Cryan Shames- Synthesis

This is NOT the lame bubblegum of "Sugar and Spice", these Chicagoans' biggest hit. This is "Synthesis" their final LP, and most mind blowing. It has its own post "Pet Sounds", "Sgt. Peppers" thing going on. The multiple part songs are all excellent with amazing harmonies. By this, their 3rd record The Shames had 4 solid singers/songwriters in the band, so the material is top of the heap late '60's psych pop rock sounds. Yes, it IS as good as the Beach Boys or, say the Bee Gees or Hollies of the era. In fact, if you took the best songs from "Synthesis" and their previous LP (also excellent, still garage-y) "A Scratch In The Sky" you would have an albums worth of some of the most intelligent rocking beautiful music of the '60's era bar none!! Well, so says I! OK, actually you don't need their "First Train To California" or their take on the Youngbloods "Get Together" but then again Chicago rock of this era was horn-addled rinky-dink shit, so the less-than-perfect batting average here is better than most!! Right, but the lead track is so good you'll freak! Roll a nice one for this. Go Bears.

posted by nick on 1:58 PM

HUNGER!- Strictly From Hunger/The Lost Album

Super tuff, brooding California garage-psych. Sounds ranging from driving bass-propelled r&b blasts, to more dark folky passages. The "Lost Album" is the original mix with blastin' lead guitar from Strawberry Alarm Clock member (and future Lynyrd Skynyrd!?) Ed King. If you like Nuggets garage rock, the Music Machine or the more, uh, "mature" end of the garage rock spectrum (i.e. better playing, exploritory songwriting) than THIS is your jam!!! Moody LA paranoid-pop mop-top bad-trip pre-heavy metal THC blasters!

posted by nick on 1:49 PM

Groundhogs- Best of

The Groundhogs were an English Blues power trio from the early '70's on, who unfortunatly never made much of an impact in the states. Named after John Lee Hooker's tune "Groundhog Blues" leader T.S. Mcphee was backing Hooker during the Detroit bluesman's early '60's UK tours. After a brief foray into psychedelia with a group called Herbal Mixture, Mcphee realized where his strengths lay and put together The Groundhogs. What makes these guys so great is Mcphee's guitar playing. He can play mellow yet totally engaging finger picking or slide meloncholy bliss and then change gears into heavy heavy blooze jams that are not lunkhead. See, Tony was a very intelligent thoughtful player who really got to the heart of the blues and then put his own subtle stamp on it without being crass or ireverant. He also played sans a pick but don't come looking for some uptite Dire Straights trip!!! As the '70's progressed the 'Hogs hit their stride with "Blues Obituary","Thank Christ For The Bomb", "Split" (which has their best known jam "Cherry Red", 4 minutes of pure choppy guitar and a high-pitched vocal chorus that makes me smile), and "Who Will Save The World?" This import best of has many key tracks including all four parts of the side-long suite "Split pts 1-4" (from "Split, natch) which is a musical and vocal description of an apparant nervous breakdown Tony suffered around this time. Some of the best wammy strat damage post Hendrix I've heard! Scary groans and dive bomb audio shrapnel. The Groundhogs are still an institution in the UK where Mcphee still plays out. If you like pure unpretentious emotion and some guitar pyrotechnics, do check this!!!

posted by nick on 1:13 PM

Edgar Broughton Band- "Wasa Wasa"

This album sounds like Captain Beefheart drunk on anti-freeze hollering over the Stooges circa their first album in 1969. No shit! The Edgar Broughton Band were some weird beard freaks from England who used to jam for free outside of big english festivals like their better known counterparts The Deviants, Pink Fairies and Hawkwind. This is their first album, it's a dirty left-wing scuzz wah-wah train wreck that will scare you! You'll be left itching yourself and wondering what strange animal bit you. Weird...

posted by nick on 12:51 PM