Monday, June 15, 2009

BOPPIN' BLASTS FROM BEANTOWN!




Although I live in a city (Chapel Hill, NC.) known for it's music scene...it's been a relatively on again off again affair, having it's last real influential surge in the SUPERCHUNK led juggernaut era of the '90's. Don't get me wrong there is still a thriving music scene with some extremely talented bands too numerous to list..but like Athens, Ga. and Austin, TX...the sustained staying power is spotty. Trying to think of a city that consistently has managed to churn out band after band of historical significance excluding New York, Boston immediately springs to mind. In fact, three of my top 10 bands of all time: The Modern Lovers, The Pixies, and Mission Of Burma all were birthed in Beantown. So tonight I present four older bands from Boston's rich history that might have flown under your radar. Two personal favorites on the poppy psychedelic side and two favorites from the beloved new wave era. For a quick tip of the iceberg overview of Boston's musical output I refer you to the wikipedia entry. For an excellent overview of the late sixties era with links to other sites check out the splendid BOSTON SOUND page contained in the equally splendiferous PUNK BLOWFISHwebsite of Boston legend Paul Lovell.


First up is the mini pop masterpiece- "Basic Magnetism" by the highly influential Teddy and the Pandas. Released at the zenith of the "Bosstown Sound" in 1968 , "Basic Magnetism" is a catchy confection of the group at their best. All the members are still alive and active and played a reunion show in 2008. Check out their exhaustive OFFICIAL WEBSITE or SPECTROPOP's Teddy & the Pandas PAGE for the incredible history and continuing legacy of this great band.


The cuddly lads circa 1967. Squeeze'em HERE!
Track Listing: 1. Childhood Friends
2. Kona, Idaho
3. Shine A Little Light
4. 68 Days 'Till September
5. Running From Love
6. Basic Magnetism
7. Crossing Man
8. At The Debutantes' Ball
9. Look Back In Love (Not In Anger)
10.Raspberry Salesman


Next is the '68 psyche pop LP by singer/songwriter Timothy Clover which namedrops the hippie gathering place of the time and announces itself as a "concept" album. Couldn't find much info but I take it as a one-shot featuring many Boston area musicians and the same production team behind Teddy & the Pandas. It's a pleasant folky sounding record with a pop/psyche production varnish. A perfect soundtrack for a stoned rainy afternoon. Snagged about two years ago from SIR PSYCH'S PSYCHEDELIC SHACK, a wondrous blog that is still going strong! Load it in your bong HERE.
Track Listing:
1.TIMOTHY CLOVER
2.TROLLEY CAR LINE
3.ONE DAY YOUR A RICH MAN
4.WHEN YOUR DREAMIN'
5.TEAR DROP MOBILE
6.A HARVARD SQUARE AFFAIR
7.HIS LIFE TO LIVE OVER
8.COTTON CANDY (CAN BE YOURS)
9.MY FRIEND JOHN
10.GREAT WORLD NEXT DOOR



The band Human Sexual Response has always been kinda a guilty pleasure for me. Only releasing two albums in their four years together, they rode in on the new wave and were quickly beached on the rocks of musical history. Though pegged as new wave, the majority of their songs betray a heavy art rock influence. Their first release "Fig. 14" in 1980 showcases a talent rife with quirks and struggling to get its sea legs. "In A Roman Mood", my favorite of the two, which quickly followed in 1981, is a more mature effort, though almost too slick in its production values. Definitely an acquired taste, their music can be at times a bit too precious and self-important. Portentous lyrics and intellectual posturing on songs like "Marone Offering", and mythological references in the busy "House of Atreus" darn near collapse under the weight. That being said "In a Roman Mood" offers many rewards for the patient listener. Dark and edgy, it succeeds ultimately with power over pretense. I first encountered them on late night television (see video below) singing their only "hit", "Land of the Glass Pinecones", a song which periodically has gotten stuck in my head many times for the last 25 years! After breaking up the various musicians went on to play with a who's who of talent including Frank Black, Kustomized, Bob Mould, and Tanya Donnelly. Read an interesting article on two surviving members of the band entitled "HOUSE PROUD: New Wave Musicians in an Old Age Home" published in the New York Times in 2006. "In A Roman Mood" Tracklisting:
A1 Andy Fell
A2 Marone Offering
A3 Pound
A4 Public Alley 909
A5 12345678910
B1 A Question Of Temperature
B2 Keep A Southern Exposure
B3 Blow Up
B4 House Of Atreus
B5 Land Of The Glass Pinecones
B6 Bodyguard
Get Sexed HERE



Lastly, a very obscure New Wave Boston band called Onyx. A new one on me, they released two singles and a cassette in 1982-83, then apparently faded into the day-glo mist. Unearthed by the excellent archivist over at FANTOD UNDER GLASSwho is just as perplexed as me at the lack of any information on these kids. A female vocalist doesn't sing so much as talks and whispers over solid electronic beats and pounding bass driven tunes - just right for an android hootenanny. Excellent.
Track Listing:

1. Call Of The Wild (45 Single)
2. SOS (45 Single)
3. Jet Set (45 Single)
4. Saturn 09 (45 Single)
5. SOS (Cassette)
6. Robot World (Cassette)
7. Jet Set (Cassette)
8. Planet x (Cassette)
Use your mechanical arms to grab it HERE.


PS: For an excellent book covering the rich history of the Boston music scene, I highly recommend THE SOUND OF OUR TOWN by Brett Milano.

7 comments:

  1. WICKED COOL! I transplanted my li'l ol' Tar Heel self up to Beantown during the Pixies era, craving some "cultcha"! Good times! The music scene was fertile and the bass players very tall! Gotta make sure DL sees that book-hell, she's probably IN it!

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  2. TC 48,

    Really nice place you got here. I like it! As soon as I clear some space on my external hard drive, I'll be doing some mass downloading of all the goodies you've posted. In the meantime, if you link Record Fiend under your blog list, I'll list your place under my Recommended Blogs. Deal?

    RF

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  3. Hey there. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it. I left you a response there. I hope you will visit my blog again. I do enjoy hearing from people. I'm glad you like it. I really like your blog. This is a cool post. I don't think I've ever heard of any of these bands before. I always like to be introduced to new artists. I'll have to check them out. I am going to check out that Cinemageddon site very soon. It sounds awesome.

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  4. Cool post (as usual) and 4 interesting bands, all of which definitely fall outside the usual Boston boundaries...I love the Standells, Pixies, even SSD and Jerry's Kids and blahblahblah, but there was (and is) a lot more going on up there.

    And FYI...the "Boston Rock Storybook" site used to have some fantastic and very personalized articles on the Boston scene circa '75-'95, but for some reason the site is down...if it ever gets back online, it's definitely a good place to waste a rainy afternoon...

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  5. Hello there!
    From which movie is the shot of the monkey with the ladies ?

    Thank you!

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