Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Mike Stax's Playlist of Current Faves
1. THE DOWNLINERS SECT – Brite Lights – Big City (Hand of Glory, 2011) 7” EP. Are you kidding? I’ve fantasized for almost 25 years about what this unreleased 1964 EP might sound like, but never thought I’d ever get to actually hear it. Miraculously, the long lost master tape surfaced and fell into the right hands, so now it’s been released to the world. It does not disappoint. This is the kind of teenage punk rhythm’n’blues that first fired my obsession, and it never ceases to thrill me. (more on page 200 of the new issue)
2. THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES – Jumpin’ in the Night (Sire, 1979) LP. I bought this and dug it when it first came out in ’79, and pulled it off the shelf every now and then for a spin. However, it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that it hit me just how great it is. Like most fans, I suppose I’d always felt it was overshadowed by the Shake Some Action album. That shadow has passed. This is every bit its equal; a brilliantly realized melding of Byrds, Beatles, and Aftermath-period Stones. Top picks: “Yes I Am,” “Tell Me Again.
3. JONATHAN RABB – Rosa (Three Rivers Press, 2005) Book. Atmosphere is of paramount importance to me in fiction, and in this outstanding crime noir set in 1919 Berlin the atmosphere is so thick it feels like you’re swimming through it.
4. THE MAGNIFICENT BROTHERHOOD – Dope Idiots (World in Sound, 2010) CD. From Berlin 1919 to Berlin now, and the impressive debut album by these Berlin-based garage freaks. Music Machine and Seeds influence abound in the guitar-keys-bass-drums format, but they put their own inventive twist on the genre with memorable songwriting, strong vocals and a natural sense of chemistry and energy. Fave tracks: “Last Song About You,” “Degeneration.”
5. KELLEY STOLTZ – To Dreamers (Sub Pop, 2010) CD. Kelley Stoltz is one of those rare songwriters who manage to absorb ‘60s pop and beat influences and make them into something that seems new and fresh. There’s a strong Ray Davies flavor to his best work, that slightly whimsical sense of longing and nostalgia, tinged with darkness and regret—not to mention melodies you find yourself whistling unexpectedly weeks later. Top picks: “Love Let Me In Again,” “I Remember, You Were Wild.”
6. THE CONTRASTS – She Didn’t Care (unreleased demo, 1966). Blistering fuzz guitar spattered greatness recorded at Gold Star by San Diego teen garage band. CD release on UT Records soon Read their story next issue.
7. JIM SULLIVAN - U.F.O. (Light in the Attic, 2010) CD. Jim Sullivan lived in La Mesa in the ‘60s, less than a mile from where I sit right now. He disappeared without a trace in the New Mexico desert in 1975. His 1969 album, U.F.O., is a haunted loner masterpiece, sounding a bit like Tim Hardin, but with a more wide open, West Coast vibe, complete with sterling backing from Wrecking Crew musicians. There’s a subtle, eerie depth to Sullivan’s songs that’s hard to resist: “It’s my time to go,” he sings on one track, “I just want the wind to blow / my ashes until they’re completely out of sight.” Sullivan’s strange, fascinating, doomed story is detailed in the liner notes of this beautifully put together reissue. Picks: “Highways,” “U.F.O.,” “So Natural.”
8. ROY GAINES – Skippy is a Sissy (RCA, 1958) 7” single. I just heard this for the first time (thanks, Greg) and my drool-soaked jaw is still on the floor. Does anything rock harder than this superheated ’58 rocker out of Houston, Texas? I’m thinking not.