Friday, 18 May 2018

Heavy Chills - Selftitled (Retro Hardrock US 2017, Sounds Like US 1969)

Size: 90.3 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Some Artwork Included

No information about this band, sorry. The Band Released this album in 2017 but sounds like a US Hardrock from 1969. I think you will like it. I bought at "Bandcamp" Link:  

Nick McKillip - Guitar/Vocals 
 Mikey Carrillo - Bass 
 Scott Perrine - Drums

01. Heavy Chills 05:05
02. The Likes of You 04:23
03. Scarlet Night 03:45
04. Moon 03:11
05. On The Run 06:47
06. Lay It Down 06:06
07. The Devil's Answer 04:04


Thursday, 17 May 2018

Agitation Free - Malesch (1st Album German Progressive Rock 1972) & Agitation Free - 2nd (German Progressive Rock 1973)

Size: 116 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

Having generated a cult following for years, since the late 60s, it was surprising that this relevant krautrock act had taken so long before they recorded and released their debut album; but again, better late than never. Agitation Free created an excellent first album, full of ethnic vibrations and exotic magic, which appears perfectly combined with the hard rocking guitar riffing and electric keyboard psychedelic effects, mandatory elements in the kraut context. Before the band achieved their first recording contract, they took a trip to Morocco, something that they seemed particularly interested in documenting and manifesting all throughout the repertoire. 

By then Agitation Free had a distinct sound based on the musicians' finesse, which would always show above the wall of psychedelic, blues-tinged noise that stands as a signature pattern of krautrock: their rocking jams always bore a certain magical aura, that made their music ethereal, besides, of course, energetic and trippy. It is not dueling as much as complementing what both guitarists (Ulbrich and Schwenke) recurrently do, while the organ parts create an ethereal wall of sound, confidently flowing in the background; the rhythm section uses lots of exotic cadences (plus the use of marimba) in order to keep on par with the ethnic stuff and, simultaneously, to found a solid pace for the other musicians' jamming. Bassist Gunther is a very skillful in his role (arguably, the most gifted musician in this combo), displaying some intricate, powerful lines that, at times, assume a prominent role in the mix - for example, 'Sahara City'. 

The opening track 'You Play for us Today' sounds really intense without getting overtly aggressive: 'Khan El Khalili' and the namesake track are the most energetic numbers in the album, but let's keep in mind that these guys' main musical concern is to lay out ethereal ambiences and sonic layers, instead of merely creating defying, explosive sonic electric storms (something that Ash Ra Temple or Guru Guru do happily and unabashedly). 

'Pulse' is an amazing jam that sees AF absorbing influences from their fellow countrymen Can and Tangerine Dream, while 'Ala Tull' displays lots of percussive stuff on the frontline. 'Rucksturz' is the shortest track: it closes the album with a recognizable line, something like a tender epilogue. A great album this is, indeed: "Melesch" is one of the definitive cornerstones of kraut. []

01. You Play For Us Today (6:08) 
02. Sahara City (7:42) 
03. Ala Tul (4:50) 
04. Pulse (4:43) 
05. Khan El Khalili (8:10) 
06. Malesch (8:10) 
07. Rücksturz (2:09)

08. Music Factory (15.14) 

Agitation Free - 2nd (German Progressive Rock 1973)

Size: 106 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

In some ways, Second is the logical successor to Malesh with its twin guitar "attack"; these two (Schwenke is replaced by Dietz following drugs problems) are so mellow that it seems a shame to call them an attack. But the name "attack" is now apt for the drumming since the group enlisted a second drummer (ex-ART Burmeister), thus giving an exacting edge that only the Allman Bros Band had before. Losing the second drummer just prior to recording their aptly-titled Second, AF retained all of the inertia and the album has a fantastic ABB fluidness wherever necessary. Graced with a drought, than rain season artwork, this second album lost all ethnic touches of Malesh, one passage excepted, proof that their debut's rep was indeed overdone. 

Starting on the First Communications, you can hear the Floydian cosmic/psych influences of Malesh will also be relatively absent as well. Dialogue & Random is an electronic free jazz improve leading into the two-part Leila, which is strongly reminiscent of the ABB's Elizabeth Reed and fades into Silence Of The Morning sunrise with electronic birds chirping along to tranquil electric guitars gliding along the organ mist layers. Superb music. The birds lead you to a slow Quiet Walk into a cosmic dark hole (Tangerine Dream's Zeit is not far away here) if it wasn't for an electric Indian-laced guitar (the only real ethnic moment of this album), before stretching itself out maybe a tad too long. The closing Haunted Island is the only sung track of the album, filtered, almost recitative over a superb mellotron, and once over, the two guitars take over and soar in the sky for a grandiose finale.

Although AF's second album holds some fairly different influences, trading in the Arabian and cosmic /psych Floyd ambiance, for a more pastoral west coast sound, both albums can be regarded as AF's crowning achievements, although neither reaches perfection.

Well, the second Agitation Free album is different to the first one. The Ethno influences are completely gone as well as the oriental impact. But with everything gone wich made the first album what it is, the second one doesn't weaken, far from it, I consider "2nd" to be even better than "Malesch". Yes it's not as playful but still isn't a slight fare. What makes this album so great is the symbiosis of Hoenig's electrical gadgetry and Keyboard playing (It might be helpful to mention that Hoenig later on gets a member of Tangerine Dream) and the guitar playing by the very talented and often underrated Lutz Ulbrich and Stefan Dietz. The guitar work mainly consists of long and beautiful improvisations wich either alternate or collude with Hoenig's Keyboard and Synth sounds.

"First Communication" is one of the best songs of this album. Here you can impressively experience what I meant with long guitar improvisations. It's Krautrock at it's best and IMO one of the best songs of this genre. In "Dialogue And Random" you get to hear some of Hoenig's nice gimmicks and electrical sounds, very typical for german prog music BTW. The both "Laila" parts feature nice guitar solos and improvisations paired with nice and atmospherical Keyboard and Organ sounds in the background. I think "In the silence of the morning sunrise" again features some really great guitar sounds as well as a talented Hoenig on keyboards. 

The whole tune is introduced by some nice electric sounds wich create the perfect atmosphere concerning the title of the song. Chirping crickets and twittering birds wich also linger throughout the whole song. "A quiet walk" is maybe the prime example for the perfect symbiosis of Hoenig and the guitar players. The first half of the song belongs to the electrical improvisations reminicent of Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze untill after some minutes the guitar and bazouki appear, first very muted and slowly, after a final bulky organ chord take over, terrific. "Haunted Island" is quite queer and features vocals, more recitative than singing. Very dark, I like it. And again, you get some fine guitar work here.

"2nd" by Agitation Free is, at least for me, one of the best Krautrock recordings. The guitar improvisations sound amazing and the symbiosis with the talented Hoenig really put you over the edge. This album is worth every penny and features no single bad song. If there's a Krautrock recoring I would recommend without concern this would be the one. It's an album with the possibility to get you into Krautrock, to discover the wolrd of germany's music from the seventies. It's highly recommended.

01. First Communication (8:10)
02. Dialogue And Random (1:51)
03. Layla, Part 1 (1:41)
04. Layla, Part 2 (6:47)
05. In The Silence Of The Morning Sunrise (6:33)
06. A Quiet Walk (9:15)
a) Listening
b) Two-not Of The Same Kind
07. Haunted Island (7:11)

08. Laila '74 (7.41)

Shibuya Nights (Live in Tokyo 2007) (Bonus)

01. You Play for Us Today [Live 2007] - 06.12
02. Malesch [Live 2007] - 05.42
03. Rucksturz [Live 2007] - 02.57
04. First Communication [Live 2007] - 06.25
05. In the Silence of the Morning Sunrise [Live 2007] - 06.22
06. Laila [Live 2007] - 07.37
07. Shibuya Nights [Live 2007] - 06.15
08. Ala Tul [Live 2007] - 06.15

In 1967 two beat groups from Berlin were on the verge of splitting up. The leading forces behind these groups were Lutz 'Luul' Ulbrich and Michael 'Fame' Gunther. They decided to join forces, and with some other remaining musicians they took the name Agitation Free. Agitation Free were probably the first German group to use slide projectors and a multi-media show during their live appearances. For this reason they were engaged as the household band at the Zodiac, Berlin's answer to London's U.F.O., where the psychedelic underground was literally flowering. Such later famous groups as Tangerine Dream and Curly Curve (well, not so very famous in this case...) also appeared at the Zodiac regularly. In early 1968 Agitation Flee were expanded by John L. on lead vocals. Not exactly a gifted vocalist, he sometimes entertained the audience by walking around naked with a painted penis on stage! He was fired about a year later, apparently the rest of the group had grown tired of this particular (peculiar) Stage Show. His voice was luckily preserved for later generations when he "sang" on Ash Ra Tempel's brilliant Schwingungen album in 1972.

1970 was a very erratic year for Agitation Free. Lutz Kramer quit, and was temporary replaced by Ax Genrich, soon to be a member of Guru Guru. Agitation Free shared a practice room at the Wilmersdorf music academy with Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream at (his time, and many experiences and ideas were swapped. There was also quite an exchange of members between these groups. Agitation Free's instructor was Thomas Kessler, a German avant-garde composer. He taught them to play with notations, composition and harmony learning. When Genrich joined Guru Guru, he was replaced with Jorg Schwenke. Chris Franke then accepted Edgar Froese's offer to be the new drummer in Tangerine Dream after Klaus Schulze quit. Gerd Klemke stepped in as Agitation Free's drummer for some months of the last half of 1970. Finally a quintet was stabilised in 1971. At the beginning of 1972 the group went on an expanded tour to Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Greece, sponsored by The Goethe Institute. Michael Gunther recorded local musicians they met and jammed with on the tour. Extracts of these recordings were included on Malesch (released Summer 1972), which collected the impressions from their eastern travels. This excellent album revealed a very talented and competent young group, and it was dedicated to their teacher Kessler. "You Play For Us Today" opened with a short dialogue, before a deep, majestic organ tone created a trance-like mood. Gunther came in with a great, steady bass riff, flavoured with eastern rhythms (Uli Popp guested here on bongos). "Sahara City" started with a long and floating guitar glissando, but had a fast, heavy finale. "Ala Tul" and some other tracks featured the leader of Between, Peter Michael Hamel, on hammond organ. "Pulse" was an early experiment with electronic sequencing. "Khan El Khalai", "Malesch" and the short 'Ruckzuck" gave plenty of time for Schwenke and Ulbrich to show off on guitar. An immaculate record!

In March 1973 Jorg Schwenke had to quit due to his increasing drug habits. His replacement was Stefan Diez. A second drummer was also added to the line-up: Dietmar Burmeister who had recorded on Seven Up with Ash Ra Tempel. A 90 minutes long production for radio, consisting of edited live performances (made during a ten days live session in a house in the German countryside) was broadcasted in April 1973. The six-piece group went on a very successful two months tour in France. Recordings for radio were also taped during this tour. Parts of these finally made it to vinyl on Last three years later, namely "Soundpool" (renamed version of "Ruckzuck" from Malesch) and a 17 minute long version of "Laila" (a composition included on their forthcoming second album).

With Diez, but without Burmeister, the band went in the studio to record 2nd in July 1973. This time music was more subdued and meditative in a sophisticated way. The eastern flavour was not so distinctive this time, but the musical quality was certainly intact! "First Communication'' started the album off with white noise, wind and a distant bouzouki played by Ulbrich. A harmonic melody line on guitar slides slowly in and builds up a really great track, almost predating some of Fichelscher's guitar work with Popol Vuh. "Dialogue And Random" was a short synthesizer experiment by Honig, not bearing any resemblance to his solo albums. The tuneful two part "Laila" finished side one. Electronic bird sounds on "In The Silence Of The Morning Sunrise" opened the other side. The track built up to fragile, jazzy rock almost in the melodious Terje Rypdal vein. "A Quiet Walk" included more atmospheric, electronically created environment sounds, before bouzouki and treated guitar introduced melody lines. "Haunted Island" finished the album in a dramatic vein with a heavy rhythm, mellotrons and Burghard Rausch's treated recitation of an Edgar Allan Poe poem.

Shortly after 2nd, Diez quit and the band's activities now decreased. For a last tour of France In January 1974 Gustav Lutjens was engaged as Agitation Free's new second guitarist. Their last studio work was a recording of a Erhard Grosskopf composition ("Looping IV") in February 1974. This would fill up the second side of the Last album, which was only released in France posthumously in 1976. It was a nice testament to a superb band. They performed a few concerts during the Summer of 1974 and then disbanded after a final goodbye concert in Berlin, November 1974.

Lutz Ulbrich teamed up with Manuel Gottsching in 1976 for several Ashra-projects. He has also made scene music for some theatres in Berlin. Michael Honig, as Franke had done five years before him joined Tangerine Dream, but was with them for just two months (including a tour in Australia) in the Spring of 1975. Before that he had a short collaboration with Klaus Schulze (doing concerts in Brussels, Zevenaar and Paris in November and December 1974). It was also planned that Honig should join Ashra for a tour in November 1976, but this didn't happen.

Agitation Free was one of the best groups to appear in Germany in the early seventies, and their albums are obligatory in any German rock collection!

Part 1: Agitation Free
Part 2: Agitation Free
Part 3: Agitation Free
Part 1: Agitation Free
Part 2: Agitation Free
Part 3: Agitation Free
Part 1: Agitation Free
Part 2: Agitation Free
Part 3: Agitation Free

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Gold - Oregins S.F. 1970 (Great Heavyrock US 1970)

Size: 149 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Gold, Oregins S.F. 1970 (World in Sound). With nine songs recorded in the studio at Golden State Recorders in San Francisco in 1969 and 1970, plus eight songs (in decent if imperfect fidelity) from a live show at the Fillmore West on March 3, 1970, this is a generous document -- lasting 78 minutes in all -- of a San Francisco band that only got to release one obscure single, never putting out an LP. 

(Both sides of that single, "No Parking"/"Summertime" -- the latter produced by Country Joe McDonald, who also plays clavichord on the track -- are here, though the notes don't make it clear if these were the same recordings used on the 45.) 

It's a decent slab of period late-'60s San Francisco rock, though Gold were neither top-tier when judged against the many similar bands from the time and region, nor possessed of a fully formed musical identity. Certainly you can hear bits and pieces of other major Bay Area acts -- "High on Love" and "When I Saw You" have the spacey languor of Quicksilver Messenger Service at their most folk-rocking wistful, and "Conquistadores" is very much in the spirit of Santana's first album (in fact both bands had "Fried Neck Bones," heard on the live portion of this CD, in their repertoire). 

Other tracks have a more macho, bluesy hard rock approach, and while eclecticism was a trademark of numerous San Francisco psychedelic acts, Gold were missing that something that might have elevated them to a notable rank. 

Despite their derivative nature, however, "When I Saw You," "High on Love," and "Colores" are all enjoyable songs for those who like the distinctively bittersweet sound of much gentler SF psychedelia. 

Other tracks indicate they could have done well with a Santana-esque fusion of rock, blues, and Latin rhythms had they wanted to go further down that route. The scattershot liner notes don't give you much of a coherent history of the band's life and times, however. 

The band were managed by Ron Cabral along with his brother Dennis from 1968 to 1973. They broke up after playing San Francisco shows at both the Fillmore and Winterland with groups such as: Big Brother and the Holding Company, Hot Tuna, Ten Years After, Malo, and Mike Bloomfield. They also recorded and appeared with Country Joe McDonald.  

01. No parking
02. High on love
03. Righteous road
04. Conquistadores
05. Heavy
06. When I saw you
07. PSB
08. Filet of soul
09. Summertime
10. When I saw you (live)
11. Filet of soul (live)
12. Colores (live)
13. PSB (live)
14. Conquistadores (live)
15. No parking (live)
16. Fried neck bones (live)
17. Heavy (live) 

1. Gold
2. Gold
3. Gold

Susan Christie - Paint a Lady (Very Rare UK Folkrock 1969)

Size: 60.4 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

How rare can a rare record be? - medium rare? uncooked? how about unreleased? 

Susan Christie was a Philly based sophomore folk singer who had one novelty hit for a major label and never quite recovered - Afterwards, her psychedelic take on country standards and hand crafted tales of inner-city solitude backed by a break heavy folk-funk rhythm section was never accepted as a commercial viabilty by record company big-wigs - They obviously couldnt quite muster their nostradamus sensibilities to forsee what future hiphop producers and DJ's would be feeding into digital music-machines 30 years down the line! 

Luckily three -fifths of a handful (literally three!) privately pressed vanity copies were manufactured in early 1970 one of which became the source material for Finders Keepers 6th LP in their expanding library of obscure, obtuse, obsolete and obsessive vintage music from the 60's and 70's. Uber legend John Hill who penned the acid-rock floor-filler 'LOVE,LOVE,LOVE,LOVE,LOVE,' for 'Wool' and 'Pacific Gas And Electric' produced the LP which featues 9 tracks including a Johnny Cash cover and a 12 minute 'drugsploitation' epic called 'Yesterday - Where's My Mind' featuring Susan flipping vocal styles between Janis Joplin and Margo Guryan (...who was in fact a close friend of Susans at the time of recording).

30 years ago, a Philly based folk singer named Susan Christie was dropped by her record company. After one novelty song, the label bosses didn’t think her melancholy take on country and solitude would ever be of any interest. Five copies of her album were pressed and faded into obscurity. Skip forward to present time, and a small label, ‘Finders Keepers’ salvages three out of these five copies and decides to release it.

Susan Christie’s album is a beautiful piece of despondent tales and folky psychedelia. The fascinating thing is that it sounds very current. The title track is reminiscent of Portishead , while other songs incorporate break heavy folk-funk, current DJ’s would die for.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an obscure 70’s folk record at its heart, but highly worth listening to today.

01. Rainy Day 
02. Paint A Lady 
03. For The Love Of A Soldier
04. Ghost Riders In The Sky 
05. Yesterday, Where's My Mind? 
06. Echo In Your Mind 
07. When Love Comes 
08. No One Can Hear You Cry

1. Susan Christie
2. Susan Christie
3. Susan Christie

Asomvel - Knuckle Duster (Motörhead Alike-Rock’n’Roll UK 2013)

Size: 92.1
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Astonishingly, the fiery rampage of ASOMVEL’s metal-punk-rock’n’roll masterpiece Knuckle Duster marks 20 years since these British bruisers first started jamming on a pig farm with a load of Special Brew. Formed in 1993 by guitarist Lenny Robinson and bassist/vocalist Jay-Jay Winter, ASOMVEL’s first drummer was ex-Cathedral/Acid Reign man Mark Wharton, but “about ten” more came and went before the band recorded their first demo in 2001. 

After 2007’s Full Moon Dog 10″ the power trio managed to thrash out their raucous debut LP Kamikaze in 2009 to much acclaim, ASOMVEL firmly establishing themselves as underdog cult heroes of the UK HM underground. Barely a year later, however, the band was shaken to its core when Jay-Jay Winter was killed in a road accident. 

Although a devastating tragedy, Lenny knew that the band had to continue in tribute to the determined spirit of their founding frontman: “ASOMVEL could’ve died with him, but I was never gonna let that happen,” affirms the axeman. However, the initial post-Jay-Jay line-up was short-lived. “I had to stop the band until I could find somebody like Jay-Jay,” explains Lenny, “cos he’s still a part of this band, he never left. Whoever is in this band needs to know they have to do it the way he wanted it doing. Conan came along and he was perfect, plus he always admired Jay-Jay’s attitude.” 

With ex-Deathwing bassist/vocalist Conan onboard, ASOMVEL headlined their own inaugural Full Moon Dog Festival in Bradford in 2011 in honour of their fallen comrade, and have shared the stage with the likes of Carcass, Anvil and Orange Goblin. Asked how the band has changed with the new line-up, Lenny is unequivocal: “The band hasn’t changed from the day we started it,” he asserts. “It’s something we both believed in strongly; never change…ever! It’s the downfall of a lotta bands, they think they have to grow musically for some reason, but they just end up out-clevering themselves.” 

When Will Palmer started up Bad Omen Records in 2013, his formative ambition was to coax a new album out of ASOMVEL, sending them into the studio with producer James ‘Atko’ Atkinson (also frontman of Leeds rockers Gentleman’s Pistols). 

“We wrote all the stuff really quick, off the cuff,” says Lenny. “All the songs came together very easy, we didn’t have to force anything. I would say it took no longer than 10 minutes a piece to get the basic songs. We didn’t try to jazz ‘em up, we purposely kept them very basic, cos we like simplicity and we like it in the groove.” 

Consequently, Knuckle Duster is a focused and fat-free expression of pissed off, Tanked-up, Venomous Motörized fury, but Atko wraps it up in a first class ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ production job, lending raw and dirty headbangers like Dead Set On Livin’, Cash Whore (featuring some of Jay-Jay’s last lyrics) and Shoot Ya Down a vital, resounding sonic heft, while powerhouse drummer Jason Hope pushes every song to the next level: “We really had to step it up, ‘cos he’s on it all the time,” Lenny enthuses. “There’s no way we could’ve even dreamt of doing this album if we didn’t have Jason, he plays like a demon on this record.” 

The band are featured on the forthcoming DVD Madder Than A Full Moon Dog (a souvenir of their 2012 Full Moon Dog Festival), and have been approached to write the music for a horror film starring Dee Snider, The Calicoon, but right now Knuckle Duster is their priority. 

“The album is really an answer to the scumbags who try to fuck your life up for no good reason,” snarls the guitarist. “We were angry when we wrote Knuckle Duster, we’ve always been angry and it’s a better album for it. All in all, I think it’s a very positive album, with songs to live your life by.” 

Firestorm coming closer…. stick your fingers in your ears. Now! 

01. Dead Set On Livin' 02:30
02. Cash Whore 03:09
03. Sheep In Wolf's Clothing 03:33
04. Trash Talker 04:11
05. Waster 06:13
06. Shoot Ya Down 04:37
07. Wrecking Ball 03:08
08. Knuckle Duster 03:02
09. Stranglehold 01:43
10. Final Hour 03:16
11. Hangman's Rope 04:36

1. Asomvel
2. Asomvel
3. Asomvel

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Bang - Best of Bang (Hardrock US 1971-74 Incl. Unreleased Tracks)

Size: 190 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Some Artwork Included

Bang is an American hard rock/heavy metal band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, active briefly in the early 1970s and again since 2014. The group was formed by drummer Tony Diorio, bassist/singer Frank Ferrara, and guitarist Frank Gilcken and released three albums on Capitol Records, scoring one minor hit single with "Questions", which reached #90 on the Billboard Hot 100. They were strongly influenced by Black Sabbath, and are considered forerunners to the doom metal genre. 

The group briefly reformed in the early 2000s and recorded 2 more CDs worth of music. In 2004 the concept album "Death Of A Country" was released on CD and LP. This album was recorded in 1971 and was intended to be released as the band's first record, but was shelved by Capitol Records because they did not feel that putting out a "heavy concept album" as the band's debut would be commercially viable. Later that year, their self-titled sophomore record was released and became their official debut instead.

On January 6, 2014 Bang announced their reunion. Original drummer and lyricist Tony Diorio continues to contribute lyrics, while Matt Calvarese performed drums live.

On August 15, 2017, Bang released their autobiography entitled "The BANG Story: From the Basement to the Bright Lights," written with Lawrence Knorr. The book was published by Sunbury Press. 

As the saying goes, many are called but only a few are chosen, and that certainly applies to Bang's disappointing career in the big picture of early-'70s hard rock and heavy metal. Briefly hyped as top contenders fighting for scene supremacy, and once praised as America's answer to Black Sabbath, the power trio quickly saw its promise squandered, instead, due to their own inexperience and overbearing managerial intervention that diluted Bang's original musical vision and derailed their bid for success within a few short years.

Bang's story began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with high school friends Frank Ferrara (vocals/bass) and Frankie Glicken (guitar, vocals). Aged just 16 and soon-to-be dropouts, the pair linked up with experienced drummer and lyricist Tony Diorio (their senior by nearly a decade) in the fall of 1969, and set about rehearsing covers and original material inspired by rising heavy rock groups like Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, and Led Zeppelin. Early shows by what was then called the Magic Band also featured a proper lead singer and several different keyboard players, but only the core trio was willing and able to endure the ensuing 18 months of basement woodshedding, while composing an ambitious conceptual suite entitled Death of a Country. 

When the newly renamed Bang finally emerged from this subterranean apprenticeship in early 1971, their naïve self-assurance knew no bounds; so a friendly tip was all it took to send them off to Florida, where they talked themselves into an opening slot for the Faces and Deep Purple in Orlando, and impressed the concert booker enough for him to take a chance on managing them. Thanks to his connections, Bang spent the entire summer performing all over the eastern seaboard and then repaired to Miami's Criteria Studios in August to record the aforementioned Death of a Country album, confident it would land them the major-label contract they so coveted. 

They were right about that first part, at least, since Capitol Records indeed agreed to sign Bang to a four-album deal, but then refused to release their independent recording, which, in fairness, revealed a band still honing its heavy rock chops with a lot of cynical flower child nonsense (Death of a Country would only see the light of day some 40 years later, as part of Rise Above's career-spanning Bang box set).

Luckily, Bang's next trip into the studio did in fact result in their eponymous Capitol debut, which was unveiled to the buying public in February 1972. Filled with virtually all-new material and boasting a much more direct and modern hard rock style (bye-bye psychedelia), its songs were clearly indebted to primary heroes Black Sabbath, but also stood up in their own right. The LP's first single, "Questions," steadily climbed into the Billboard Hot 100, but stalled at number 90, around the same time that Capitol was coincidentally undergoing an internal overhaul, leaving Bang no other option than to get to work on their sophomore album. 

Sadly, the recording of the Mother/Bow to the King LP saw drummer Tony Diorio, first sidelined by session musicians, then ejected from Bang due to external pressures that also forced the group to take some of their songs in more commercial directions. 

Adding insult to injury, the album's chosen single was a sonically uncharacteristic cover of the Guess Who B-side, "No Sugar Tonight," which alienated existing fans and went nowhere on the radio, losing whatever interest Capitol's new regime still had in Bang's future. 

In a show of good faith (to each other, anyway), the band's two Franks decided to bring back ousted drummer Diorio as their new manager and secured more studio time in 1973 to record a new album to be named simply Music. 

Sadly, though their label had clearly already turned its back on them, Bang proceeded to disfigure their initial musical vision of their own volition, with a series of concise power pop tunes, hardly touching on hard rock at all, and ultimately sounding more like Big Star than Black Sabbath. 

As such, the end results weren't necessarily bad -- just unexpected -- and the gambit simply didn't work, in any case; Bang's touring options dried up and Capitol's patience ran out following a final single recording that was never actually released. Bang's career went out, not with a, well, bang, but with a barely audible sigh.

Frank Ferrara - vocals, bass
 Frank Gilcken - guitar, harmony vocals
 Tony Diorio - drums, lyrics

01. Death of A Country 10:06 [Unreleased US 1971]
02. No Trespassing 05:10 [Unreleased US 1971]
03. My Window 04:47 [Unreleased US 1971]
04. Lions . . .Christians 03:58 [US 1971]
05. The Queen 05:24 [US 1971]
06. Our Home 03:26 [US 1971]
07. Questions 03:46 [US 1971]
08. Redman 04:52 [US 1971]
09. Mother 04:23 [US 1972]
10. Humble 04:43 [US 1972]
11. Keep On 03:38 [US 1972]
12. Idealist Realist 04:30 [US 1972]
13. Feel the Hurt 05:18 [US 1972]
14. Windfair 03:07 [US 1973]
15. Don't Need Nobody 03:03 [US 1973]
16. Exactly Who I Am 03:39 [US 1973]
17. Slow Down 02:38 [Single US 1974]
18. Feels Nice 02:57 [Single US 1974]

Part 1: Bang
Part 2: Bang
Part 3: Bang
Part 1: Bang
Part 2: Bang
Part 3: Bang
Part 1: Bang
Part 2: Bang
Part 3: Bang

Monday, 23 April 2018

Various Artist - Mainstream Records US 1966-70

Size: 361 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Between 1967 and 1970, New York’s Mainstream label, a respected imprint known principally for its high quality jazz and soundtrack catalogue, recorded and released over two dozen full-length rock albums. “All Kinds Of Highs: A Mainstream Pop-Psych Compendium 1966-70” collects the best moments from these records, along with selected highlights from Mainstream’s singles inventory of the same period.

It was still an era where there was no guarantee that even a significant hit single would grant an artist the luxury of a long-playing disc. Yet, in an assiduous move, company president and A&R chief Bob Shad single-handedly traversed the nation to assemble a roster of unknown rock bands, have them quickly record LPs in the styles of the moment, and then throw it all up at the proverbial ceiling, to see what would stick. 

At the time, and for some years after, Shad’s rock’n’roll splurge was viewed, somewhat cynically, as emblematic of the industry’s gross exploitation of the baby-booming psychedelic milieu. As popular music got more self-consciously cerebral and the Rolling Stone mindset took over, the rock album had become a sacred totem, an instrument of the “serious” artist. Which no doubt precluded any of the Mainstream acts getting taken seriously.

I always did, however. Back in the 80s, a Mainstream album, when you were lucky enough to spot one in the vinyl hostelries of London, was a fascinating curio. Intriguingly cryptic names such as the Bohemian Vendetta or Tangerine Zoo, emblazoned upon garish pop-art sleeves, stood out in the racks. My friend Tom (later in Th’ Faith Healers and Quickspace Supersport) and I vied with each other to “collect the set”, as it were, but truthfully, at the time, the Mainstream psychedelic albums seemed too few and far between, and I was frankly too broke. 

It wasn’t until I later moved to the US that I caught up on classics from the Tiffany Shade, Jelly Bean Bandits and Growing Concern and also started acquiring some of the numerous non-LP singles on Mainstream and its subsidiary Brent – many of which, by Fever Tree, Paraphernalia, the Country Gentlemen and suchlike, are true gems. It always struck me that Bob Shad was a kind of unwitting patron of pop-psychedelia, or at least a chronicler of American rock at a grass roots level. 

He had a knack for frequently choosing groups that had something a little out of the ordinary, whether it be in songwriting chops, instrumental abilities, or just a unique slant, that to revisionist ears is a most appealing aspect of the label’s rock legacy. Mainstream artists in this era touch equally on Anglophile pop, folk-rock, world music, country and vocal harmony, in often thrilling manner. 

It also occurred to me as I collected Mainstream releases that, while each album had merit, there were always tracks that stood out. Using the “Nuggets” precept, it made sense to gather all these strongest moments together. Thus we have “All Kinds Of Highs”, which focuses squarely and unapologetically on the pop-psych end of the spectrum, eschewing the hard rock or horn rock stylings of later Mainstream acts such as Last Nikle, Josefus etc. That can be someone else’s compilation – in the meantime, revel in the glorious, groovy miscellany assembled here.

In retrospect, the relentless outpouring of records in the mid-to-late 1960s is nothing short of astounding by today's standards. Groups were forming at lightning speed and constantly cutting singles and albums released by major record companies, as well as small independent labels. The music biz attitude of the time can very well be summed up as such: "Hey, let's throw this tune against the wall, and if it sticks, if it's a hit, then perfect! If it flops, so what? There's plenty more where this came from." Both Top 40 AM radio and the emerging underground FM stations were only too happy to play the records, and the rapid turnover of 'product' was downright exhilarating for the listener.

With the explosion of folk-rock, garage and psychedelia that followed the British invasion, one American indie label that attempted to capitalize on the many new bands appearing on the scene was the New York City-based Mainstream Records, previously responsible for putting out jazz albums. 

Mainstream signed groups ignored by major labels like Columbia, Capitol and RCA, or other independent outfits such as Elektra.

Future hard-rock guitarist Ted Nugent and his band, the Yardbirds-influenced Amboy Dukes, found themselves on Mainstream, and were rewarded with the hit single "Journey to the Center of the Mind," which kicks off this new 2CD compilation. It's the best-known number on here, since the other groups on the label (The Fever Tree, The Fun + Games Commission, The Jelly Bean Bandits and The Superfine Dandelion among them) never achieved a similar level of commercial success. 

The competition during this period was intense, and talented Mainstream bands like these basically slipped through the cracks, only to be re-discovered by collectors years later. The variety and top-notch quality of the psychedelic pop, garage-raunch, and all-around fuzz-filled freakiness on this collection is, to use the era's lingo, a total trip!

Disc 1:
01. The Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of the Mind 3:16
02. The Orient Express - For a Moment 2:03
03. The Country Gentlemen - Saturday Night 1:55
04. Stone Circus - Mr. Grey 3:05
05. Ellie Pop - Caught in the Rain 2:33
06. The Tangerine Zoo - Nature's Children 3:49
07. Fever Tree - Girl, Oh Girl (Don't Push Me) 2:34
08. The Tiffany Shade - An Older Man 3:03
09. The Six Pents - Please Come Home 2:16
10. Bohemian Vendetta - Riddles & Fairytales (45 Edit) 2:40
11. The Underground - Get Him Out of Your Mind 2:40
12. The Art of Lovin' - You'll Walk Away 2:24
13. The Grammy Fones - Now He's Here 2:15
14. Jelly Bean Bandits - Generation 2:55
15. The Superfine Dandelion - Crazy Town (Move on Little Children) 2:24
16. The Orphans - Twenty Light Years Away 6:10
17. The Growing Concern - Edge of Time 4:30
18. The Fun and Games - Someone Must Have Lied 2:37
19. The Tangerine Zoo - Can't You See 3:49
20. The Wrongh Black Bag - I Don't Know Why 2:20
21. The Underground - Easy 2:47
22. The Tiffany Shade - One Good Reason 2:22
23. The Scarlet Letter - Timekeeper 3:13
24. The Art of Lovin' - You've Got the Power 2:57
25. Ellie Pop - Can't Be Love 2:34
26. Jelly Bean Bandits - Tapestries 2:24

Disc 2:
01. Fever Tree - I Can Beat Your Drum 2:01
02. The Tangerine Zoo - Trip to the Zoo (45 Edit) 2:44
03. Ellie Pop - Seven North Frederick 2:21
04. The Art of Lovin' - Good Times 2:28
05. The Tiffany Shade - A Quiet Revolution 2:03
06. The Scarlet Letter - Mary Maiden 2:57
07. Bohemian Vendetta - All Kinds of Highs 3:39
08. The Amboy Dukes - Baby Please Don't Go (45 Edit) 2:41
09. The Underground - Take Me Back 2:33
10. The Six Pents - Imitation Situation ("4/4-6/8 Time") 2:34
11. The Off-Set - You're a Drag 2:06
12. The Growing Concern - Sit Down I Think I Love You 2:24
13. Jelly Bean Bandits - Neon River 2:35
14. The Orient Express - A Little Star 2:23
15. The Tangerine Zoo - Another Morning 2:46
16. Stone Circus - Sara Wells 3:06
17. The Superfine Dandelion - Day and Night 2:47
18. The Underground - Satisfyin' Sunday 2:35
19. The Art of Lovin' - Paul's Circus 3:12
20. The Fun and Games - Today - Tomorrow 2:33
21. The Growing Concern - All I Really Want 2:20
22. Paraphernalia - Sunny Days (And Good Good Living) 2:37
23. The Tiffany Shade - Would You Take My Mind Out for a Walk 2:19
24. Maxx - 200 Years 2:42
25. The Six Pents - Tinkle Talk 2:19
26. Freeport - I Need Your Lovin' 2:44

Part 1: Mainstream Records
Part 2: Mainstream Records
Part 3: Mainstream Records
Part 1: Mainstream Records
Part 2: Mainstream Records
Part 3: Mainstream Records
Part 1: Mainstream Records
Part 2: Mainstream Records
Part 3: Mainstream Records