Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Astral, Sort of

Tax Free

This is the band Wally Tax put together after the Outsiders. It was probably the best selling thing he ever did, as it had distribution in the states, if not the world.

Clearly, Polydor thought something would come of this. They donated session bassist Richard Davis (from Mingus and Astral Weeks) and John Cale to the sessions. They used Electric Lady right after it opened. All set for greatness to ensue.

It didn't though. This album for me never takes off and flies. Tax was really good at the dark garage psych mood stuff. But he didn't have the most rangy voice. These soft rock arrangements don't play to his strength at all.

The best parts of this album are where they let Richard Davis throw down sub-Astral Weeks bass-led arrangements. That's maybe half the album. The most countryish stuff is really mediocre.

If you haven't heard the Outsiders, start with their two albums. If you've lived with those for a long time, give this a try to see if you like it. I'd love to hear from anyone who does - maybe I'm missing something here.

Going Soon

My account ends in about a week. Going away will be the following: Lori Burton, Rising Sons, Stud Cole, Merry-Go-Round, New Tweedy Bros, Danny ben-Israel, Wm Burroughs, and Attila. Grab them this week, while you can.

Unless anyone knows how to transfer them from one to the other.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Pillows of Cotton For Your Ears

The Smoke

I consider this record, along with the Left Banke and Millenium stuff, to be the absolute peak of the popsike craft. There's just so much here to like - hooks, chipper harmonies, good orchestrations.

Of course, this is namby as hell. Your friends will make fun of you if they catch you listening to it. But piss on them, that pseudo-Ramones fake-Fonzie rockabilly crap that comes out now is shite anyhoo. The Smoke is the real deal.

Not to be confused with the UK Smoke or any of the other Smokes that smoked at the time. This one is the Michael Lloyd version. For those who don't know Michael Lloyd, he's done some bad-ass stuff. Starting with the WCPAEB, through October Country all the way to the Osmonds Plan album (upcoming post, if I can find a decent copy - they're always beat to hell).

Dig the majesty.

Monday, November 27, 2006


You Call That Singing?!?

Patty Waters - College Tour

Patty Waters is a strangely underrated jazz vocalist. When you do hear about her, it's usually in the perjorative context.

I could give two shits about most jazz vocalists - mannered, fake swinging, lounge club crap. The local jazz station runs that stuff 22 hours a day, and I hate it. They should play more Patty Waters.

Patty very rarely sings. Instead, she whispers, she shrieks, she makes noises that sound like Albert Ayler's horn, she makes orgasm noises, etc. There's really nothing else like her. Yoko at her best (and that's frequently, you Beatle fans) hits the scream end, but not the soft stuff.

This won't be for everybody, but if you like outside jazz, this might be a big hit. I'd love to know why she fell out of circulation right after this came out. Anyone?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We're Gonna Tear the House Down

Memphis Goons - Teenage BBQ

The Memphis Goons should by all rights be completely forgotten. They banged out a few songs onto a cassette tape between 70 and 72, probably while still in high school. None of them dented vinyl, let alone the charts. Even if they had been formally recorded and released, songs like "Tootin in America" probably weren't going to cast a long shadow in a world where Cat Stevens was king.

But one of these guys became a real-live rock critic (Robot Hull, Creem Magazine), and somehow these tapes made it to CD. Hell, they probably even sold 50 to 100 of 'em.

What a CD this is! Recorded in a time when extended solos, political concerns and technical brilliance carried the day, none of that is on display here. Instead, this inhabits a place that was pretty empty at the time - a smart guys who like dumb stuff region later to be staked out by the Dictators and the Ramones. Take that Joey and Handsome Dick, these Goons was here first!

Let's just say that these guys haven't seen fire, nor seen rain. Though they might have seen a lot of monster movies and Three Stooges shorts. These tracks are the audio equivalent of an Ed Wood movie - longer on ideas than technique. In fact, several of them barely hold together at all. This can make it hard to listen to more than a few tracks at once, but do give it a chance.

According to legend, there are 50 or more hours of tapes of songs that these guys wrote. This is almost certainly bullshit. But still, there had been rumor a few years ago about a box set in the works. I'll bet it would be a gas.

I've never seen this stocked in a store, but there do seem to be a few copies around for order on the net. Do order one - if they sell a lot of them, maybe there'll be more.

Re-up series continues

Perry Leopold - Christian Lucifer:

Little Stevie Wright:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Border Town Psych

Sir Douglas Quintet - Honkey Blues

This is the first record by Sir Doug and the boys after relocating out to the west coast (I think). For my money, it's the best thing that they ever did. And that's saying something, because I'm a big fan.

This record hits a ton of different styles, but never feels like it is showing off. The country, Tex-Mex, free jazz, and psych touches all fall into a pleasant laid-back mix. Unlike a lot of the things we put up for grabs over here at PLO, this isn't a hard record to listen to, at all.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Requiem For the Rockets

The Rockets

The self-titled record by the Rockets is remembered, if at all, as the launching pad for Crazy Horse. Fair enough, in the sense that Billy, Ralphy, and Danny were all in the band. But this record is better than you might think.

It is kind of unique for the time. It has a laid-back country feel, but not too country. It goes off into psychedelic modal stuff, but keeps song structure. It gets kinda bluesy, but not annoyingly so.

The closest thing to this I've heard is another band who became a big deal in the early 70's - that Hour Glass project with the Allmans in it. Both seem to have a foot in the 60's underground and one in the early 70's mega-rock. Both are much better than their reputation, I think.

The secret weapon on this one is the violin playing. It gives the album a cool added dimension. Another unexpected thing is the busy bass playing - by the time he got to Crazy Horse, Billy simplified it a ton.

Make sure you hear Pill's Blues before you make a decision on this one. It's really cool.

Filthy Sacrilege

Sun City Girls - The Handsome Stranger

This is a bit of a diversion from the usual SCG record. Much of it is made up of spoken word narrations by the drummer, who sounds like a real-life version of that character that Tom Waits always plays. These narrations are absolutely filthy, describing a love affair between John Wilkes Booth and John Kennedy.

If you are new to the SCG cannon, they are one of the most interesting and varied bands in America. They cover a lot of different Western and non-Western styles without seeming contrived or dull. They also incorporate punky attitude and a surreal sense of humor without seeming like a goof. This is a good place to get started with them, really.

If any of you jokers has Horse Cock Phephner, can you post it? I've been in search of that one.

Re-up: Armand Schaubroeck - A Lot of People Would Like to See AS Dead

This lp is utter genius. Vinyl rip, CD's don't exist.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Utterly Average Folk-Rock!

Paul Martin

This self-titled vinyl only release compiles both sides of Martin's two singles, and about 15 late 60's demo recordings. All the Paul Martin you'll ever need in one place.

Paul was a folk-rock singer straight from central casting. Long hair, acoustic guitar strapped on his back, Beatle boots, the whole shtick. Vanguard had a half-dozen just like him at the time.

What makes this one interesting nearly 40 years hence is the arrangements on these songs. His demos are tricked out with little 4-track mini-symphonies. They remind me most of all of Lou Christie records from the same period - hyperactive, heavy on detail, the Bronx woman background singers. Another good comparison would be the Jeff Monn record from about the same time, as they share a nice garagey edge.

Where this stumbles is in the song writing. Look at those song titles. Without Your Love. The Last Remains of Our Love. How Many Tears Must I Cry. Someone get this kid a Dylan rekkid!

I'll give this one a 9 on the obscurity meter and a 5 on quality. For fans of the genre only.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Re-up series - Keep those requests coming

I'll try to get to a few new ones over the weekend. Here's a couple more re-runs by request. I'm almost to the end of the list.

Viv Stanshall -
Perry Leopold -

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No Post Today

Rapidshare problems again. Apparently, the servers won't accept Viv Stanshall for who he was. I'll get back to work when I figure it out, or else move back to another provider.

If you are a regular PLO reader, give me a shout out, will ya? Tell me what downloads you've enjoyed (or not), and where you are writing from. I've got a sense that some of you aren't English speakers, but I'm not at all clear how far the message spreads. The fun of sharing is in the discussion, so keep it moving.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Re-up series: Howlin Wolf

Ad Jingle Pop

The Hellers - Singers, Talkers, Players, Swingers, and Doers

This is some seriously whacked shit. In 1968 or so, a California ad exec figured he should put out an album as a calling card for his business. So he pulled out all the weird tricks he could.

How weird? Consider that this is a mix of sunshine pop, audio verite, early synth, tape effects, and corny humor. Consider that it is a really psychedelic record made by the squarest people imaginable.

The synths are courtesy of Bob Moog, a guy who some of you may have heard of. One of the voices in the chorus is McLean Stevenson, about to become famous as the colonel on MASH and the dad on Hello, Larry.

This is a subtle sort of weird, one whose conceptual wrongness will creep up on you on multiple listens. I wouldn't doubt for a second that there is some subliminal programming in here that makes us susceptible to other Heller Company clients. So be careful with this one.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Re-up: Vinnie Bell - Pop Goes the Sitar

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Re-up Series: Debris - Static Disposal

By request. Please leave re-up requests in comments on new posts. I haven't been following comments on posts more than a month old, so I've probably missed 'em, if you wrote 'em. Keep the re-up requests coming.

If you missed it the first time around, this is a proto-punk / electronic mash-up. Sort of in the neighborhood of Chrome or Pere Ubu, if you need a reference point. A Nurse With Wound favorite.


More of the Same

Heldon V - Un Reve Sans Consequence

This is the last of the Heldon records I've got for posting. It's a vinyl rip from the original release. This album is very similar to Heldon VI. AMG and some other sources I've looked at call this the best Heldon record. I disagree - I like the first three the best, because they are not as tied down by the fusion drumming. Still, this is a kick-ass record, and you should download it if you like 70's space rock at all.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Welcome Back, Shimmy-Disc

Fred Lane - Car Radio Jerome

Seeing a new Shimmy-Disc release (now called Second Shimmy) reminded me that someone had requested this a month or so ago. Sorry to forget about it in the whole site shakeup. Here it is.

At one point in time, a new Shimmy-Disc was cause for celebration. At a time when the rest of the world was cranking out shit at the rate of the Fat Bastard with Ulcerative Colitis, SD was actually making some neat stuff for a few years at the end of the 1980's.

Or so I thought at the time. Frankly, a lot of their releases sound awfully thin and crappy in retrospect. I just tried to listen to 20 minutes of Double Bummer a couple weeks ago, and couldn't do it. I think some of the more obscure stuff would send me reaching for the stop button in seconds.

This one, though, does hold up. I think it is partly because it suffers the least from the thin early digital production values and solid-state guitar tones that bust a lot of the other releases. Also, though, this shit is so out there that it still sounds pretty outside to modern ears.

I hadn't listened to this more than a couple times since the dawn of the '90's, yet still these songs play in my head if I let them. White Woman, Car Radio Jerome, Hittite Hot-Shot - I'll be likely to burst into song with at least one of these per week for the rest of my life.

If you tried the other Fred Lane last month, this is the (slightly) more accessible version. The pop song Reverend. If the guy who has the Ron Pate / Fred Lane one reads this: yes, PLEASE post it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

By Request

Michael Yonkers - Microminiature Love

This was an album and change recorded in 1968 for a potential record deal. Stuff this obscure doesn't land a record deal, even in the bizarro world of the late '60's. Especially if you are from Minnesota.

SubPop put this one out about four years ago, only to see most of the copies turn up remaindered. Oh well. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Time didn't really catch up to this one.

There are a couple things to like here. The homebuilt electronics are kinda neat, and some of the songs get a sort of Pere Ubu-ish weirdness. But the lack of melody and hook, along with weak vocals combine to leave this a back-bencher.

I'd love to hear dissenting opinions on this one. A lot of people seemed to like this, and I feel like I'm missing the boat here.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Makers of Smooth Music

Bergen White - For Women Only

I love this damn record. If you go for grown-up and well arranged pop records, you might too.

Bergen White was a Nashville arranger who got himself a solo deal in about '69 or so. But this ain't no country joint. It's more soft psych pop. Think Bread, but with a little more punch.

That doesn't sound good to you? How about this - it has what was probably the first ever Townes Van Zandt cover. That's class.

Re-up series

Taist of Iron (kick-ass basement metal from 1980's):

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Exploiting the Insane Is Not Very Nice

An Evening With Wild Man Fischer

Frank Zappa was behind this exploitative slab of double vinyl. He became aware of WMF through his busking and bizarre behavior in Hollywood, and signed him to his new Bizarre label as a flagship act. In a blatant "fuck you" to the hand that fed him, he made a double-album debut with only two actual songs on it, the rest being an audio verite look at the life of a schizophrenic street person c.1968.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. One is as a social statement. Given that Frank was also releasing stuff by Lenny Bruce and Lord Buckley on the label, I'm guessing that this was his intent. And as a social statement, letting the thing unfold unscripted makes a lot of sense. In this positive sense, it is a true documentary of mental illness up there with One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest or The Bell Jar.

The other way to look at this is as pure exploitation of a delusional individual. By turning Larry into Wild Man Fischer, Famous Recording Artist, Frank and his team almost certainly exacerbated his delusional behaviors. I think a lot of this happens in the music industry, and in arts in general. It's not very nice.

I got to thinking about this while watching the documentary about Daniel Johnston, a newer and more talented WMF. Like Larry, Daniel is clearly schizophrenic. And also like Larry, his life went a bit off the rails when people tried to make him an outsider star.

I didn't have the energy to type in 35 track names. If you care about that stuff, you'll find them here:

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Feel the Flange

George Brigman - Jungle Rot

George was a Baltimore kid, a long-haired doper hard rockin no-hoper. But he had two things going for him.

First, he had an undying love for the Groundhogs. If you like the 'hogs, you'll probably like this, too. His songwriting and guitar chops don't measure up to T.S. and the rest of the boys, but Brigman really means it, so for me they are about a draw.

Second, George had a flanger pedal. A properly deployed flanger is like an audio quaalude, taking the rough edges off of any sound. This is about as numbed out as any record you've heard. The sound of this album makes a perfect fit with the cover picture of a burned out urban wasteland.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Re-up Series Continues

Check back later today, I'll probably add one or two more. Keep the requests coming.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Re-upload series

David Ackles - Five and Dime:

French for Gong

Ame Son - Catalyse

This is an album I've seen compared to Gong in a few places. True, it came out on the BYG label, and I think Daevid Allen may have been involved at some level. But it really doesn't sound too much like Gong to me.

A better comparison might be Magma. Or maybe an early fusion record minus the flashy chops. The drumming here is very free jazz, but the flute kills it in places, and the vocals do too.

I'll give this one a solid B, a B+ if I'm in a good mood. Uploaded by request. NWW approved.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Synth Rock Dorks, Unite

Heldon - Interface

By now, frequent visitors have heard me rant about Heldon from time to time. They were a French synth band that I think were every bit the equal of Kraftwerk, Neu, or Cluster. Pretty high praise coming from PLO.

This isn't my favorite Heldon record (II is), but it's right up there. By the late-70's, they had gone to a pretty heavy prog drum sound. It is kind of strange to hear a live and excessive drummer pounding down behind the space rock of the day, but it makes this kind of unique. The way the electronics and guitar mix in this one really drive it home, though.

And like that, my Rapidshare account magically reappeared. Ours is not to question why, just to revel in the fact that at least a dozen of my old links are safe. I'd write some sort of "PLO rising from the dead" comment, but I'd probably end up getting snagged by the man over it, especially so close to election day.


Please leave a comment if there is something you want that has disappeared from Rapidshare. I'll try to start reupping them. Frequent guests and other bloggers go to the top of the list.

Stick It To the Man!


Selda was a Turkish rock singer. The only female one I've ever heard. This is her first full-length album.

This is one of my favorites from that country. It's got it all - searing fuzz leads, sing-songy lyrics, primitive synths, chugging rhythms. If you dig any of the other Turkish stuff, give this a try.

I understand that Selda was a very controversial figure, and that some of these songs tweak the man. I've read other people compare her to Joan Baez, but Joannie never kicked it like this.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Back For More!!!

Tonto's Expanding Head Band - Zero Time

This is the record I was trying to upload the last time I tried to get Rapidshare to re-up my account. I was so sad about losing all those links, all that time, etc, that I shut the doors for a bit to recharge my batteries. Now I'm back.

I heard this one on the stereo at the used record store a month or so ago, and remembered how cool it was. These guys were the synth programmers who helped Stevie Wonder with his early-70's records, and later worked with Gil Scott-Heron on some of his best stuff.

This one has a bit of that relaxed burpy funk feel, along with some of the spacy drift that you might predict from the cover. It is kind of unique, then, among electronic records of the time.

This is my first shot at this Quicksharing site. Please give feedback if you like or dislike the performance.

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