Hey there kids!
For this comp I had a mission. And that mission was to round up all the best tracks from Fuzz Flaykes & Shakes by Tony the Tiger, and the good 'uns from Sixties Rebellion.
Now - Sixties Rebellion had already been looted, pillaged and ransacked when they made the Teenage Shutdown series. So I only found two or so tracks I wanted to use.
I found more on Fuzz Flaykes & Shakes.
The rest is some shit that just came in my path. I don't always remember where or when I stumble across the tracks that ends up on these comps.
Almost all songs here rated a 5 or 6 on the TeenBeat Mayhem 10-point scale, most of them fairly judged. Some not.
Oh, and this is vol. 35. Before The Dawn is vol. 36. But I posted Before The Dawn before this which was a mistake. Ah, the sweet confusion of European garage comps.
ATTIC SOUNDS - SHADOWS
"..yesterdays kiss is still warm.."
Heavy drums and an undulating bass kicks off the set.
High-end garage which seems to be aiming at the billboard.
At the end of January 2017 it is priced at $274.98 which is a little too steep, I think. But what do I know, I'm way too poor to afford to collect these gems.
TeenBeat Mayhem tells us it is a "gtr-tamborine jangle-tuff voc" and hands it a 5 rating. Pretty accurate to me, though I might give a 6 instead. Mike released a handful more 45's, but nothing that I've heard.
(Silver Spring, MD) Jul '66
JOURNEY MEN - SHE'S SORRY
"The Journey men were a five member band of Brunswick high school students. The band included Jim Kerns on lead guitar and vocals, Howard Cook on organ and vocals, Dale Seeds on bass and vocals, Ron MacMillan on guitar and vocals, and Bob Levandowski on drums. The band decided to take a trip down to Florida and while there, recorded an excellent teen garage 45 for the Tampa based Boss label."
The Journey Men shared label (Boss) with the Berkley Five that recorded the fantastic You're Gonna Cry and also the ultra-awesome combo the Rovin' Flames that released 4 winning 45, the second being on Boss. (Check out the Flames stunning back-catalog on this playlist). This was the Journey Men's sole 45, on the flip you'll find the mersey-esque ballad Short And Sweet.
(Brunswick, OH) '67
APOLLOES - LAUGH IN MY FACE
"..we used to walk hand in hand.."
Awesome downer mid-tempo ballad. Some sweet organ och smooth soothing strumming on the guitar. The flip is the slow yawnish stomp of Hey.
Apolloes released two more 45s as Apolloes and two as the Swingin' Apolloes. The last of the Apolloes and the first Swingin' Apolloes 45s was the same 2 songs (may have been re-recorded) - the Blue-Cheer-meats-Beach-Boys version (not as cool as it sounds) Summertime Blues and Slow Down which features some "wigged out" and "groovy" and "far out" backwards guitar wizardry.
The last 45 is the "dreamy psych gem" Chained & Bound. Actually kinda cool popsyke.
Anyhoo, this is rated 7 in TeenBeat Mayhem. I'd give it a 6. But it is a very strong 6.
(Middle Georgia Collage, Cocharane, GA) Nov '65
FIRST CROW TO THE MOON - WE WALK THE RAIN
"..I don't care what you've done, I don't care where you've been.."
This fucker is easily the strongest track on this set. To me the First Crow To The Moon is right up there with Human Expression and Dovers. Hm, maybe not. But almost. Here they atleast sound like a mix of them.
Uhm no they really really really sound like the Zombies.
The lyrics are pretty powerful stuff. Just check out these lines: "I don't care who you are, I don't care what you've seen, no matter what they say they'll never ever come between (we walk the rain) our love.."
Get it? Our protagonist is hangin' out with a girl that has a real bad reputation but he don't give a fuck what she's been, or not been, up to. "Their lies will never penetrate the kind of love I'm in". That's some pretty heady teenage poetry right there!
There's a story about the origins of the zany name First Crow To The Moon and the mostly accepted is that it was a misprint on their (sole) 45 and it should say "Crew" and not "Crow".
But I've also heard that they actually was named "First Crow"..
Whatever the truth, both a fuckin' stupid names.
If you're new to the scene and haven't heard their (as I said, sole) 45 then check 'em out: the great classic Spend You Life With Me and the punkadelic fast-paced Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind.
We Walk The Rain sounds a little wonky due to some 90s dodgy mixing (a bit too clinic and in atrocious stereom, it is mixed from the master tapes I 'spose) but that can't take away any of the power from this potent moody punker.
Read a little more here.
(Brooklyn, NY) '67
OTHER FOUR - SEARCHING FOR MY LOVE
"..mysteries in my souls and worries on my mind.."
A short summary
The Other Four were a San Diego garage band that released three singles in 1965 and 1966, the last of them appearing on the Decca label. Most of the group had played in the Man-Dells who put out an unimpressive single in the winter of 1964/1965. The Other Four's 45s were better but still rather unexceptional efforts that were pretty typical of what countless other bands in the United States were doing at the time. The singles varied between standard pop/rock garage; a more slickly produced harmony pop/rocker ("These Are the Words"); a tune with a folk-rockish riff that sounded a bit like the Monkees at their hardest-rocking ("Once and for All Girl"); a pointless cover of Kenny Dino's 1961 hit "Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night"; and a daintily arranged tune ("How Do You Tell a Girl") that was a little reminiscent of the mid-'60s Beach Boys' productions, though of course not remotely in the same league. Members Rick Randle and Norman Lombardo later played together (and were the songwriters for) the Brain Police, a San Diego psychedelic group that recorded an obscure demo album in 1968.
Richie is right on the money. The other two songs by the band that are ok are Why? and Once And For All Girl, but I do find the Yardbird-sy Searching For My Love sweet as hell.
Real nice moody garage pop.
Rated 5 in TBM and now also by me.
(San Diego, CA) Dec '65
CHECKMATES - HEY GIRL
"..I've been in love before and I just can't go through it anymore.."
Checkmates from Texas released 2 45s on the Ruff label, a cool label that also put out the fuzz-powered uptempo Please Come Back by Yall's and the highly original rhumbadelic punk of That's The Way My Love Is by the Trolls not to mention sunny psychedelic swinger Walking In The Queens Garden by the US version of Them.
Back to Checkmates!
Hey Girl is an irresistible slice of bouncing jangling americanized merseypop.
Fantastic sound on this great little gem!
Rated 4 in TBM but I'd give it atleast a 5.
(Amarillo, TX) Mar '65
MYSTERIONS - IS IT A LIE
"..day and night I sit at home and I cry.."
More sounding-slightly-pedestrian-but-is-really-GODHEAD mersey-ish pop! It is sooo hard to tire of this adorable little ditty. Great drums, great guitars, supercool bass, cool laid-back vocals.
TBM gives it a 6, I'd kick it up a notch to...hmmm..7.
And what about the Jox label? Yeah, you can find some more cool collectable tracks there.
The Kings' looney rocker It's The LCB (of Scum Of The Earth fame)
Tommy Jett's masterful acid punk winner Groovy Little Pill
Mind's Eye claustrophobic paranoia of Help, I'm Lost
and Brown Paper Bag's moody Something Tells Me, to mention a few..
(San Antonio, TX) Jun '65
NOBLEMEN - SHE STILL THINKS THAT I LOVE HER
"..she still thinks that I care.."
Solid mersey-esque with excellent playing all through. And an anguished scream at 1:10.
The lyrics are of the, what shall I say, spartan kind. I've heard wordier pieces by the Ramones.
Also, there's this crazy reverb on it. It's like the singer is sitting in a slightly different dimension.
That reverb could be something that was laying around in the studio since Noblemen's labelmates the Incrowd also got some crazy reverb on their chaotic Set Me Free.
(McCordsville, IN) Nov '65
PALACE GUARDS - SORRY
"..never knew how much I cared, until I realized that she wasn't there.."
U-Doe was a small New Orleans label but it managed to release some killer 45s. Howzabout Glory Rhodes raving muy primitivo Stay Out Of My Way (would fit right in on the mighty mighty Teenage Shutdown series) and the Better Half-Dozen 2 sided killer; I'm Gonna Leave You and I Could Have Loved Her.
Sorry is a great uptempo moody jangler. Palace Guards released a couple of high quality 45s. You can find the moody flip Better Things To Do on Love Comes Love Goes and the grumpy fuzz-punker No Comin' Back (White Cliff) on Mad Mad Mad.
Rated 7 in TBM - very fair...
(Metarie, LA) Jun '66
AMOEBA - LOST LOVE
"..where can she be.."
...but the rating of this in TBM is crazy - a 5? No, this is totally a 6, 7 even!
This was Amoeba's sole 45, and Lost Love is their only recorded original song. The flip is a run-through of Stones version of Time Is On My Side.
Lost Love is very spooky number and you get the feeling of creeping around in damp and dark catacombs, looking for undead love.
(-, TX) Aug '65
PRIMATES - SHE
"..I tried to make her happy, make her smile.."
Primates was another band that put out two fantastic 45s, both on Marko. One of them is the flip side to this - the stone-cold classic Knock On My Door. In '66 they released Don't Press Your Luck which turned out to be their last.
She is a stunning piece of teenage drama.
(Astoria, NY) Sep '65
BITTER SWEETS - SHE TREATS ME BAD
"..when she left me - I died that day.."
Heavy on the atmosphere and packed with hurt young feelings. Bitter Sweets would record two more 45s and then transform into 20th Century Zoo who released 4 more singles, one being the storming stomper You Don't Remember.
(Scottsdale, AZ) Jul '66
HI-NOTES - WITHOUT YOU DARLING
"..how much do I love you I don't know why, but without you darling I would die.."
Heartfelt vocals, swirling organ, driving drums. Pretty bullet-proof ballad. Buy it now for a scandalous $350. On the flip you'll find the awkward Goodbye Baby.
Rated 6 in TBM and by me as well. Or maybe a 7..
(Silver Spring, MD) Nov '65
SUNRISERS - I SAW HER YESTERDAY
"..and I knew that my love had to die.."
Ominous mip-tempo downer. Awful flip. They later changed their name to What Four (Rollem) and recorded a very unimpressive single and then sunk into oblivion.
TBM and me agree rating this with 6 out of 10
(Litte Neck-Whitestone, NY) Oct '66
EYE ZOOMS - SHE'S GONE
"..I'll get down on my knees and pray, but she's gone now..oh no.."
This tune is so darn sweet, man.. fantastic piano in the background lends a slightly haunted-house feel, and the exquisite guitar solo flies like a lonely strand in the wind. The singer seems to be in a never-ending-alice-in-wonderland-slow-fall kind of a state of mind.
Very druggy, really. I've said it before and I'll say it again. A lot of these old pre-psychedelic ballads can possess some very potent qualities.
TBM rates it a 5 but to me this is at least a seven. One of the most impressive tracks on this set.
(Toledo, OH) Oct '65
MISSING LINKS - I CRIED GOODBYE
"..you had your arms around someone new. Oh I cried..yes cried goodbye.."
Absolutely incredible one-of-a-kind moody garage. This is rated 5 too - way too low! Just as Eye Zoom's She's Gone it has something special about it, something that makes it transcends your usual moody garage ballad. Just check the spoken words on the outro.
The flip is a very loony version of Heartbreak Hill.
(Los Angeles, CA) Jul '65
CODEINE "The White Birch" (Sub Pop) 1994
One of my many obsessive-music-fan traits is that part of my attraction to a band is occasionally centered around a proprietary mythology or mystery that I've created in my own head about them. This was true of Codeine, since I never had the chance to see them live or knew anyone who had. I'm actually totally content with this - I've imagined some really great Codeine shows in my own head, and those are what I'd rather think about rather than watch any shaky, low-resolution video footage of the band that might exist on Youtube these days.
When I was listening to The White Birch obsessively ('94-'96) I remember being annoyed that reviewers often mentioned Low and Codeine in the same sentence. For me, the bands shared similar tempos but not much else. And even though I started listening to both bands around the same time, the early Low records had a sound that was more conventionally palatable in a way that was less appealing to me and didn't possess the alienated, lonely, and introverted mood that the Codeine records had. I liked that The White Birch wasn't slow because it was relaxed, but rather because it was more hollow, rusted, frozen-over.
Understandably, these qualities have given The White Birch a special resonance to anyone living through oppressive winter weather. Among some of my midwestern friends Codeine records were often described as a "good soundtrack" to certain things: smoking, winter walks, late night drives, or any somber, solitary activity we might have been doing during those snowy Dec-Jan-Feb months. (To be fair to Low here, I make an exception for their excellent 1997 Songs for a Dead Pilot record, mostly because of its' pseudo-Codeine-like bleakness and glacial sustain - specifically the songs "Born By the Wires" and "Landlord", which I always secretly wished Codeine would have covered...I would've gladly paid for the studio time...)
But for all the crawling tempos and delicate, sustained notes this band could rear up and make some loud fucking noise. Many have made note of Codeine's wide dynamic range, and it's impossible to ignore. I don't think I've ever heard sad chords roar up at such high volumes and then instantly dissipate all the way back down to a clean-tone whisper. And I'm not sure I've seen a more confident and elegant career-exit moment (and better album-end fade-out) than the last song on The White Birch, "Smoking Room", whose beautifully slow retreat out to sea sounds like a band writing the music for the end credits of their own movie. I have always been humbled by the restraint on Codeine records in general, and this end part in particular. I think this is one of my favorite endings of any song, and it always makes me think fuck, these guys knew exactly what they were doing. It took a while, but after some time I had to admit that The White Birch and Codeine had influenced almost every aspect of my approach to playing and thinking about music. I'm not sure if its embarrassing to admit this, but this record taught me quite a few important things.
There are a few mysteries surrounding Codeine I have always wondered about. For example: How did the relationship between Codeine and David Grubbs come about? A solo piece of Grubbs' minimalist piano music (similar to his other solo piano work for the Table Of The Elements label) appeared on Codeine's previous 1992 EP release Barely Real and was later cleverly arranged as a full-band song for The White Birch. I have always been a pretty big Gastr Del Sol fan, and so Grubbs' behind-the-scenes presence was always intriguing and never really defined in print - what exactly was he in Codeine? Producer? Collaborator? (Studio shadow?)
Another Codeine mystery that I've never solved: What the fuck ever happened to singer/bass player Stephen Immerwahr? Two-thirds of this band is a known quantity - Chris Brokaw went on to be active in Come (and now The New Year, among other projects) and Doug Scharin continued with Him, Rex, and a pretty lengthy, well-regarded stint in June of 44 as well as a billion other drummer gigs. The hollowed-out, ghost voice of Codeine is nowhere to be found in music these days. I had heard that Immerwahr was in a new band called Raymond who had released a debut 7" shortly after the demise of Codeine, but I have never seen a physical copy of this or heard the material - only scans of the record and cover remain on the internet. Please post if you have any info on this.
Here is an excellent posting of rare Codeine 7"s put together by NYC uber-archivist, Daily Show employee, and good pal BJ Rubin.
Also, the rare Codeine / Bastro euro tour split 7". (I once got involved in a very bitter Ebay bidding war over this one)
I would also hate to have written this much about Codeine and omit the mentioning of their floating, expansive cover of the Joy Division song "Atmosphere" on the Means to an End tribute compilation (on Virgin Records, no less), whose lyrics are right at home beside those on The White Birch:
"People like you, have it easy - face like the sun, walking on air..."
(p.s. - I will edit this post and try to have The White Birch and the "Atmosphere" cover available for download in the next day or two.)