar vintage, I relate to that whole thing of saving up pocket money to buy singles and the absolute thrill of seeing the early punk bands on TV.

The radio had a big influence on me – John Peel of course and Radio Luxemburg gave me my first real exposure to it all. Also just seeing your copy of the Cost of Living EP in that photo – blimey, that brought back some memories, haven’t seen that in ages… I’m sure you probably know already that I agree about the artwork on records too. A massive part of the whole feel about a vinyl purchase was the sleeve.

EXPO67: It was a marvellous time to grow up as a teenager…I started listening to John Peel in 1980 and would tape his Festive Top 50s. Kid Jenson’s show from 8.00pm until 10.00pm was always interesting too.

I’ve touched on this period in my life a few times on my blog but I’m gonna focus on my teenage years and the records that shaped me until about 1983 when I discovered 60s garage and psychedelia…I took off in a different direction then.

I’m looking forward to playing and scanning these records. Then mastering the vinyl to a wav file then uploading songs to YouTube…

C: That’ll be great. Interestingly I took a similar path – it was around 1983 too that I started tuning into more obscure 60s stuff and when I first heard bands like The Eyes on the UK comps like Perfumed Garden, and then the US rarities on Choc Soup For Diabetics etc… before digging into the back catalogue of Pebbles, Nuggets, etc.

All that sounded so fresh and not quite like anything I’d heard before, in just the same way that punk had. (It helped that I worked in a record shop from ’83 to ’87 too, which enabled me to check out a lot of stuff I might not otherwise have been able to!)


THE OTHERS – ’Cry’ (Misty Lane Records 038) 1996

A rather stunning rendition of ’Cry’ by The Changing Times was recorded by Rome’s The Others in the mid 90s. I’ve highlighted this excellent combo on ’Flower Bomb Songs’ several times over the years and quite rightly so, because they deserve greater recognition.

’Cry’ can be found on a collectable 10” mini-LP on Misty Lane that showcases The Others mastery of mid 60s folk-garage. Don’t let their dodgy image on the cover put you off (they’ve gone overboard with the dark shades) as the beautiful 12 string jangle and wholly authentic ’66 sounds will leave you stunned considering The Others recorded this 30 years after the folk-rock explosion of the Sunset Strip and beyond.


KING MIDAS – From The Pipeline EP (Perfect Pop Records 16) 1994

Gloriously infectious pop psych from Norwegian band King Midas.

They may have originated from Oslo. One look at the puddin’ bowl haircuts on the cover as well as the trippy hand drawn sketch that occupied the back sleeve of the record means we’re in for a treat. these boys are out to impress and they certainly do.

’From The Pipeline’ is a Syd Barrett era Floydian psycher with lovely harmonies and a hook that journeys to the centre of your mind or should that be mynd. This is a classy pop psych symphony and it’s unbelievably from ’94!!!

The next track on the EP ’Magic Book’ sounds a little different and my ear picks up a sunshine pop vibe with a definite late 60s American influence. Again there is lush harmonies and swirling organ in the mix.

Side 2 opens with ’Magic Lovecraft’ and is more garage than psych. I prefer the more psychedelic side of King Midas though. The closer ’Sir Francis Drake’ is back to cool UK styled 60s psych, almost toy town stuff. Some nice instrumentation and bendy guitar sounds abound.

King Midas released a follow up EP the following year on Magical Jack Records titled ’In Philicord’ but alas I’ve not heard it. With so many underground European records now impossibly rare the chances of finding ’From The Pipeline’ or ’In Philicord’ are virtually nil. They just never turn up and when they do the prices are high.

band info:

Ando Woltman (Lead vocals, guitars)
Pierre (bass)
Stephen Martin (drums)
Sonny (keyboards, vocals)
All songs were produced by Tom Trobraten

(updated entry from 16/08/07)

THE GREEN TODAY – ’Natural Rhyme’/’Find A Way’ (Kaleidoscope Flexi Disc) Dec 1986

One of the best contemporary groups I’ve discovered recently were undoubtedly Orlando, Florida outfit The Belltowers. They perform a melodic and harmonious jangle rock that has been my staple diet for decades.

During the course of my Belltowers investigations I became aware that at one stage ex Green Today members Paul Mutchler and Ken Chiodini were also in an early line-up of The Belltowers. I’d heard of The Green Today before via an 80s compilation called ’The Exploding Underground’….

I then found out that both Paul and Ken started another group called The Lears when The Green Today broke up in 1987. Fantastic, I said to myself……

I’ve been a huge fan of The Lears for many years and had all of their 45 releases. Things started to make sense. The jangle Rickenbacker from Paul Mutchler had been a pleasant constant in ALL three groups.

A few months ago I decided that I wanted ’Flower Bomb Songs’ to concentrate much more on revival groups and although I’ve already written about The Lears before I plan to update those entries over several blog entries, starting today with The Green Today!!

The Green Today started life as Stumble and after a couple of changes settled on a line-up of:

Ken Chiodini (drums/vocals), Paul Mutchler (guitar/vocals) Martin Everett (bass).

Soon after, a new name was required and the guys went for The Green Today after Paul looked at The Beatles LP ’Yesterday And Today’ and liked the way it was written. All three liked the colour green…..hence Green Today.

’Natural Rhyme’, written by Paul Mutchler has his signature 12 string jangle and is a real languid Byrdsian treat. The sound is full and vibrant and belies the fact that this was a three piece outfit. 

Mark Michel is credited as producer on the flexi-disc but during the interview from Kaleidoscope Issue 1, the group also thank John Link for help during the recording process.

’Find A Way’ is an up-tempo rocker with a definite nod to The Meat Puppets and The Minutemen (popular 80s indie groups), especially the bass runs. However, the jangle is still present. Here’s what Paul had to say in the Kaleidoscope interview.

”I listen to The Beatles, The Byrds and Roger McGuinn. I’m definitely a big McGuinn fan. I think I’m the only person besides McGuinn who plays 12-string constantly now!

I’ll always be a 12-string picker. I like 6-strings but….if I get one It’ll be like yeah, I’ll play that two songs a set”.

Another song by The Green Today was released on late 80s compilation ’The Exploding Underground’ on (Direct Hit Records DHLP 1001).

’Thoughts Before’ was recorded in 1987 and is a seriously great Byrdsian rocker circa their raga rock experiments on ’Younger Than Yesterday’, but at over four minutes is too long too post here. Check it out on my YouTube Channel.


Stumble ’The Leaves Are Turning’ (9 song cassette) 1984
The Green Today ’The Green Today Demo’ (5 song cassette) May 1986
The Green Today ’Natural Rhyme’/’Find A Way’ (flexi disc Kaleidoscope issue 1) Dec 1986
The Green Today ’Thoughts Before’ (Direct Hit Records DHLP 1001) 1988

additions from Ken Chiodini:

The Green Today ’Greener Than Elvis–Greener Than the Beatles!’ Live at Below Zero
May 23,1987. Ltd Qty of 100 given away to the 1st 100 people to sign our mailing list.

The Green Today ’The Green Today Demo'(6 song Cassette)’ Tracks 1-4 April 1987. Tracks
5 and 6 released as a flexi in Kaleidoscope issue 1.

The Green Today ’Tracks That Go Nowhere’/’I Hear Every Word’ (Orlando Fl Compilation on Figurehead Records called ’The Vessels Had Life’. 1987

Hi, I’m Ken the drummer from all the above mentioned. Here is an update/addition on the discography. The Green Today ‘Greener Than Elvis–Greener Than the Beatles!’ Live at Below Zero May 23,1987. Ltd Qty of 100 given away to the 1st 100 people to sign our mailing list.

The Green Today ‘The Green Today Demo'(6 song Cassette)’ Tracks 1-4 April 1987. Tracks 5 and 6 released as a flexi in Kaleidoscope issue 1.The Green Today ‘Tracks That Go Nowhere’/’I Hear Every Word’ (Orlando Fl Compilation on Figurehead Records called ‘The Vessels Had Life’. 1987 – Cheers! Ken Chiodini


THE LEARS – ’I Won’t Remind You’/’A Flash Of Light’ (Susstones IMS-581) 1993

After Green Today disbanded Paul Mutchler and Ken Chiodini teamed up with Dennis Dalcin (editor of Kaleidoscope fanzine and the individual resposible for the Exploding Underground compilation) and bass player Steve Rybko during the Summer of 1990.

It took almost three years before The Lears released any vinyl but eventually a debut 45 came out on Susstones, a  Minneapolis label noted for taking an interest in 60s influenced outfits. Other Susstones releases include singles by The Funseekers, Manual Scan and The Shambles.

’I Won’t Remind You’ is fine fast paced Byrdsian raga jangle with a psychedelic tinge. The Byrds influence cannot be denied and I’m sure McGuinn would really dig the efforts of The Lears with this gem written by 12-string Rickenbacker picker Paul Mutchler.

The flip ’A Flash Of Light’, written by Dennis Dalcin cleverly combines jangle with a Bo Diddley beat… unusual combination but it works.

Interesting to note that the name The Lears derives from 60s aircraft the Lear Jet. Roger McGuinn was a noted enthusiast of the plane and wrote ’2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)’ as a tribute to it’s manufacturer John Lear.

Reader comment:
excellent single! I  didn’t know about the name of the band! Dennis was also in the early 80s in a band called The Shades that did a single for fans of powerpop / Jam / Who


THE LEARS – ’Comin’ Home Today’ (Misty Lane Records 016) Feb 1994

One of the earliest releases on Misty Lane Records was the four track EP called ’A Web Of Mystery’. This showcased songs by The Overcoat, The Others, Lust-O-Rama and The Lears.

The folk jangle rocker ’Comin’ Home Today’ is the highlight from the disc and sees The Lears veering into ’Notorious Byrd Brothers’ territory with it’s vague ’country’ influence. Listen out for some pleasing and authentic folk rock harmonies, just like it was 1967 again.


THE LEARS – ’4 x 4’ EP (Lollipop Shop LSP 002) August 1994 

On this four song EP The Lears have certainly executed the 1966 Byrds sound to perfection. The music on offer is a veritable overdose of 12 string jangle. The rough and basic production puts their sound in the folk garage box of tricks.

The best song on the EP is the terrific Paul Mutchler original ’Then You Want’. This cut would easily fit on ’The Notorious Byrd Brothers’. It’s a modern day classic. Brilliant 12 string Rickenbacker action, simple but effective drums and Byrdsian harmonies. This could almost be McGuinn and Crosby. They’ve kissed and made up!!!

’Thimble Full Of Puzzles’ is an extra-ordinary raga rock instrumental. Yet again it’s a 12 string jangle collision course and we’re on the road to Columbia Studios, Hollywood and Gary Usher is at the controls…For some reason this track was not included on The Lears retrospective CD on Get Hip. Not sure why….it’s killer.

All in all folks this is a priceless EP record by The Lears. If you dig Byrdsian magic add this artifact to your collection if you ever see it for sale.

When I originally posted this entry on my site Dennis Dalcin got in touch with the following information:

”Dennis Dalcin here of The Lears…I just wanted to add to the information provided. 

Paul wrote the music for ”Annabel Lee” which is a poem by Edgar Allen Poe. ”Thimble Full Of Puzzles” came from a riff that had been going round my head for days before we jammed this out as a band.

So I came up with the title and riff and everyone else contributed their parts to it. I’m really glad to hear that you liked it!! 

It didn’t get included on our Get Hip CD because we wanted to let people hear another song by the band that had not previously been released. 

All these songs were recorded in a garage with a Tascam 4-Track cassette recorder (as was all of our Get Hip CD). Add to that it was our first attempt at recording the band.

We actually recorded the majority of a second CD in a real 24-track studio that has all the power we had live, but couldn’t get on the 4-track recordings. Since Paul has no desire to see those tracks released I doubt that it will ever see the light of day.

Too bad really because it sounds so much better than any of our other recordings! Oh well, such is life! Keep on rocking!”

songs on EP:
I Saw You
Annabel Lee
Then You Want
Thimble Full Of Puzzles

Recorded September 1991
Remixed and Remastered September 1993
Released August 1994


THE LEARS – Her Magic Smile’/’Don’t You Know’ (Misty Lane Records 028) 1995

Perhaps the most well known song by The Lears is the Dennis Dalcin original pop charmer ’Her Magic Smile’.

’Her Magic Smile’ has the signature Rickenbacker 12 string jangle sound but The Lears are no mere Byrds imitators. This song reminds me of The Rain Parade but with a garage edge.

The 45 was recorded at King Snake Studios, Sanford, Florida in 1995 with a new line-up of Paul Mutchler, Mark Dewey, Dennis Dalcin and Suzy Wolfe

update from Dennis Dalcin – January 2010:

”Wow! I was so surprised to see my old band’s single included on your great blog! I’m Dennis Dalcin (guitar/vocals) with The Lears. Both of these songs are ones that I wrote & sang lead on.

These were ever only very rough mixes and NOT the way we really wanted them to sound. We were asked by Massimo of Misty Lane Records if we would allow him to release these as a single on his label. We were glad to finally have something recorded in a real recording studio get released. 

Our our previous releases were from recordings done on a 4-track machine that Paul Mutchler had, and they were recorded in a garage! They were true garage recordings! I too believe we never reached our peak musically before the band split after first Paul then I moved back to Clearwater/St Petersburg respectively.

Thanks for your support of The Lears!!”


THE LEARS – ’You Don’t Believe Me’ (Corduroy Records CORD007) 1995

The compilation ’Not So Pretty’ was put together by Corduroy Records in Australia to showcase contemporary groups of the mid 90s performing classic songs by the legendary Pretty Things.

The Lears contributed the jangly ’You Don’t Believe Me’ from The Pretty Things 1965 album ’Get The Picture’. The song was a no-brainer for The Lears to cover and was perfect for their folk garage sound.
The song was not compiled on The Lears CD retrospective.

This is as great as I hoped it would be. Another great Lears tribute track is ”The Byrd That Couldn’t Fly” on the Gene Clark tribute CD ”Full Circle”.


THE LEARS – ’The Story So Far’ (Get Hip 1058CD) 1997

By the time Get Hip Recordings released The Lears CD the group had already disbanded. It’s an essential CD to add to your collection because it contains most of the early 45 sides (apart from ’Thimble Full Of Puzzles’ and the Pretty Things cover ’You Don’t Believe Me’).

As well as the singles, previously unreleased songs are present including recordings made at King Snake Studio and Hitmaker Studio sometime in 1995.

The new songs seem to indicate a more experimental and psychedelic approach that The Lears seem more than capable of indulging in especially on mindblowers like ’Electric Mushroom Voyage’ and ’Thee Iguana Theme’.

The ultra great folk jangler ’Then You Want’ (easily my favourite Lears tune) was given the honour by Timothy Gassen to appear in MP3 format on his ’Knights Of Fuzz’ CD-ROM.  You can hear this on my YouTube Channel. That’s The Gruesomes pictures on the cover by the way…not The Lears.


THE TYME SOCIETY – ’Leaves Are Turnin’ Brown’/’Wonderin’ Why’ (Psych-Out Records 45007) 2000

Following the demise of The Others Massimo del Pozzo formed a new group called The Tyme Society who also played a brand of ’66 folk garage, so in all honesty they sounded just like The Others, especially as both outfits had Massimo’s distinctive vocals and utilized jangle.

This was The Tyme Society’s first release on the small indie label Psych-Out Records. It was pressed in a quantity of 500. Both sides are del Pozzo originals and were recorded at Delta Studio in Rome during February 2000.

A great yearning folk rocker, that really gets to me every time I hear it. Another great record on Psych-Out Records is the fabulous album ”A Yellow Dawn” by Astral Weeks


US & THEM – ’Summerisle’ EP (Fruits de Mer Vol. 20) October 2011

Us & Them really deliver the goods with this stupendous four song EP of Paul Giovanni covers taken from the soundtrack of an early 70s cult movie from Britain called ’The Wicker Man’….Quite simply, along with Kes, one of the best films ever made and easily THEE best soundtrack.

It must have been an impossible task to reproduce the brilliance of Giovanni’s original acid-folk songs but Us & Them really capture the macabre sounds and eerie mood of them all.

The perfect musicianship and the addition of mellotron and dulcimer into the mix create brilliant new interpretations of ’Corn Rigs’, ’Gently Johnny’, ’Fire Leap’ and ’Willow’s Song’.

The record was at first released in the usual Fruits de Mer quantity of 500. These sold out within a week, so an additional 200 copies were pressed which also sold out immediately.

The label design shows a psychedelicalized picture of the famous Alan Wicker…ha ha ha…hilarious.


US & THEM – Us & Them EP (Fruits de Mer – vol. eight) December 2009

One of my ’discoveries’ of 2011 were Swedish duo Us & Them, Anders plays all instruments and Britt sings like a Nightingale. This three song EP was released in a quantity of 500 by new English indie label Fruits de Mer during December 2009 and every copy sold within weeks, indeed this record is already commanding bids above $50 on eBay.

The music on offer is acoustic based; very haunting textures are formed within their aural soundscapes. The lush dreamlike patterns are brushed with colours of melancholy and it’s obvious that Us & Them have perfectly mastered the late 60s’ early 70s acid-folk sound from England.

’Dialogue’ also known as ’I Want To Be Alone’ is a version of Jackson C Frank’s folk gem from 1965. Anyone choosing his work to interpret has got to be taken seriously.

That guy influenced many a folk troubadour including Nick Drake, but is largely unknown and forgotten.

Other covers follow with ’Home To Stay’ originally recorded by Tudor Lodge. The other side of the disc has a quite brilliant version of ’Julia Dream’ by Pink Floyd interwoven with an olde English traditional lullaby called ’All The Pretty Little Horses’. 


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