Friday, December 27, 2013

Introducing: Girl One and the Grease Guns

Girl One and the Grease Guns have a great sound reminiscent of early electro-rock bands and an interesting visual style in composing their videos.  I think the name is pretty good as well.  I don't know much more about them as I suspect the group members' names - Sissy Space Echo, Warren Betamax, Charles Bronson Burner and Bruce LeeFax - were selected some time after Christening.  The UK's Squirrel Records has the honor of bringing the band's music to the world and have released three 7" recordings so far.  Here is the video for the April release, "Driving Without Headlights (Once Again)".

"Jessica 6"

Imagine Manhattan Love Suicides repurposed as a subversive synth pop band.  It is glorious if you try.

This was their debut -

Artist page at Squirrel Records

Free sampler from Fishrider Records

We have devoted a considerable amount of digital ink on the fine releases of Dunedin, New Zealand's Fishrider Records.  Just in the past eighteen months we have lauded the work of Trick Mammoth, Males, The Prophet Hens, The Shifting Sands, Opposite Sex and The Puddle (whose drummer is Fishrider boss Ian Henderson).  The great news is that Fishrider has collected eleven tracks from these bands in All Over The World - A 2013/2014 Fishrider Records Sampler, and is offering it for "name your price" on the Fishrider Bandcamp page (see link below).  The set is a great introduction to the high quality music produced by these artists.  I've provided streams of four songs below, and you can stream the entire album on Bandcamp.


Friday Nuggets: Flamin' Groovies

We saved the best for last in our final installment of the 2013 Friday Nuggets series.

No band captured the garage rock / power pop / pre-punk sound and ethos better than the Flamin' Groovies, certainly one of my favorite bands of all time.

The Flamin' Groovies were founded by Cyril Jordan in San Francisco in 1965. Their best work was done in the '70's when they released four consecutive great albums - Teenage Head, Shake Some Action,  Flamin' Groovies Now, and  Jumpin' in the Night. Like a lot of the garage rock that we've featured here at Friday Nuggets, The Flamin' Groovies were heavily influenced by British invasion rock and roll (in their case, especially The Rolling Stones), Motown, and California pop, which they merged into a super amped up, fast and loud speedball, with copious amounts of psychedelia thrown in. It's a winning and timeless combo.

"Shake Some Action" (1976) is one of the great American rock and roll songs, and became by itself a
significant blueprint for the best American bands of the '80's - R.E.M., the dBs and The Replacements:

The first Flamin' Groovies song I ever heard was "Slow Death", released in 1972. It got some airplay on WABX in Detroit. My friend Steve, always a step ahead of every other kid at our high school, was into it. It's gotta be the best anti-drugs rock and roll song ever written. Here's an absolutely blistering live version from a French television show in 1972:  


Another classic of theirs is "Jumpin' in the Night", the title track from their 1979 LP, inexplicably never released as a single or pushed to radio even though they were on a major label at the time. How this was not a major hit song is a great mystery:

The Flamin' Groovies went through many personnel changes through the years, broke up and reunited only to break up again. Various members went on to do great stuff with other bands, but the magic of The Flamin' Groovies has endured. Much like their 1970's Southern cohorts Big Star, the band is far more revered today than they were at the time.

Cyril Jordan and the current incarnation of the Flamin' Groovies played a few shows this year, in San Francisco and in Australia for the Hoodoo Gurus' Dig It Up festival.  

The band has done some recording and is slated to release a new CD in 2014, it's first since 1993.

Flamin' Groovies Facebook page

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Northern Portrait - Ta!

Assume you have a pop fan on your list that you haven't covered yet, despite the fact that it is already Christmas Day.  I'm thinking of someone who will appreciate high quality pop that is a bit out of the mainstream.  Despite your tardiness, you can quickly rescue your reputation with Ta!, a collection of tracks not previously released on albums by Denmark's Northern Portrait.  Selected from singles and EPs from the last six years, the album reveals the band to be one of Scandinavia's premier pop outfits.  The songwriting, vocals and performances all reflect wit and craftsmanship.  Sample the album with "The Fallen Aristocracy".  You also can listen to a four song sampler below.  I think there is a good chance you will conclude that the pop fan who merits this last minute present is you.

Northern Portrait is based in Copenhagen.  The members of the band are Michael Sorensen, Stefan Larsen, and Rune Reholt.  Their style of jangling instrumentation and strong, soulful vocals reminds me of The Housemartins, although they draw comparisons to The Smiths as well, largely due to the vocals.

This is Matinee Recordings' second release for Northern Portrait this year, following the EP Pretty Decent Swimmers (our review here).

Matinee Recordings page for album

The greatest Christmas Day song of all time

My favorite Christmas song, "Jesus Christ" by Big Star: 

And the very fine cover by R.E.M., with Mike Mills on lead vocals:

Merry Christmas to our WYMA readers. We wish you and your families all the best.

Monday, December 23, 2013

An early Christmas gift from Reverberation Radio

If it's Wednesday...wait it's not Wednesday, but the folks at Reverberation Radio have released another edition  of musical eclectica two days earlier than usual.  Take a break from Bing, Perry and Burl and put on your twisted Santa hat.  Click on the artists name if you want on know more about them.

1. Johnny Largo At The Optigon - I’ll Be Home For Christmas
2. Reuben Anderson - Christmas Time Again
3. Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns - Almost Time For Santa Claus
4. Jr. and His Soulettes - Rock & Roll Santa
5. The Crusaders - Little Drummer Boy
6. The Ventures - Blue Christmas
7. The Tremeloes- Suddenly Winter
8. Billy Nicholls - Winter Rose
10. The Flirtations - Christmas Time Is Here Again
11. The Poets - Merry Christmas Baby
13. Parkas - Snowplow
15. Brook BentonYou’re All I Want For Christmas
16. Eddie “Tex” Curtis - Sleighbells In The Moonlight
17. Bob Lind - White Snow
18. Captain Elmo McKenzie & The Roosters - Home On Christmas Day