Monday 26 June 2023

Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It

Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It (1986)
The song that sounds just as good today as the first time you heard it back in the 80s when you were a teenager. 

No amount of inspirational self actualisation anthems can jolt me out of society's dysphoric present though. 

Saturday 24 June 2023

Talk Talk - Such A Shame

Talk Talk - Such A Shame (1984)
This went to number one in Italy and Switzerland. I do find it interesting when songs are way more successful in certain territories. I mean this didn't even crack the Australian top 100 and only reached number 49 at home in the UK, yet it went to number two in Germany and Austria. What about this tune made it appeal to Europeans so much? Or was it just marketed better in those regions?

Anyway what a great sense of dynamics they had along with classic tunefulness. The sound sometimes gets wild like it could get totally out of control but it is tightly conducted to an exquisite degree. 

Some say they couldn't see their later career aesthetics coming but come on you can hear they are absolutely on a different sonic plain to any mid 80s pop band right here. 

Friday 23 June 2023

Jackson Browne - Somebody's Baby

Jackson Browne - Somebody's Baby (1982)
This just tears me apart. All these conflicting emotions within this song mixed with nostalgia for a time when music like this was on the radio and the dysphoria of 2023 coalesce for a perfect storm of intense poignancy. I honestly couldn't tell ya if Browne had any other decent songs but who cares, it this one that matters. 

The demented elated loneliness of being so in love but knowing your relationship is a doomed slow burning ticking time bomb, the heart wrenching jealousy of imagining the one you love fucking somebody else, the empty bliss of one night stands and all that shit comes rushing back upon hearing this. 

Then there's that whole vibe of the song being on the radio when you were eleven. So you could only imagine what this song's sentiments were all about but you felt them through your preteen heart anyhow. And flashing back to that feeling as an old bastard who ended up going through all those emotions, it's a complex array of feelings. All the feels.

Monday 19 June 2023

Talk Talk - It's My Life

Talk Talk - It's My Life (1984)
Because it's like the greatest 80s tune: An undeniable timeless anthem. 

We need more songs like this in our lives to remind us that, yes this is our life and it doesn't belong to the fucking retarded government, the insane cultural revolution people who run everything, the fucking hideous mega corporations, the mental patient climate alarmists, big tech, big pharma, the UN, the WHO and all these unelected fucks trying to social engineer everything. 

Australia is done. They have forgotten what pluralism means and there must only be one viewpoint à la Stalin & Mao style otherwise you are demonised as an extremist.

I'm not changing any of my fucking words. I'm not participating in the daft cultural revolution. Fuck identity politics. Fuck the victimhood olympics of the mental intersectional oppression hierarchy. Fuck cheerleading endless war. Fuck the idiots who think male-inclusive lesbianism can be a thing. Fuck the censorship industrial complex. Fuck the racial division of Australia's voice to parliament. Fuck Kieran Perkins. It's all nonsense! 

Anyway thank you Mark Hollis for your song that strikes me right in the heart of my human-ness. A lot of us wish it was still 1984 instead of Nineteen Eighty Four.

Is the best quality in a pop song defiance? 

Sunday 18 June 2023

Mortiis - Født til å herske

Mortiis - Født til å herske (1994)
Old school Norwegian ambient black metal that's now categorised as dungeon synth. Had to post this as it's an example of what a masterpiece in the genre is. Creepy organs, even creepier liturgical chanting and whooshes of exquisite darkness. Supreme sombre tone throughout. 

Saturday 17 June 2023

Hole Dweller - Flies The Coop

Hole Dweller - Flies The Coop (2019)
This is the sorta sound that I was expecting from the previous post's Gnometopia by Eldergleam. Even though this album has been termed "Comfy Synth" it's still pretty much "Dungeon Synth" ie. it isn't dissimilar to Burzum's ambient tracks or early Mortiis. Flies The Coop would have been called black metal or dark ambient back in the day. In the last fifteen years however many of these recordings dating back to the early 90s have been retro-actively categorised as Dungeon Synth. Then in the last five years a few current divergent micro-genres have emerged from that including "Winter Synth", "Dino Synth" and "Comfy Synth". The type of music in these new categories is pretty self explanatory and perhaps a bit stupid.

In the comments of this Hole Dweller video I notice a lot of nerdy references to gaming, tech, hobbits, pipeweed etc. but it's just good synth tunes to me. Like church organs emanating from a Norwegian woods, these pastoral synth jams sometimes become haunting and at other stages quite anthemic. 

Eldergleam - Gnometopia

Eldergleam - Gnometopia (2023)
So I came across this somewhere on the interwebs and thought well thats the best album cover ever. Hoping it was gonna be some kind of cute black metal crossed with something like Tubular Bells or at least some classic old school dungeon synth. That wasn't to be. It's eleven minutes of simple wobbly synth ambience which is lovely enough while it's playing. Apparently this is part of the recent "Comfy Synth" genre which is actually related to "Dungeon Synth" which was a 90s black metal micro-genre. Anyway there is a childlike innocence here to match the cover, perhaps just not matching what the band logo promised. I guess it has a retro science/kids telly vibe which in turn makes it a somewhat distant cousin to "Haunty-logic" music. I mean this is much closer sonically to Paddy Kingsland than say Depressive Silence.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

The New Breeds - Girl In Love

New Breeds - Girl In Love (1966)
This group didn't even release a single in the 60s. The New Breeds only had one recording Girl In Love which appeared on a 1966 compilation album that was never commercially released. Hillside Album No. 1 was a promotional sampler for a bunch of Columbus Ohio bands that was used to try and get gigs. Then this tune wasn't rediscovered until it appeared in 1998 on the brilliant Teenage Shutdown Volume 6: I'm Down Today compilation. 

Hearing something like this you might assume half the 80s Flying Nun roster, The Blue Orchids, The Moles or The Beta Band were big fans but Girl In Love wasn't in wide circulation until 1999 long after The Moles Tendrils & Paracetamol or Beta Band's The Three EPs had been released. 

A moody garage classic: The rolling jangles, atmospheric organ and to die for enthusiastic gloomy harmonies all add to the el-cheapo lo-fi bargain basement Beach Boys charm of this record.

One of the best 60s tunes you never heard...unless of course you have.

Monday 12 June 2023

The Riots - I Can Go On

The Riots - I Can Go On (1966)
Premium moody garage. Swirling horror movie organ with menacing guitar strums and a dark bass tone weave their black magic and yet the doomed melodic vocals are somewhat uplifting. You gotta ride the doom to escape the gloom... I think I just made that up. Timmy's discount aphorisms: I'm giving them away. 

Sunday 11 June 2023

The Outsiders - She's Coming On Stronger

The Outsiders - She's Coming On Stronger (1965/6?)
Then sometimes you just need an insane rave up where everything's in the red. A manic stomping beat with spirited crowd chorus vocals to shake off your cobwebs. A wild energetic burst of sound to obliterate your mind for a moment, well, two minutes and eighteen seconds of moments.  

This is The Outsiders from Tampa Florida not to be confused with The Outsiders from Cleveland or The Outsiders from The Netherlands. This lot recorded two 7" singles on Tampa's Knight Records.

The Innsmen - I Don't Know

The Innsmen - I Don't Know (1966)
Another charming slice of pre-Velvets moody & broody teen beat garage that really sounds like it coulda been an 80s or 90s Velvets-damaged lo-fi indie tune. If you told me Lou or Sterling or Dean had played on this I wouldn't have battered an eye. 

The Innsmen were a bunch of teenagers from Edsel Ford High. They were another Michigan group who did just the one 7" single in 1966 and that was their recording career done but... 

...this kid's lead break lives forever! 

Saturday 10 June 2023

Keggs - Girl

Keggs - Girl (1967)
Then there's the other side of garage rock, quite often literally the flipside. These groups would put a garage rocker on one side and a slow sad tune on the other. One Teenage Shutdown compilation's sub heading summed it up nicely calling it "Moody and Brooding Teen Misery Garage Rock". A lot of this stuff is pre-Velvets proto-indie slow-fi.  

This tune Girl by Keggs is a fine example of what we're talking about. A wide eyed and innocent break up song with an atmospheric tone set by the minimalist low key instrumentation that really is a blueprint for the twee-core of Jonathan Richman

For creating such a seminal tune Keggs really get fuck all recognition. Anyway it's a crackin' tune whether it's part of the narrative or not innit.

Friday 9 June 2023

The Enfields - I'm For Things You Do

The Enfields - I'm For Things You Do (1966)
Then sometimes a song just insidiously inserts itself into your life. This was on a 60s garage mixtape youtube video along with like 35 other tunes. It was a very lo-fi, almost unlistenable version but I got drawn back to it time and time again. Then I had to find a better version and after several fidelity upgrades I think this one on @musicmastersdrumtracks2428 channel is the best. I'm For The Things You Do hasn't got the most monstrous fuzz or the most insane neanderthal snarls or a gimmick to sell you. No it's just sweet, subtle and sneaks into your consciousness. All of a sudden it's one of your favourite tunes from the 60s.

Very bloody noice mate!

Rewind again and again.

The Mondels - You'll Never Come Back to Stay

You'll Never Come Back To Stay - The Mondels (1967)
So if you love some 60s garage rock and freakbeat but haven't been paying attention for a while you might find that there are a bunch of tunes out there that weren't there before. I'm always amazed that the crate diggers keep finding more old stuff. Like I've also just realised there was an essential book on 60s garage published in 2012 called Teenbeat Mayhem which I disappointingly missed. Now it's sold out and going for absurd prices. Anyway the last ten 60s tunes I've posted were originally compiled in the late 70s and early 80s. Then they got further compilation appearances in the subsequent decades.

You'll Never Come Back To Stay by The Mondels made its first compilation appearance in 2000 on Teenage Shutdown: I'm Gonna Stay (Target: Fuzz!). So this one and done 1967 seven inch single from The Mondels was waiting in the wings for thirty three years before being rediscovered. 

So here's a terrific little teen fuzz and scuzz number that's done and dusted in under two minutes. They really nailed the devastating "my girlfriend left me and I'm gonna die if I don't get her back" tone here.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Groundhogs - Cherry Red

We interrupt this virtual 1966 with something from 1971 because, bless his soul, Tony McPhee singer and guitarist of the perpetually underrated Groundhogs has passed away. 

Speaking of The Quest's high pitched vocals in a psych setting (see previous post) here's a similar aesthetic five years later. It's heavy psych avant-blues guitar pyrotechnics with an array of classic vocal tones including that infectiously insane high wailing falsetto. A metallic pop epic that never gets old. Somehow it always remains fresh, exciting and a blast every time. My favourite tune of my year of birth. 

Peak 1971. It doesn't get better than this!

The Quest's - Shadows In The Night

The Quest's - Shadows In The Night (1966)
Another storming slice of unorthodox Michigan garage. The Quest's hailed from Grand Rapids MI. They released three singles on the legendary Fenton label. While we get some supreme fuzz and manic surf drummage, it's the high pitched hook laden vocals that set this tune apart. Good fun spooky stuff. Is it spooky? Maybe it's an ode to paranoia? I dunno, I've never been able to comprehend exactly what he's on about.....

The Undecided ? - Make Her Cry

The Undecided - Make Her Cry (1966)
I'd never heard this until today. Make Her Cry is the a-side of which the previous post's I Never Forgot Her was the b-side. This tune wasn't on any of the Pebbles or Teenage Shutdown compilations. It did however appear on a volume of the Garage Punk Unknowns compilation series but I missed those so...

To say the sonic contours and musical aesthetics of this song were unexpected is probably an understatement. Initial impression is: This sounds like The Beach Boys doing a glam rock stomper five years early. It's the kinda music indie/psych/hypnagogic artists were aiming for twenty years ago. You could imagine a cover of this turning up on a James Ferraro recording circa On Air.  

Anyhow Make Her Cry woulda been a barnstormer at the local Michigan teen beat sock hop back in the day!

This is glam rock in 1966.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

The Undecided ? - I Never Forgot Her

The Undecided ? - I Never Forgot Her (1966)
Ok now lets get to the weirder side of the unknown teen beat garage scene from Michigan. The Undecided ? were from Dearborn MI and released just the one single. This is the flipside. I Never Forget Her was firstly compiled in 1983 on Pebbles: Highs In The Mid Sixties Volume 5: Michigan.

Sometimes the acolytes of The Yardbirds, The Beach Boys et al. match or even outdo their heroes. If you've never heard this before give it a chance, the uncommon charms of The Undecided ? might just cast a spell on you. I Never Forgot Her is unexpected and curious. Apart from the monstrous reverb there's something going on here that's sonically quite disconcerting which makes it totally irresistible. These guitar sequences are left intentionally unresolved leaving a slightly disorientating undercurrent: A ghost in the air of what you thought should have been. 

20th century pop of the highest calibre. Rewind. 

Fly-Bi-Nites - Found Love

Fly-Bi-Nites - Found Love (1967)
If Blue Oyster Cult's 1976 hit Don't Fear The Reaper has always been a favourite of yours and you've not heard this you might be in for a surprise. Found Love was on a Pebbles: Highs In The Mid Sixties comp. This is another 7" single flipside that has outlasted its totally forgotten and forgettable A-side.

This toe-tapper flows along in an incredibly pleasing manner. It's an anthem. The organ sets the driving tone and the guitar gets on board along with that killer bass doing its own thing. There's even a break! What's not to like. 

Monday 5 June 2023

The Mystery Trend - Johnny Was A Good Boy

The Mystery Trend - Johnny Was A Good Boy (1967)
Another hook laden slice of perfect driving psych-rock that didn't become a top ten smash. How can this be? It's undoubtably one of the great singles of the 60s.

Was the subject matter too disturbing. I mean:

"So now they put him away, they say he's not a normal man
You never can tell, but well they say he may do it again"

Whatever he did it can't have been good. But Johnny was a good boy wasn't he?

"Animals all loved him
And he had a way with kids"

It's all terribly upsetting and mysterious. I'm gonna go with, not a crime against a person, but maybe he set the local sports stadium on fire because he didn't like footy. I can't help but think it was something much much worse though, like the most most transgressive abhorrent crime possible. Oh dear Johnny what did you do?

*Imagine if all the San Fran psych/Matrix groups were this good? 

Anyway they became just another one and done group which has probably made them way more legendary than if they had released a full LP or three or perhaps they missed out on being more influential than The Velvets.

Sunday 4 June 2023

The Squires - Going All the Way

The Squires - Going All The Way (1966)
My other favourite 60s tune of right now (and many previous nows). I know I've probably posted it before but it deserves it. This did appear on the first Pebbles comp so it's been a cult favourite for a long time,

Going All The Way is a supreme paean to fearless youthful exuberance delivered with er... youthful exuberance. 

For their one and only 7" single The Squires were signed to ATCO Records so how this didn't become a global number one smash is a fucking mystery. Number one in our hearts though. 

It doesn't get better than this. Crank this up to eleven!

Saturday 3 June 2023

The Plagues - I've Been Through It Before

The Plagues - I've Been Through It Before (1966)
My current favourite 60s tune of the last 25 years. Teen fuzz and scuzz. The best.

The Plagues had it going on here alright. All the elements perfectly coalesce. Those drums are just electric and the array of fuzz oh my. The astounding synergetic tight-loose-ness of it all. The doom-y teen aguish and petulance of the lyrics delivered in such a sullen tone. The insidious melody, the bass, the push and pull of the pace, the synchronous backing's all in the right place, flawlessly. 


I wanna fall out of love just to feel this song even more.

This was The Plagues second single and was released in 1966 on the Fenton label out of Sparta, Michigan. I've Been Through It Before later turned up on that early 80s bootleg series The Chosen Few and then in 1998 on a volume of Teenage Shutdown

You gotta love that a high school group from Lansing mid-Michigan made this immortal tune of adolescent love gone sour. 

"You expected me to 
believe, every word you said 
but now those words are dead"

How fucking cool were these kids?

As far as 60s guitar driven doomed pop goes it doesn't get better than this. If you don't believe me, play this three times in a row and tell me I'm wrong.

Friday 2 June 2023

Savages - The World Ain't Round It's Square

Savages - The World Ain't Round It's Square (1966)
Troglodytes with electricity. 

Frightening, raw, exhilarating. 

Peak get your kicks 1966!

Savages were the choice 60s Bermuda band. Who lives in Bermuda? Is that a thing? I thought Bermuda was an uninhabited archipelago of ocean volcanos where hurricanes took planes out of the sky. But Bermuda shorts though...(?) 

The weird thing is that this tune, which is considered by some as one of the greatest 60s garage rock songs, was only the b-side to their second single You're On My Mind which was a Bee Gees style ballad. Huh.