PREVIOUSLY ARCHIVED RECORD REVIEWS FROM MY OLD BLOG 'FLOWER BOMB SONGS'
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 photos of The Lazy Sundays.
19. THE BERRY PICKERS – ’Watcha Tryin’ To Do’ / ’All Aboard’ / ’Wee Wee Hours’ (Dionysus ID 074506) 1987
According to Timothy Gassen’s recommended reference book titled ’The Knights Of Fuzz’, The Berry Pickers were from Hollywood in California. They obviously named their band after their hero Chuck Berry. Two of the songs on this record are Berry covers. Both are solid efforts but the authentic R’n’B of ’All Aboard’ is a particular success.
’Watcha Tryin’ To Do’ is an original composition written by guitarist Jack Lopez. It’s a lo-fi R&B take of Jagger’s Stones, circa 1964 but without their budget or the studio muscle Decca could provide. The song still works.
There are two things I dig about The Berry Pickers. The most important being that they did their own thing when most of the ’underground’ scene were going ’garage’ or ’psych’….they chose to represent the Blues and pulled it off for such a young band.
And secondly they made the cool decision to record in glorious mono.
Dan Herrera (drums)
John Vetter (bass)
Jack Lopez (guitar)
Jeff Alexander (vocals/harmonica)
Tracks recorded November 25th, 1986 but released in ’87.
20. FORTUNE & MALTESE and The PHABULOUS PALLBEARERS – Sonic Sounds From Seattle EP (Dionysus ID0745102) 2000
This band from Kalamazoo, MI are one of my favourite bands of all time and that’s a high compliment to make but hey, it’s true. They fuckin’ rock and leader Freddy Fortune has an awesome garage punk vocal delivery, full of angst and spit.
’Sonic Sounds From Seattle’ is an EP made up of four songs, two originals and two covers. Side A opens with a killer version of ’Girl, Go Run Away’ originally done by The Bedforde Set. It’s far superior than the original in every way, better vocals, classier instrumentation and the production slays the Bedforde Set.
’You Watch The Road’ could be my fave Fortune and Maltese tune. It’s a garage swinger with dumb lyrics just the way they should be. Fab organ weaving in and out of the punk lead guitar frills. Dig the rave-up ending of the song….
’The sidewalk scene in this whole City,
Is crawlin’ with girls who look so pretty.
The clothes they wear are causin’ a minor sensation,
Doesn’t leave much to my imagination’.
The B-Side opens with a Mysterians like organ dominated go go instrumental titled ’Don’t Question Me’. This one would be hip for those 60s hippie chicks dancin’ in those Sunset Strip cages. The EP closes with a rockin’ version of ’Jump, Jive and Harmonize’ originally by Thee Midniters.
You need this record.
All songs recorded July 29th, 1998 in Seattle, Washington at Kearney Barton’s Audio recording Inc.
21. THE CYNICS – ’No Way’ / ’Dancin’ On The Wall’ (Get Hip GH-101) 1987
One of the most famous 80s garage bands to emerge from those forgotten times were The Cynics from Pittsburgh. They had the talent to release scores of 45s and plenty of studio albums so their work should not be that difficult to pick up twenty odd years after their show of hands.
’No Way’ recorded in June 1986 but not released until ’87 is a garage fuzz punk blast with no let up. The label states ’recorded in anger’ and I ain’t gonna argue with that assessment. This Kastelic-Kostelich creation will have you tearing up the town knifing every hillbilly in sight. Don’t worry though, there will still be enough of those thick pig shit eaters to appear on the Jerry Springer Show.
The flip ’Dancin’ On The Wall’ is another demented fuzz winner with cool fucked off vocals. The Cynics take no prisoners that’s for sure. This track is not on the LP Blue Train Station.
22. THE MYSTIC EYES – ’My Time To Leave’ / ’From Above’ (Get Hip GH-102) 1987
Hailing from Buffalo, New York The Mystic Eyes were an unlikely looking garage band but they perfectly blended 12 string jangle with a crude backbeat on their classic ’My Time To Leave’.
It’s an anthemic number and very commercial sounding that would have done well in the indie charts had it got any exposure.
the flip ’From Above’ is a Q65 cover and has that cool folk rock groove with more jangle, acetone organ and casual vocals, almost spoken in a way. Singer Bernard Kugel is strangely putting on a fake Dutch accent as per the original. It’s also a non LP cut.
Bernard Kugel (vocals, guitar)
Craig Davison (bass, organ)
Eric Lubstorf (6 and 12 string guitar) died 1998
Scott Davison (drums)
23. SICK ROSE – Double Shot (Electric Eye EES 18) 1987
Italian 80s garage legends The Sick Rose released this two single assault in one smart package called ’Double Shot’ in 1987. And it’s a classic of the genre and well worth adding to your collection.
They cover two choice punkedelic songs. ’Nothin’ originally done by The Ugly Ducklings and ’My Time’ by The Golden Dawn. But it’s the originals by bass player Maurizio Campisi that stand out from the rest.
’It’s Hard’ is a fast paced punker with fuzz guitar and reverb. The organ is buried deep in the mix, would have preferred this to be louder. The best song is ’When The Sun Refuses To Shine’. Thankfully, the organ is high in the mix and as such this track is a garage punk swinger.
All songs are sung in English.
24. CHARIOT – What If I Run Out Of My Pills? (Munster MRCD 146) 1998
Here’s another rare CD single to make my Top 50 of recommended post 1975 ’45s’ to add to your collection. This time it’s a collaboration of musicians calling themselves Chariot.
They were formed by ex Posies Ken Stringfellow and Brian Young, Javier Escovedo (ex Zeros and True Believers) and Pat Fear from White Flag. Their mission was to play straight ahead rock and roll with a 60s pop slant, also embracing country rock and power pop.
This CD single is worth tracking down because it’s almost like a full album coming in at a full 26 minutes. So it’s gonna be money well spent if you can find it. It will be difficult though because only 550 were pressed.
What If I Run out of My Pills?
Nos Vemos Por Ahi
Un Poco de Animo
CD bonus Live on The Crayola Blaze Show with interviews and cuts such as the Choir’s ’I’d Rather You Leave Me’, ’Another Day Passes By’, ’Black Is Black’ and ’Un Angel Del Fuego’
CHARIOT PERFORMING ”PEACE OF MIND”, ORIGINALLY RECORDED BY COUNT FIVE IN 1966.
THIS VERSION TITLED ”UN POCO DE ANIMO” WAS ONLY AVAILABLE ON THE LIMITED EDITION CD SINGLE RELEASED IN 1998.
25. TYRNAROUND – ’Want Of A Rhyme’ / ’Hello Or Goodbye’ (Polyester LUV 5) 1987
This is an essential 45 if you’re into psychedelia. The Tyrnaround were from Australia and formed in 1985. Both of these tracks were recorded in 1986 but not released until the following year.
’Want Of A Rhyme’ is easy on the ear pop psych, but the killer on this disc is the adventurous B-Side ’Hello Or Goodbye’….This one really recaptures Syd Barrett and the acid era Beatles perfectly. All the elements are present and the trippy time changes especially elevate the song to beautiful highs.
Ken Gardner (keyboards)
Michael Phillips (vocals) died 1999
Peter Fidler (guitar)
Leigh Underhill (bass)
Gavin Gray (drums)
26. LOS NEGATIVOS – ’Moscas Y Aranas’ / Un Dia Especial’ (Victoria VIC-301) 1986
Brilliant cover to compliment an outstanding 45. This band were the business all right. They had obvious 60s influences but added a mix of their own and sound very similar to my all time favourites from Australia The Stems.
’Moscas Y Aranas’ powers along at a high tempo with piping organ, loud bass and cool guitars slashing all over the place. The flip ’Un Dia Especial’ is more of a guitar psych trip with a ’modern’ production sound. If I was to compare it I’d have to line it up alongside those cool early Rain Parade records.
This 45 will be a hard one to locate but fortunately both songs were taken from their album ’Piknic Caleidoscopico’.
Unfortunately, when this does come up for sale you’ll have to fork out about $100…. I’m sure I read a couple of years ago that a Negativos collection on CD was in the works?
In fact, Mushroom Pillow republished ”Piknik” in CD three years ago. The reissue came with a lot of extras (new mastering, demos, video clips & a terrific booklet in spanish) and worths every cent it cost. I think it’s difficult that the other band’s discs will be reissued but, who knows? Wonderful blog yours. Cheers
27. LOS NEGATIVOS – ’Pasando El Tiempo’ / ’No Soy Yo La (Psicoastenia)’ (Victoria VIC-303) 1986
I’m staying in Spain for a few more 45s by a band from Barcelona called Los Negativos. They were a big hit in Spain but nowhere else and are largely unknown and their first couple of garage pop singles are now sought after and hard to find.
’Pasando El Tiempo’ is a commercial pop song with jangle, it’s pleasant enough but the flip ’No Soy Yo La (Psicoastenia)’ is a brooding garage pop side with immediate appeal.
It’s gotta be said that they had a pretty good 60s psych image as well.
28. LOS FLECHAZOS – Los Flechazos EP (Detour Records DR043) 1996
I wrote about this cool Spanish mod band months ago, check out the archives. This time I’ll highlight their ’must get’ four track EP released by small indie label Detour Records.
All songs are sung in English which is a big help for me cos I don’t know the Spanish lingo and I ain’t got a clue what they’re singing about. Two of the songs are Flechazos originals written by band leader Alejandro Diez, although the mod rocker ’Pretty Sight Of Sorrow’ is co-written by bass player Paco Vila.
The two covers are interesting. They tackle ’Good Thing’ in a good way but it can’t match the original Paul Revere and the Raiders version. But their attempt at ’Dream In My Mind’ is a killer. For those of you who don’t know the song it was originally done by English freakbeat legends Rupert’s People.
Plus points also must go to Detour Records for the excellent cover (front and back)….
One More Try
Pretty Sight Of Sorrow
Dream In My Mind
29. THE LAZY SUNDAYS – ’A Shade In The Light’ / ’Gong With The Luminous Nose’ (Subterfuge Records) 1996
Out of the Madrid warmth come The Lazy Sundays. I rate this 45 as their best for a few reasons. First of all the cover graphics are fantastic and the sleeve is made of very thick card, just like those mid 60s English EPs.
Also because the top side, ’A Shade In The Light’ an original by Christophe Albero & Juan Ribas, is a psychedelic delight with ’skying’, a trippy hammond solo and gritty psych lead guitar.
The other side is a memorable cover of The Fleur De Lys song ’Gong With The Luminous Nose’.
The other reason to add this record to your collection is that ’Gong With The Luminous Nose’ is only available on this single. It was not on their album ’The Texture And The Flavour’….
31. THE TRYFLES – ‘(Had Enough Of) Your Lies’ / ’When I See That Guy’ (Midnight Records MID-4513) 1985
One of my favourite bands of the 80s were the awesome Headless Horsemen led by bassist/singer/songwriter Peter Stuart. Well, that talented musician’s earlier band had been the rather crude and primitive sounding Tryfles from New York.
I’m saying crude because I don’t think the mediocre production helped much. If you dig crude and primitive The Tryfles are for you.
The tunes on both sides are rips of 60s garage bands. ’When I See That Guy’ pinches The 13th Floor Elevators most famous opening riff….
32. VIBRASONIC – ’Don’t Leave Me Tired / ’The Unloved Insane’ (Target Records TGT006) 1992
Both sides of this record are trippy mind blowers with fuzz, sitar, distortion and eerie sound effects. I’m amazed that a band could get this sort of sound in 1991 when it was recorded.
The Vibrasonic were just two English musicians, Victor K. Fitch and Simon Paul Jones although the strangely named Dr Daryl Bowers played organ on ’The Unloved Insane’….
This is psychedelia of the highest order.
Great band! one of my favourites from back in the day. You can read a short interview i did with the band here:http://www.geocities.com/r_prest/vibrasonic.htmlRP
33. LES INCAPABLES – ’1234 Success’ EP (Teen Sound 004) 1997
Here’s a wonderful record for all of you vinyl hounds out there to track down. It was one of the earliest outings on Italian Teen Sound Records outta Rome so may be a tricky one to add to your collection.
Les Incapables were a Montreal, Canadian garage band that had a liking for their garage punk to be mixed with surf. The added touch of a spooky Vox continental organ gave their sound an authentic ’66 style. Plus the playing is of a crude nature.
If someone ever gets around to compiling a 90s Back From The Grave compilation this band would be on it.
tracks on EP:
34. THE INDIKATION – ’Tu Manipule Ma Tete’ / ’Jaqueline’ / ’Indikation Ye Ye’ (Larsen LZ 068) 2002
Sadly The Indikation broke up in 2007 but at least they left three incredible 45s and a pretty good album behind. Their singles are really where the action is though. This was their first 45 on the French label Larsen.
The Indikation hailed from Norway but the top side of this record ’Tu Manipule Ma Tete’ is sung in French. It’s a mod mover with a commercial beat that could easily have been accepted by the kids if they ever knew where to find decent music.
’Jacqueline’ follows in similar mode but is perhaps not as instant on first listen but repeated plays make this another strong track.
’Indikation Ye Ye’ is a swingin’ instrumental in Small Faces style and it’s this track I’m putting forward as the crowd pleaser. Buy this EP if you ever see it for sale but it’s now a hard one to score.
35. THE BACKDOOR MEN – ”Going Her Own Way” / ”Dance Of The Savages” (FAB Records BM-S 002) 1986
This was Swedish band The Backdoor Men’s second and last 45. Robert Jelinek and Hans Ingemansson would later reform as The Creeps.
’Going Her Own Way’ written by chief songwriter Ingemansson is a 12 string jangle delight and reminds me of those cool pop ballads by The Rolling Stones circa 1965/66…
The other side ’Dance Of The Savages’ is a surf punk instrumental showing their garage side. This one has a strange opening of backwards tapes. The organ led pounder hints at the sound The Creeps would adopt on their fabulous debut album. Sounds a whole lot like The Prisoners.
Not only did The Backdoor Men have the songs they also had the ’way-out’ image to back up their greatness……
36. THE ESCALATORS – ’The Munsters Theme’ / ’Monday’ (Big Beat NS87) 1983
London’s Escalators were the alter-ego of psychobilly band The Meteors…. Psychobilly sucked big time and was unfortunately popular in England for about a year until people realised how shit it was.
Thankfully, The Meteors got a little bit of garage in their soul first with a cover of The Electric Prunes ’Get Me To The World On Time’ under the guise of The Clapham South Escalators (Clapham South is a London Tube Station) then they released this Munsters Theme cover as simply The Escalators.
for a start this aint the meteors. its the escalators….by this time this 45 was recorded the meteors were on another line up. the escalators were a band formed of x meteors of a band of its own.
37. THE VELVET CRUSH – ’Gentle Breeze’ / ’Party Line’ (demo) / ’On My Side’ (Bobsled 15) 2000
Under-rated band The Velvet Crush released this three song CD single on Bobsled Records. ’Gentle Breeze’ is taken from their album ’Free Expression’ but the other two tracks are only available here. Pleasingly all cuts are in MONO. Seems strange that a modern band would do such a thing.
The music is mellow country rock with a definite late 60s Byrds feel, their earlier work is much more indie rock with jangle.
By the time of this release The Velvet Crush were down to a duo of Paul Chastain and Ric Menck. Production duties were by Matthew Sweet……DIG IT!!!!
are you sure the version of Gentle Breeze is the same as on the LP ”free expression”? I have an early version which was released on a Creation EP in the early 90s (Post-Greatness EP) and in my records the two versions (2000 7 inches and 1992 12 inches) are similar, with a less cleaner sound than the free expression lp version
38. THE STAIRS – ’Weed Bus’ EP (Go Discs GODCD 63) 1991
Here’s a first for ’Flower Bomb Songs’. The first ever YouTube video uploaded to my blog. Hope you all dig it.
Back in 1991 there wasn’t a lot of new bands to listen to in England. However, a four piece Liverpudlian set were. Perhaps The Stairs were our best kept secret, not that ’Weed Bus’ (a song about smoking pot) would ever get played on the radio!
This 4 song CD single is now very rare and sought after. All tracks are worth a listen. My favourite is probably the jangly ’Flying Machine’…
The Stairs only ever recorded in MONO and on this promo video they sound like The Rolling Stones but look like The Chocolate Watch Band. A mix that couldn’t possibly fail…but somehow it did.
39. THE BREADMAKERS – ”Continental Cool” EP (Farniente Records 001) 1996
If you dig your R&B authentic without the influence of garage look no further than The Breadmakers from Victoria, Australia. It’s a shame that they chose a crap name for their band and an even bigger shame that the cover of this EP is second rate. Just as well that the music contained within is excellent.
The musicianship and production stand out as does the best song on the EP ’Searchin’ For Cool’… if The Breadmakers were searchin’ for cool they definitely found it with this song and EP as a whole.
Searchin’ For Cool
Yeah Yeah Baby
Blues For An Olive
40. THE UNHEARD – ’Don’t You Stand In My Sunshine’ / ’I Don’t Believe’ / ’I Don’t Want Anything But You’ (Kavern 7 Records K7-007) 1987
Continuing my trip through the dark recesses of my record collection, post 1975 releases, I pulled this three song EP out of an Australian box…. The Unheard were a group of four garage teen punks and their record was probably ’unheard’ in the late 80s.
I dig the fact that they preferred to have a picture of a tone-bender fuzz box on the front cover of their record, with a very small pic of themselves on the back of the sleeve. And it’s for that reason I’m giving them number 40 slot on my ’Flower Bomb Songs’ Top 50 chart.
All three songs are fuzz punkers with barely a tune to write home about. ’I Don’t Believe’ is perhaps their best.
Ah my friend Pat Brownlee is/was the vocalist/keyboard/rhythm guitarist for this outfit. He’ll be amused to see this here. I’ve sent him the link.
Neat! By the way, they went well on into the 90s and were a very cool live act around Sydney, and the south coast of NSW. Their cover of the Sonics’ Psycho really rocked.
41. THE POPPEES – ’Jealousy’ / ’She’s Got It’ (Line Records 6.14383) 1985
This copy is the re-issue on German label Line Records (they also released those Mindrocker compilations). This 45 originally came out on Bomp Records in 1978.
’Jealousy’ is a merseybeat influenced rocker displaying their obvious love for Hamburg era Beatles. There’s plenty of ’Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s’ and a cool guitar break. The other side is a cover of Little Richard’s 1956 song ’She’s Got It’…. Both sides of the disc were produced by Flamin’ Groovies Cyril Jordan.
I once read that The Poppees could have been contenders but they blew their chance with a major label (Sire) and split up shortly after in late ’78.
Please be advised of a rare reel tape discovery in Los Angeles: the unreleased debut album of The Poppees. This 12-song tape includes 1 of the group’s 2 singles on Bomp Records, ”If She Cries.”
The songs are definitely performed by The Poppees and are not from their splinter period where they became the alternate group, The Boyfriends.
The Poppees tape was found with a stack of other reel tapes, apparently from a radio station, from groups including: Yard Trauma; The Brood; The Boss Martians; and others.
The tape is being researched for transfer and release—30-plus years later after the original recordings. The Poppees performances are found original and sparkling; fans will find their 3 decade wait was not in vain.
Standout tracks include, ”Somebody Loves You” and ”You’d Never Leave.” All The Poppees Best, Mark Matlock Andromeda International Recordsandrointl@earthlink.net
42. THE ULTRA 5 – Back In The Savage Garden EP (Zebrah Records ZR 003) 1996
The Ultra 5 were similar sounding to their major influences The Fuzztones. Judging by their attire they also shared the same bag of skulls, voodoo beads, monsters and graphic design ideas.
This four track EP has it’s moments and it’s here because they covered ’The Streets Of Your Town’ originally done by Country Joe And The Fish on their 1968 LP ’Together’…. Any band that covers a Barry Melton song deserve my attention.
tracks on EP:
Hit & Run
Right Is Wrong
The Streets Of Your Town
The Ultra 5 were from New York but this was a release on a small Belgium label, limited to 500 copies.
43. THE PLIMSOULS – ’A Million Miles Away’ / ’I’ll Get Lucky’ (Shaky City Records BMP 134) 1981
Undeniably great Rickenbacker enhanced jangler by The Plimsouls. They had been around since the late 70s but ’A Million Miles Away’ dates from 1981. It featured in a movie from ’83 called ’Valley Girl’….not much into non 60s films (unless the late great John Candy makes an appearance) so I’ve never seen it.