Saturday, July 28, 2007

Box Sets Suck 3: We Can Fly

Again, not a box set. Again, a psych series (five volumes). But this one is UK/Europe/Middle East stuff. And it's officially available from Past & Present Records. Sorry, I just can't get enough of the stuff lately.

The Best of We Can Fly

1. The Glass Menagerie: "Frederick Jordan"

Title character's married to a lovely white woman. But the child she's carrying belongs to another (one of many hooks: "Someone beat ya to it"). So he goes to get a gun. In the second verse (!), the narrator identifies himself as the best friend of Frederick Jordan who "laid the seed with his wife seven months ago." This pushes Mr. Jordan to more drastic measures: "Get me a stick of dynamite!" (another hook). The monomaniacal organ is much more prominent than the guitar and the drummer kicks some minor ass. I give it an A minus: it's got a freakbeat and you can dance to it.

2. The Peep Show: "Mazy"

This lovely stroll could pass for an outtake from The Velvet Underground & Nico if the drums were Moe-torvating and the singer were more deadpan as opposed to moaning for an extra minute in the bubble bath. But the guitars have that chattering metallic quality down pat while the bass makes little dabs of paint from high on the neck. Is this where Mazzy Star got their name from?

3. The Bunch: "Looking Glass"

I guess this one's about a dude who thinks Alice in Wonderland is his girlfriend and gets miffed when a man with a sports car steals her away (such men win every time, the singer informs us). Judging from the hyper, trebly sound (here's another bass played very high on the neck), the situation is making him nervous.

4. The Neat Change: "I Lied to Auntie May"

Apparently so named because they changed clothes during the middle of their sets. Peter Banks of Yes was in the band but I don't know if he's on this single. One of the Neat Changers looks like Jo Callis of The Human League. The string-laden "I Lied to Auntie May" was co-written by Peter Frampton and does McCartney proud. Great crybaby lyric: "I'm feeling so alone/Just me alone at home/Home all alone." (He lied to Auntie May by telling her he was doing okay.)

5. Sands: "Mrs Gillespie's Refrigerator"

Written by The Brothers Gibb. They took drugs.

6. The QPR Supporters: "Supporters Support Us"

The drums pound out the "Rockin, rock'n'roll radio, Let's go!" beat. Bass and guitar do the same. The voices chant first "Rangers Rangers Queens Park Rangers," then "Rodney Rodney We Want Rodney...Maaaaaaarsh," then "they're the greatest...teeeeeeeeeam." The beat never deviates. This is the closest I ever want to get to learning about English football.

7. Serendipity: "Castles"

The singer here sounds so much like Brian Eno it's uncanny. Someone please advise.

8. Shy Limbs: "Trick or Two"

There's something off-puttingly supper club about this tune probably because the singer overreaches like David Clayton-Thomas or Steve Winwood. But the bass and percussion are high in the mix lending both an odd frontality. And it's faster than the supper club norm (do supper clubs exist anymore?). Note: Greg Lake was in this band.

9. PUGH: "Love Love Love"

Sampled by DJ Shadow in "Mutual Slump." Pugh Rogefeldt was huge in his native Sweden. Sung in Swedish.

10. The Lords: "Don't Mince Matter"

There's every reason to believe that Faust heard this bit of single-mindedness before recording "It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl." But where Faust lock down their single-mindedness unto eternity, these page boys eventually rave up. And the singer deliberately stumbles over his words, pronounces "mince" like "meintz," and sings about Ginger Joe (is this where the Kersal Massive's Ginger Joe got him moniker?). Check out a video here in which nicely-dressed teens try in vain to dance to this proto-Krautrock.

11. The Julian Kirsch: "Clever Little Man"

Opens with the ominous Beethoven's Fifth chords. Ends with a sardonic jazzy bit. In between is three minutes of even more ominous piano hooks and foppy, traded-off vocals. From Brussels and one of the best cuts here.

12. The Tages: "Fuzzy Patterns"

Goddamn, there's a lot of "Waiting For The Man" in these songs. From Sweden. They became a band called Blond.

13. Los Brincos: "Passport"

Fascinating track from a Spanish group about looking at a girl's passport to find her real age. Brincos are now shoes designed specifically to help illegal immigrants into America.

14. Daddy Lindberg: "Wade In The Shade"

Peter Lorre-like vocalist mewls over a bass-and-drum track waiting to be sampled. At the end, the bass becomes very "Father Cannot Yell"-esque. 1:57. Probably a joke.

15. Pesky Gee: "Where Is My Mind"

Heavy fuzz which seems to be continually ending. Great non-intrusive use of horns.

16. Mick Softly & The Summer Suns: "Am I The Red One"

Proto-Matrix psych.

17. Los Canarios: "What can I do for you"

Three songs in one. The first cleans up the opening riff from The Litter's "Action Woman." The second features a mariachi band somewhat at odds with the beat a la Ricardo Villalobos' "Fizheuer Zieheuer" (hmmmm...). The third is a sweeter, harpsichord-infected section with an ensemble singing "Please let me go." Then back to song one.

18. Brut: "My Kind of Feeling"

Love how the Bollywood strings mimic the main guitar riff.

19. Neo Maya: "I Won't Hurt You"

Here's some quiet dementia from Episode Six, Ian Gillan's pre-Deep Purple outfit. I need to hear more from this band (see below) like the b-side to this one ("UFO") which "is just a list of UFO sightings read out over a drum pattern!"

20. Russell Morris: "The Real Thing (Parts 1 & 2)"

"An Australian rock classic," screams Wikipedia. Starts off as an inoffensive folk-rock number but Morris "ohh mow mow mow mow"s it into six minutes of phased-out apocalypso. Nuclear explosion included.

21. The Rokes: "When the wind arises"

Another song that sounds like it's constantly ending. From Italy.

22. The Mint: "Luv"

I have no shame.

23. The Iveys: "And Her Daddy's A Millionaire"

A catchy burner at "Paperback Writer" speed from the band that became Badfinger.

24. Episode Six: "I Can See Through You"

This doesn't really get going until the break when the guitar apes the way silent movie piano players conveyed rising tension. At which point it breaks into an elfin war march and goes out with a recorder-backed madrigal. They took drugs too.

25. Kim Fowley: "Lights"

Fruity vocals that anticipate Fred Schneider. The keybs hook and the beat pounds. Face it - the anti-master wrote some great pop songs.

26. The Loot: "Radio City"

Here mainly because they sing like droning bees.

27. Giorgio: "How Much Longer Must I Wait, Wait"

Probably the best song here and an object lesson on what to do with horns: make 'em riff! That's Giorgio as in Moroder.


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