Posts Tagged ‘The Remains’

A Dozen Things I’m Thankful For

26 November 2009

It’s time once again to bow my head and give thanks for a few of my favorite things…


1) The rejuvenated Fox Theater - A glittering jewel of a concert venue. But more importantly, this building has helped revitalize a large swath of downtown Oakland


2) Mix tapes - To everyone who sent me a mix in the last year – you know who you are, and I thank you…


3) Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos - The best holiday music that doesn’t deck the halls or go fa la la la la…


4) The writings of Mikal Gilmore - Perhaps the most underappreciated music writer out there, this Rolling Stone staffer’s latest book, Stories Told, is powerfully well-written…


5) Amoeba Music - I’d love for someone to show me a better record store, but it won’t happen…


6) Garage Rock - The Sonics, Downliners Sect, The Remains, ? And The Mysterians, Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs, Mad River, The Black Lips, and so many more. If it sounds like it belongs on Nuggets, it’s alright with me…


7) Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - We didn’t make it out to Golden Gate Park for this year’s festival, but HSB has become one of the best music fests in the country, and it’s free. What’s not to love?


8) Blue Mitchell - The best trumpet player you’ve probably never heard…


9) Steely Dan on tour again - The Royal Scam was amazing


10) John Martyn - This late crooner had a voice that does it for me every time…


11) Exiles - Alabama 3’s Exile On Coldharbour Lane, Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville, and The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St are three albums that always sound good…


12) The P - My wife is the bomb…

*****

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~ Thornton Wilder

*****

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Weekend Playlist

29 June 2009

Me, I’ve concentrated on music pretty much to the exclusion of other things.” – Lou Reed

Freddie King
Freddie King | Hide Away
[Album cover not pictured]

Jerry Lee Lewis | Live At The Star Club, Hamburg
Jerry Lee Lewis | Live At The Star Club, Hamburg

Shawn Phillips | Second Contribution
Shawn Phillips | Second Contribution

John Lee Hooker | Free Beer And Chicken
John Lee Hooker | Free Beer And Chicken

Instant Funk | Instant Funk
Instant Funk | Instant Funk

Soundgarden | Louder Than Love
Soundgarden | Louder Than Love

Rodriguez | Cold Fact
Rodriguez | Cold Fact

INXS | Shabooh Shoobah
INXS | Shabooh Shoobah

Various Artists | Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story
Various Artists | Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story

Calexico | The Black Light
Calexico | The Black Light

Jackson 5 | Greatest Hits
Jackson 5 | Greatest Hits

Miles Davis | 'Round About Midnight
Miles Davis | ‘Round About Midnight

Horace Silver | Silver's Blue
Horace Silver | Silver’s Blue

Donald Byrd | Mustang!
Donald Byrd | Mustang!

Alabama 3 | Outlaw
Alabama 3 | Outlaw

Gram Parsons | Grievous Angel
Gram Parsons | Grievous Angel

Basement Jaxx | Remedy
Basement Jaxx | Remedy

Radiohead | In Rainbows
Radiohead | In Rainbows

Mylo | Destroy Rock & Roll
Mylo | Destroy Rock & Roll

Gomez | Bring It On
Gomez | Bring It On

Ben Charest | Triplets Of Belleville Soundtrack
Ben Charest | Triplets Of Belleville Soundtrack

Various Artists | More Oar: A Tribute To The Skip Spence Album
Various Artists | More Oar

Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Sleeps With Angels
Neil Young | Sleeps With Angels

Minutemen | Post-Mersh Vol. 3
Minutemen | Post-Mersh Vol. 3

Barry & The Remains | Barry & The Remains
Barry & The Remains | Barry & The Remains

Various Artists | Brothers On The Slide: The Story Of UK Funk
Various Artists | Brothers On The Slide: The Story Of UK Funk

Gift Of Gab | Fourth Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up
Gift Of Gab | Fourth Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up

Culture | Trod On
Culture | Trod On

Led Zeppelin | Coda
Led Zeppelin | Coda

Stevie Ray Vaughan | SRV: The Boxed Set
Stevie Ray Vaughan | SRV (Box Set)

Black Sugar | Black Sugar
Black Sugar | Black Sugar

Weekend Playlist

8 June 2009

Unfortunately, it’s time to put another weekend in the books. The P and I made the most of it by enjoying the sunshine, visiting with friends, and listening to plenty of good music. Here’s some of what passed across our turntable…

Big Youth | Everyday Skank: The Best Of
Big Youth | Everyday Skank: The Best Of

Peter Tosh | The Toughest
Peter Tosh | The Toughest: The Selection 1978-1987

Sly & Robbie | Taxi Fare
Sly & Robbie | Taxi Fare

Black Uhuru | Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
Black Uhuru | Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Lee 'Scratch' Perry | From The Secret Laboratory
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry | From The Secret Laboratory

Amadou & Mariam | Welcome To Mali
Amadou & Mariam | Welcome To Mali

Stevie Wonder | Where I'm Coming From
Stevie Wonder | Where I’m Coming From

The Remains | A Session With The Remains
The Remains | A Session With The Remains

Slade | Slayed?
Slade | Slayed?

Lee Oskar | Before The Rain
Lee Oskar | Before The Rain

Dan Tyminski | Carry Me Across The Mountain
Dan Tyminski | Carry Me Across The Mountain

War | Deliver The Word
War | Deliver The Word

Charlie Rich | The Sun Sessions
Charlie Rich | The Sun Sessions

Lyrics Born | Everywhere At Once
Lyrics Born | Everywhere At Once

Peter Tosh | Equal Rights
Peter Tosh | Equal Rights

Erlend Øye | Unrest
Erlend Øye | Unrest

Rodriquez | Coming From Reality
Rodriguez | Coming From Reality

Gilles Peterson @ Dingwalls
Various Artists | Gilles Peterson & Patrick Forge Present Sunday Afternoon At Dingwalls
[Album cover not pictured]

X | Ain't Love Grand
X | Ain’t Love Grand

Johnny Cash & June Carter | Carryin' On With...
Johnny Cash & June Carter | Carryin’ On With…

Band Of Horses | Cease To Begin
Band Of Horses | Cease To Begin

The Cars | Greatest Hits
The Cars | Greatest Hits

Parliament | Mothership Connection
Parliament | Mothership Connection

Donny Hathaway | Live
Donny Hathaway | Live

Pixies | Surfer Rosa
Pixies | Surfer Rosa

New Order | Substance
New Order | Substance

Brass Construction | Brass Construction IV
Brass Construction | Brass Construction IV

Johnny Griffin | The Little Giant
Johnny Griffin | The Little Giant

Dean Martin
Dean Martin | The Best Of
[Album cover not pictured]

Nirvana | From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah
Nirvana | From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah

The Byrds | Untitled
The Byrds | Untitled

Dr. John | The Sun Moon & Herbs
Dr. John | The Sun Moon & Herbs

A Dozen Modern Albums That Sound Like 1969

10 May 2009

Here are a dozen albums released after 1990 that sound like they could have been released in 1969…

The Stairs | Mexican R 'n' B
The Stairs | Mexican R ‘n’ B

Year it was actually released: 1992

Why it sounds like ’69: Lo-fi, with lots of gratuitous drug references, Mexican R ‘n’ B sounds like it might have been recorded on LSD. The modern corollary to bands like The Remains and The Seeds, The Stairs are now but a musical footnote from the early 90s.

Listen: Weed Bus

The Black Keys | Thickfreakness
The Black Keys | Thickfreakness

Year it was actually released: 2003

Why it sounds like ’69: The Blues reached the apex of its influence on popular music around 1969, and The Black Keys are a band that’s all about the blues. Fuzzed out to the max, Thickfreakness fits right in with the spirit of what some of the freakier bluesniks of that time were up to.

Listen: Have Love Will Travel

M. Ward | Transfiguration Of Vincent
M. Ward | Transfiguration Of Vincent

Year it was actually released: 2003

Why it sounds like ’69: This is no frills, acoustic music that features Matt Ward and his guitar, along with bass, drums and some piano. Ward’s guitar is reminiscent of John Fahey, and he sings like a choir boy channeling Howlin’ Wolf. If this album had been released in 1969 it would currently reside in the top 50 of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All-Time.

Listen: Helicopter

Devendra Banhart | Cripple Crow
Devendra Banhart | Cripple Crow

Year it was actually released: 2005

Why it sounds like ’69: This is some freaky hippie wailing. There is nothing about Devendra Banhart that doesn’t scream 1969.

Listen: Heard Somebody Say

The Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken
The Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken

Year it was actually released: 2001

Why it sounds like ’69: This is raw gut-bucket funk, and Joseph Henry’s occasional vocals are dynamite. If you dropped this one on the turntable, you’d have to convince listeners that it wasn’t released in the late-60s.

Listen: Joseph’s Popcorn

Madeleine Peyroux | Half The Perfect World
Madeleine Peyroux | Half The Perfect World

Year it was actually released: 2006

Why it sounds like ’69: Peyroux sings with the phrasing and feeling of a modern day Billie Holiday, but her sultry, sophisticated style is at home in any era. This woman makes me purr…

Listen: Blue Alert

The White Stripes | The White Stripes
The White Stripes | The White Stripes

Year it was actually released: 1999

Why it sounds like ’69: Like Thickfreakness, the Stripes’ self-titled debut is of a piece with the power-combo blues bands of the era. And seriously, covering both ‘Stop Breaking Down’ and ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ is a late-60s move, not a late-90s move.

Listen: Stop Breaking Down

Black Lips | Good Bad Not Evil
Black Lips | Good Bad Not Evil

Year it was actually released: 2007

Why it sounds like ’69: This is sloppy, Nuggets-ready rock that sounds like it was concocted in a garage and produced by Frank Zappa. [On LP, the last track on side two is grooved backwards, so you have to put the needle at the end of the album to play the song, which spins out towards the edge of the record!] You’ll feel like you’re tripping after listening to an entire album of this stuff…

Listen: It Feels Alright

Dave Alvin | Public Domain: Songs From The Wild Land
Dave Alvin | Public Domain: Songs From The Wild Land

Year it was actually released: 2000

Why it sounds like ’69: Alvin’s take on traditional music – songs of “…honkey tonks, railyards, barnyards, backyards, church choirs and bedrooms” as he put it in his eloquent album liner notes – is kin to the lost-music explorations of groups like The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Listen: What Did The Deep Sea Say?

Raphael Saadiq | The Way I See It
Raphael Saadiq | The Way I See It

Year it was actually released: 2008

Why it sounds like ’69: Saadiq’s neo-Soul was inspired by Motown groups like The Temptations and The Four Tops, and The Way I See It sounds every bit like a vintage, chart-topping Motown release.

Listen: 100 Yard Dash

Erik Truffaz | Out Of A Dream
Eric Truffaz | Out Of A Dream

Year it was actually released: 1997

Why it sounds like ’69: Tapping the same creative vein as Kind Of Blue, Truffaz’ debut sounds more like 1959 than 1969. But well-executed ballads are timeless, and Out Of A Dream would have provided an interesting jazz counterweight to the fusion that Miles Davis was making at the time.

Listen: Down Town

Air | Moon Safari
Air | Moon Safari

Year it was actually released: 1998

Why it sounds like ’69: This album features French electro-pop that was created on vintage synthesizers and keyboards and tips its cap to Burt Bacharach on more than one occasion. Moon Safari wouldn’t have stood a snowball’s chance of gaining popularity in the 60s, and inevitably would have become one of those “great lost albums” that record geeks like me spend so much time tracking down.

Listen: La Femme d’Argent

Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes

Year it was actually released: 2008

Why it sounds like ’69: Fleet Foxes’ pastoral songs are distant relatives of the folk experimentation of artists such as Fairport Convention and The Incredible String Band. This is one of many albums on this list that sounds more like the 60s than the 00s…

Listen: Blue Ridge Mountains

Masterpiece: Nuggets

3 April 2009

[Today: The compilation that helped unleash Punk...]

Various Artists | Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (1965-1968)

Nuggets was the brainchild of rock journalist Lenny Kaye, who dreamed up the set in the early 70’s, at a time when re-issue albums and nostalgic compilations were the domain of labels like K-Tel and Ronco. The original 1972 double album set* dipped into rock’s then-recent past to rescue 27 fuzzed-out, psychedelic singles by the likes of The Electric Prunes, The Shadows Of Knight, The Seeds, and The Remains. These bands were all influenced by the British Invasion, and because their enthusiasm and attitude far outstripped their musical abilities and sales figures, they were left to their own devices by otherwise occupied record labels. Taken individually, these songs are flashes of brilliance from obscure 60’s garage bands – collectively they represent the foundation of Punk rock.

The songs compiled here are living proof that great Rock & Roll doesn’t require great chops, and the number of bands influenced by that revelation is incalculable. But many of them started showing up in the mid-70’s, wearing leather jackets and playing a minimum-chord/no-solo form of primitive rock that came to be known as Punk. Nuggets is bare-knuckles tough, but much of it is also drenched in lysergic acid, and the songs here that don’t overtly reference tripping make up for it by aurally recreating the experience. The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, for example, is a band that shouldn’t be enjoyed while operating heavy machinery.

Amazingly, Nuggets still sounds fresh and vital – a timeless reminder that most bands are just a bunch of kids getting together for the love of music and trying to create something magical. And sometimes they even do…

Listen: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) [The Electric Prunes]

Listen: Pushin’ Too Hard [The Seeds]

Listen: You’re Gonna Miss Me [The Thirteenth Floor Elevators]

Listen: Psychotic Reaction [The Count Five]

*[Rhino released an expanded, 4 disc set in 1998]

*****

Nuggets is the 100th album to be featured as a ‘Masterpiece’ on this blog. Here are the rest, in order of appearance:

1) Led Zeppelin | Physical Graffiti [4/16/07]
2) The Stooges | Fun House [4/18/07]
3) Miles Davis | Kind Of Blue [4/21/07]
4) Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry | Arkology [5/3/07]
5) Van Morrison | Astral Weeks [5/5/07]
6) Pink Floyd | Wish You Were Here [5/14/07]
7) The Byrds | Untitled [5/17/07]
8) Minutemen | Double Nickels On The Dime [6/8/07]
9) Various Artists | Anthology Of American Folk Music [6/24/07]
10) The Flying Burrito Bros | The Gilded Palace Of Sin [7/7/07]
11) Nick Drake | Pink Moon [7/17/07]
12) The Beatles | Abbey Road [7/24/07]
13) Charles Mingus | Mingus Ah Um [8/6/07]
14) Duke Ellington | Ellington At Newport [8/8/07]
15) Hank Mobley | The Turnaround [8/11/07]
16) Elvis Presley | The Sun Sessions [8/16/07]
17) Funkadelic | Maggot Brain [8/21/07]
18) New York Dolls | New York Dolls [8/29/07]
19) Neil Young | After The Goldrush [9/2/07]
20) Marvin Gaye | What’s Going On [9/11/07]
21) AC/DC | Highway To Hell [9/14/07]
22) Johann Sebastian Bach | The Brandenburg Concertos [9/26/07]
23) The Rolling Stones | Some Girls [9/28/07]
24) Various Artists | The Harder They Come [10/7/07]
25) Miles Davis | Bitches Brew [10/12/07]
26) The Beach Boys | Pet Sounds [10/17/07]
27) Jeff Buckley | Grace [10/23/07]
28) Black Flag | Damaged [10/30/07]
29) Curtis Mayfield | Curtis/Live! [11/1/07]
30) Junior Wells | Hoodoo Man Blues [11/10/07]
31) Motorhead | No Remorse [11/13/07]
32) Spinal Tap | Spinal Tap [11/16/07]
33) Led Zeppelin | Led Zeppelin IV [11/24/07]
34) The Velvet Underground | Loaded [11/27/07]
35) Old & In The Way | Old & In The Way [12/1/07] *selected by The P
36) John Lennon | John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band [12/8/07]
37) Talking Heads | Remain In Light [12/11/07]
38) Parliament | Mothership Connection [12/16/07]
39) U2 | Achtung Baby [12/21/07]
40) Oscar Peterson | Night Train [12/24/07]
41) J.J. Johnson | The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, Vol 2 [1/4/08]
42) Otis Redding | Live In Europe [1/9/08]
43) Pearl Jam | Ten [1/13/08]
44) Donald Byrd | Long Green [1/18/08]
45) The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band | Will The Circle Be Unbroken [1/22/08]
46) Sly & The Family Stone | There’s A Riot Goin’ On [1/28/08]
47) The Seeds | The Seeds [2/1/08]
48) The Beatles | Rubber Soul [2/6/08]
49) Marvin Gaye | Let’s Get It On [2/14/08]
50) Jimi Hendrix | Electric Ladyland [2/18/08]
51) Steve Earle | I Feel Alright [2/25/08]
52) Soundgarden | Superunknown [3/4/08]
53) Various Artists | Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory [3/9/08]
54) Culture | Two Sevens Clash [3/16/08]
55) Various Artists | Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack [3/23/08]
56) John Coltrane | A Love Supreme [3/30/08]
57) Fela Kuti | Zombie [4/7/08]
58) Joni Mitchell | Court & Spark [4/17/08]
59) Nirvana | Unplugged In New York [4/27/08]
60) Willie Nelson | Red Headed Stranger [4/30/08]
61) Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Rust Never Sleeps [5/15/08]
62) The Flaming Lips | Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots [5/19/08]
63) Black Sabbath | Master Of Reality [5/27/08]
64) Steely Dan | Greatest Hits 1972-1978 [6/2/08]
65) Beastie Boys | Check Your Head [6/7/08]
66) Cannonball Adderley | Somethin’ Else [6/13/08] *selected by The P
67) The Doors | L.A. Woman [6/18/08]
68) Quicksilver Messenger Service | Happy Trails [6/23/08]
69) INXS | Kick [7/1/08]
70) Buena Vista Social Club | Buena Vista Social Club [7/9/08]
71) The Rolling Stones | Exile On Main St. [7/17/08]
72) The Meters | Funkify Your Life: The Anthology [7/28/08]
73) Art Pepper | Intensity [8/6/08]
74) Van Halen | Van Halen [8/15/08]
75) Tom Waits | Rain Dogs [8/29/08]
76) The Temptations | Psychedelic Shack [9/7/08]
77) Toots & The Maytals | Funky Kingston [9/14/08]
78) Pink Floyd | Dark Side Of The Moon [9/20/08]
79) Johnny Cash | American Recordings [9/25/08]
80) Bob Dylan | Blood On The Tracks [10/6/08]
81) Thelonious Monk | Thelonious Himself [10/10/08]
82) Santana | Abraxas [10/20/08]
83) Joy Division | Closer [10/31/08]
84) Sam Cooke | A Change Is Gonna Come [11/5/08]
85) Judas Priest | British Steel [11/16/08]
86) Andres Segovia | The Segovia Collection [11/24/08]
87) Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker | Mulligan/Baker [12/1/08]
88) Buzzcocks | Singles Going Steady [12/15/08]
89) Smashing Pumpkins | Siamese Dream [12/27/08]
90) Traffic | Traffic [1/7/09]
91) Eric Clapton | 461 Ocean Boulevard [1/14/09]
92) Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five | The Message [1/23/09]
93) John Martyn | Solid Air [1/30/09]
94) The Beatles | The White Album [2/6/09]
95) Radiohead | OK Computer [2/19/09]
96) T. Rex | Electric Warrior [2/26/09]
97) Ryan Adams | Heartbreaker [3/5/09]
98) Cheech & Chong | Cheech & Chong’s Greatest Hit [3/19/09]
99) Bob Marley & The Wailers | Exodus [3/25/09]
100) Various Artists | Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (1965-1968) [4/3/09]

Buried Treasure: The Remains

24 September 2007

[Today: Mid-60's Boston band make one incredible album, break up before it's even released...]

Remains - album

‘They coulda been huge’ is the oldest cliche in the book when it comes to bands, and it’s usually saved to describe and explain bad breaks, bad decisions, and/or bad behavior. But in the case of The Remains, those four words hang over the group’s legacy like a ghost, because all available evidence suggests that these guys SHOULDA been huge. They were doing well enough in 1966 to be chosen as the opening act for a tour with a group of lads from England called The Beatles. But after a mere three weeks on the road supporting the Fab Four, the group split, right before this – their self-titled debut – was to be released.

And what an album it is – the 16 tracks play out as one continuous string of two and a half minute gems. Only a sludgy reading of ‘Lonely Weekends’ (which should highlight the perils of taking on Charlie Rich) keeps this album from attaining pure perfection. Because they were anthologized on the legendary Nuggets compilation, The Remains have been conveniently labeled as a ‘garage’ band, but they were much tighter (and louder) than their more psychedelic breathren. Lead singer Barry Tashian sings like a guy playing tough to hide a heavy case of heartbreak, and the band (including William Henry Briggs III’s stellar keyboards) blast through every song like they’re stuck on fast forward.

Over time, many people (including himself) have questioned Tashian’s decision to end the group when he did. Perhaps The Remains walked away from a chance at stardom – we’ll never know for sure – but they left us with one nearly perfect album that continues to sound better as the years go on.

Listen: Why Do I Cry


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 108 other followers