Category Archives: Vinyl records

THE PINEAPPLES – Twice On the Pipe

Album: Twice On the Pipe

Artist: The Pineapples

Label: Wicked Ape

Release Date: July 14, 2017

www.pineapplesband.com

The Upshot: Downtown NYC heaviosity like they useta make in the early ‘90s. Guess what? They still do.

BY FRED MILLS

“… after which they took a long hiatus.” Talk about a band bio understatement—we’re talking nearly a quarter-century’s layoff between releases for this downtown Big Apple outfit, last heard from on 1993’s Kramer-produced She Brings Me Down EP. And, admittedly, you’d be forgiven for not having clamored for a reunion—or, hell, even remembering the name, unless you were either on the Amerindie ‘zine scene back in those admittedly pre-goldrush alt-rock daze, or a regular consumer of the UK weeklies, which momentarily championed the Pineapples. And not without cause, either—this was a heavy, Prog/punk noize as cool as it got, deservingly aligned by the critics with the likes of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. But alas, things have a way of coming to abrupt endings.

Now, though, Sirs Howard Rappaport (gtr, vox), Kevin Neenan (gtr), Michael Delanni (bs) and Thomas Dwyer (dr) have decided to pen a coda that promises to open an entire new volume. Amazingly, there’s still an enticingly familiar early ‘90s vibe here, with angular leads bolstered by brutal power chords, vocals that slip easily between yearning reverie, loutish growls, and heavenly harmonies, and a rhythmic assault that could power its way through any stylistic decade you’d care to name. From the post-grunge glissandos of “Red King” and part-dreamscape/part-overdrive alt-pop that is “Summergreen,” to the anthemic, immeasurably hookish power pop of “Reason to Live” and shuddery, wah-wah-powered, psychedelic anthem “Please Don’t Kill Doctor Strange” (yes, there are at least a few unapologetic comics fans in the band), there’s a lot going on with this slab o’ heaviness.

Did someone mention “slab”? We’ve got a shiny black 180-gram piece o’ 12” wax in hand, with a neon-tinted inner sleeve and a nude pineapple-bearer gracing the outer sleeve, so really, what are you waiting for, a goddam jpeg or something?

DOWNLOAD: “Reason to Live,” “Summergreen”

REESE MCHENRY W/SPIDER BAGS – Bad Girl LP

Album: Bad Girl

Artist: Reese McHenry w/Spider Bags

Label: Sophomoe Lounge

Release Date: July 14, 2017

www.sophomorelounge.com

The Upshot: Vinyl alert! Twangy garage and off-kilter country as wielded by an utterly original voice who’s backed by a fearless group of musicians.

BY FRED MILLS

An album that gets better and more riotously fun with each successive spin, Bad Girl teams Chapel Hill singer-songwriter Reese McHenry (formerly of Dirty Little Heaters) with Tarheel garage-skronksters the Spider Bags for a sonic summit that not only plays to the respective strengths of all the players, it also finds them pushing one another outside their comfort zones and discovering new skills. It’s a collaboration in the truest sense of the word, too, with some songs written by McHenry, some by the Bags’ Dan McGee, some jointly by the pair, and some by other writers. (McGee also acts as the project’s producer, and the ever-talented Wesley Wolfe handles engineering duties.)

Opening track “Bad Girl” is explosive enough and sets the stage perfectly. Penned by Lee Moses, it serves as a personal manifesto for McHenry, who croons, moans, and wails her titular self-assessment with enough vim ‘n’ vigor that you quickly learn to believe her. The band, abetted by Clarque Blomquist on piano and Ben Riseling on sax, initially conjures a vintage ‘50s vibe that gradually turns rowdy, like a libation-fueled gathering that progresses well into the wee hours. Twangy garageabilly raveup “On the 45” follows, boasting a kind of Panther Burns-meets-Southern Culture on the Skids ambiance. And the hits just keep coming—the careening romp that is “Mexico City”; the pedal steel-powered, straight-up country-tonk ballad “Painter Man’s Blues” (one of four tunes featuring Caitlin Cary on backing vocals); a sassy shuffle, “Bomb,” that revs and roars until you can practically see the stage collapsing from the collective impact of all the stomping feet; and closing number “The Rose of Monmouth County” that lets all assembled let loose in a noise orgy that somehow manages to retain a tender edge—testimony, no doubt, to McHenry’s utterly convincing skills at the mic.

She’s one part Lucinda Williams (in her unusual phrasing-drawl), one part Frazey Ford (in her signature high-range warble), and several parts tent revival preacher in the throes of a laying-on-of-hands possession. And Bad Girl just might be the most unique musical artifact you’ll hear out of North Carolina all year.

DOWNLOAD: “Mexico City,” “On the 45,” “The Rose of Monmouth County”

SAINT ETIENNE — Home Counties

Album: Home Counties

Artist: Saint Etienne

Label: Heavenly

Release Date: June 02, 2017

http://heavenlyrecordings.com/

The Upshot: Dance-pop turns Franco-pop via well-honed and played arrangements – synth pop, girl group, northern soul, dream pop, every variety of comfort food music. Pressed on 2LP heavy black vinyl, of course.

BY JENNIFER KELLY

Very little remains of Saint Etienne’s dance pop origins in this ninth full-length, which celebrates suburbia in radiant Franco-pop terms. You could flash a strobe to disco-ish “Dive” or plot diva-esque personal empowerment to “Out of My Mind,” but the most arresting tracks on this 19-track album are more ruminative. The very best, indeed, may be “Sweet Arcadia,” a limpidly beautiful seven-minute epic whose lyrics consist almost entirely of place names and whose music is a banked glow of slow keyboard tones mixed with birdsong.

The home counties are London’s equivalent to Westchester and Bergen County and certain verdant quarters of Long Island, places that are pleasant enough from a train window, but stultifying over long periods, especially during adolescence. (So close and yet so far!)  So, perhaps, the hemmed in prettiness of the songs matches the manicured green-ness of these environs, the sly sense of humor matches a thinking person’s impatience with the non-eventfulness of village life. Saint Etienne interleaves a gem-like succession of pop songs with odd little radio recordings — a sports score broadcast, a pop quiz — to reinforce the sense of stodgy place.  And yet, perhaps the best, most vivid daydreams occur in straight-laced neighborhoods, like “Train Drivers in Eyeliner” with its sly, subversive advocacy for gender equity in public transportation or tinkly “Whyteleafe”’s dreams of Paris in the 1960s, Berlin in 1970s.

None of this would matter if the music weren’t so good, elevating wispy whimsies into bright, infectious clarity. Throughout, the warm honey velvet of Sarah Cracknell’s voice flows over well-honed and played arrangements – synth pop, girl group, northern soul, dream pop, every variety of comfort food music. The basslines are consistently superior, giving spine and urgency to spun sugar ephemera, and extended instrumentation – a harpsichord-ish synth, a brass band — mix things up. It is very good, as vanilla ice cream or macaroni and cheese can be very good, any lingering embarrassment about the blandness you’re enjoying offset by how delicious it is.

DOWNLOAD: “Sweet Arcadia,” “Train Drivers in Eyeliner”

HENRY OWINGS – Micro-Impressions Volume 1 (45)

Album: Micro-Impressions Volume 1 (45)

Artist: Henry Owings

Label: Chunklet

Release Date: August 01, 2017

https://chunklet.bandcamp.com/album/micro-impressions-volume-1

The Upshot: Chunklet’s resident smartass yuks it up for an adoring indie rock crowd, much to the bafflement of U2, Cat Power, and Nirvana fans.

BY FRED MILLS

Who needs to deal with micro-aggressions when there are micro-IMPRESSIONS running roughshod over culture these days? America, allow me to reintroduce you to Henry Owings, Chunklet majordomo. With Chunklet, whether we’re talking the publication, record label, or, um, enterprise, you know there’s always gonna be a twist at some point, which is testimony to Owings’s oftentimes twisted outlook on life. He’s now expanded his purview to stand-up comedy, and his first project is “Micro-Impressions Volume 1,” a live recording of him at Atlanta’s 529 doing one-second impressions of bands, some iconic, some not-so, and some so underground that their sendups are way-inside jokes. Each impression is spot-on in its own way, however, and if you find yourself scratching your head over one that goes over your head, never fear—in about a second, you’ll be laughing your ass off so hard that you’ll drown out the next three portrayals.

Side A kicks off with his one-second take on Melt-Banana, a succinct squeaky-voiced ‘Thank you!,’ but before you have a chance to process it (I made a mental note to go pull out all my Melt-Banana records and live tapes later to determine the exact source of Owings’ inspiration), you’re knee-deep in U2 (a kind of moan that’s equal parts heavenly passion and a particularly satisfying bowel movement), the Red Hot Chili Peppers (a rapid-fire shout of ‘Give it away!’ with the second half of ‘away’ clipped off), the Fall (‘maaan-uh’), and Joy Division (‘radio’ delivered in an impossible baritone that’s so perfect I can imagine Peter Hook ringing Owings up the next time he decides to tour a Joy Division album). Yeah, I was indeed cracking up by this point, and we’re only about 45 seconds into it.

The final impression on side A has Owings acknowledging up front that it will run longer than a second, and then you hear the presumed sound of Cat Power’s Chan Marshall sobbing quietly and inconsolably into the mic as the track spirals to its conclusion. Brutal, bruh. (Earlier he also does a six-second Shipping News, similarly breaking his one-second rule. Sorry, you’ll have to buy the record to find out what the impression sounds like.)

Flip the single, and the lunacy continues, with takedown after takedown, from Fugazi, Mastodon, and Prince, to Trans Am, Blonde Redhead, and Man…or Astro-Man?, plus three special impressions clearly dear to Owings’s black little heart. There’s AC/DC, done twice (you guessed it: Bon Scott followed by Brian Johnson). There’s also one he calls ‘The Trilogy,’ which features White Zombie and Metallica sounding appropriately hostile/aggressive, plus The Nineties (‘yup!’ — one of the aforementioned head-scratchers, as I wasn’t sure if he means The Nineties the band, and if so, we’re talking really obscure, as I can only find a lone Bandcamp page for anyone called The Nineties, or the decade. Take your pick!) And then there’s another trilogy of sorts, Smashing Pumpkins followed by Courtney Love followed by Nirvana, and if you’ve ever wondered to yourself if you’re the only person who thinks those three artists are musically interchangeable, rest assured there’s at least one stand-up comedian out there who agrees with you.

Bottom line: It is a must-spin at any party you and your hipster friends decide to crash, potentially the next Trivial Pursuit–like social gathering craze. In fact, I’m starting to get the itch myself . . . wanna hear my Ian Anderson, David Lowery, and Brian Jones impressions? Memo to self: work on perfecting my underwater gurgling sound.”

Consumer Note: While we await the second volume, don’t sit on your hands ‘cos this is a micro-pressing of just 150 copies—100 on sweet red wax, 25 on black, and 25 clear. It’s also available digitally, of course, but really, you choice is pretty straightforward. The record sleeve comprises a load of “reviews” that Owings preemptively solicited from friends, family, and foes, which makes for excellent toilet reading. (Full disclosure: I provided Owings with the above review so he could use it for the promo pitch at his Bandcamp page. And yes, I still laugh my ass off every time I listen to the stuff.) You’ll even get the Owings promo photo for exercising the proper consumer choice. What’s not to like?

DOWNLOAD: It’s a friggin’ single. Duh.

GUN CLUB – In My Room LP

Album: In My Room LP

Artist: Gun Club

Label: Bang!

Release Date: May 12, 2017

www.bangrecords.com

The Upshot: Final recordings from the legendary band, and a fitting tribute – complete with a number of sonic surprises – to their late frontman, Jeffrey Lee Pierce.

BY FRED MILLS

Quite a few of us out here in the Amerindie wilderness go way back with the Gun Club; me, I was a record store employee drafted by Slash/Ruby Records to be a Slash street-teamer (long before the term “street team” had been coined around the time of the release of the first Gun Club and Blasters LPs, and as a result I was not only in on the Jeffrey Lee Pierce story nearly from the get-go, on the Gun Club’s first U.S. tour I was able to hang out with Pierce and his bandmates for two memorable evenings in North Carolina. (Ask me about the time he “bought” drinks from everyone in the bar the band was playing but managed to skip out on the tab while still getting paid for the gig.) Years later, when The Fire Of Love saw expanded/remastered reissue in late 2004, I was privileged to do interviews with original drummer Terry Graham and the late Pierce’s sister Jacqui, both of whom pulled the veil of history back for me just a bit, allowing me some fresh insights into the man and his muse.

In My Room, then, closes the Gun Club book, representing as it does the group’s final recordings, originally cut in ’91 and ’93 in Netherlands studios, featuring the Pierce/Romi Mori/Kid Congo/Nick Sanderson lineup doing a selection of Pierce originals and covers. The latter contain their fair share of raised-eyebrows moments, because while oldie “Land of 1000 Dances” has always been part of the garage-rock and new wave vernacular, it’s safe to say that “I Can’t Explain” doesn’t come immediately to mind when one thinks of the Gun Club (it’s still a pretty satisfying-in-a-thuggish-way version), and neither Willie Nelson’s “Not Supposed to Be That Way” (here, a straight country-folk take featuring dobro and lap steel) nor Kenny Rogers & the First Edition’s “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” (ditto) are likely to be considered classic renditions. That said, as they are part of a session that also included a redone, countryish version of GC gem “Mother Earth,” they do make psychic and sonic sense if you’ve followed Pierce and his rambling muse over the years. (There’s also a quasi-cover: “Shame and Pain” nicks part of the melody and vocal chorus from the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City.” It’s a jarring effect.)

The full-on electric material is the main reason to grab this vinyl album (which, we should note, comes smartly packaged in a gatefold sleeve that features lyrics plus a positively haunting portrait of a dark-eyed Pierce beside Mori). The lengthy “Sorrow Knows” has an almost Velvets-meets-The-Clean vibe, with Pierce and Powers serving up oppositional guitar textures amid a droning, psychedelic ambiance. And speaking of unexpected vibrations, “L.A. Is Always Real” lays bare an additional Pierce influence: Television, with elegantly twisted leads and crystalline pop melodies spooling forth. There’s even a kind of dissonant blues, “City in Pain,” indicative of another one of Pierce’s obsessions that certainly surfaced with regularity in the Gun Club, but here posits the band as one of the most unlikely blues mixtape mavens ever.

Posthumous compilations are always a tricky proposition, but in this instance, considering the songs’ proximate provenance, In My Room, for the most part, holds its own, and no long-time Gun Club devotee will be disappointed.

DOWNLOAD: “Sorrow Knows,” “City In Pain,” “Mother Earth”

Kurt Bloch Unveils New Band The Yes Masters

Album available on sweet colored wax to boot.

By Blurt Staff

Yes, that IS the mighty Kurt Bloch doing his best Townshend upstroke in the photo above. But he ain’t just tilting at windmills – he’s just chuffed over his new project The Yes Masters. You will recall, of course, that the Northwest rocker, late of the Young Fresh Fellows and the Fastbacks, has had his hand in scores of classic albums over the years. Among the bands he’s produced or worked with: Minus 5, Venus 3, Les Thugs, Sicko, Flop, and many more.

And The Yes Masters is described at their Bandcamp page thusly:

“Debut record from this plastic knife-wielding consort who have taken what is rightfully yours, and handed it right back to you, but a little louder.”

Boy howdy to that. Also in the band: Rick Foundation (drums), and Matt Scientist (bass, vocals). At the aforementioned Bandcamp link you can preview the record and then order it in either digital or vinyl format. The latter comes in multiple options, by the way…

RAT FANCY – Suck A Lemon LP

Album: Suck A Lemon

Artist: Rat Fancy

Label: Happy Happy Birthday To Me

Release Date: May 26, 2017

www.hhbtm.com

The Upshot: Indie trio with immense potential charms even the most curmudgeonly sort with a blend of C86 jangle, lo-fi, and shoegaze.

BY FRED MILLS

L.A.-based dream/twee-pop trio Rat Fancy has been stealthily slipping music into the indie ether all year via a trifecta of digital singles (among them, a delightful cover of Strawberry Switchblade’s “Since Yesterday”). Those are still available at the band’s Bandcamp page, but the big news is the new 12” mini-album Suck A Lemon. Featuring frontwoman/guitarist (and ex-Sweater Girl) Diana Barraza, plus Gregory Johnson (guitar / keyboard) and Gavin Glidewell (drums), the serves up fanciful (sorry) blend of C86 jangle, Velvets-y echoes ‘n’ drones, Flying Nun lo-fi quirkiness, and rollicking shoegaze.

That the gang has an abiding love for Brit-pop comes through loud and clear on the first track’s actual title: “I Can’t Dance to the Smiths Anymore” details, against the aforementioned jangles and no shortage of shambling, the gradual onset of disillusionment in the aftermath of heartbreak, and with Barraza’s wistful, yearning vox clearly stating her case, it’s hard not to feel like you, the listener, wouldn’t want to chance a dance in the future, either. The title tune, “Suck A Lemon,” is another high water moment for the band, the slightly phased drums, buzzing guitars, and keyboard squonks giving the proceedings an off-kilter feel; and there’s a second version of the song present too, this one a slowed-down, stripped-down version that omits the drums from the arrangement. And “Beyond Belief” goes for a Phil Spector-meets-Lou Reed girl-group vibe that’s simply magnificent—if performed live, it could be the kind of concert-stopping moment that leaves attendees present in varying stages of catching their breath and wiping the corners of their eyes.

Together only a year, Rat Fancy has the kind of potential we out here in indiedom live to root for, to cheer the band on as it grows and develops. Why not join the choir early on?

Consumer Note: Grab the vinyl of course. And some lucky fans may find it possible to even sleep with the band—as the photo above illustrates, Rat Fancy created pink promotional pillowcases with the logo and graphics in purple. Now that’s fancy!

DOWNLOAD: “Beyond Belief,” “Suck A Lemon (I)”

Discogs Mounts Crate Diggers Record Fair and After Party Tour

 

By Uncle Blurt

As you might imagine, the collective BLURT brain trust has done its share of crate-digging—record collecting to all you non-vinyl geeks out there—over the years. Fired up on Jolt Cola and with DJ Shadow’s epochal ode Endtroducing blasting from our Koss headphones, we dig, therefore, we are. So count me in on the first official Discogs Crate Diggers Record Fair and After Party, slated for Portland on August 26. And that’s not all – it will also happen in subsequent weeks in Tokyo, Berlin, London, and Amsterdam, followed by a U.S. encore in Los Angeles on October 14.

Discogs, of course, is “the world’s biggest online music database and marketplace.” According to Discogs:

Record fair by day, after-party by night; Crate Diggers is the ultimate event for record collectors, vinyl-junkies and music fans of all backgrounds. Crate Diggers is free to attend, bringing the unique hybrid of record fair and dance party to cities all around the world.

Buy and sell records, meet with other members of the vinyl and music community, and dance the night away at the afterparty. Local DJs are on the decks while you dig for vinyl during the day, giving way to international headliners turning up the party late into the night.

Crate Diggers Record Fair and After Party Tour 2017

Aug. 26 — Portland, Oregon — White Owl Social Club
Sept. 2 — Tokyo, Japan — Contact
Sept. 23 — Berlin, Germany — Prince Charles
Sept. 30 — London, England — Oval Space
Oct. 7 — Amsterdam, Netherlands — De Marktkantine
Oct. 14 — Los Angeles, California — Lot 613

 

VISCERAL CANDY – Visceral Candy feat. Tim Stiles LP + All The Rest EP + By Qreepz EP

Album: Visceral Candy feat. Tim Stiles LP+ All The Rest EP + By Qreepz EP

Artist: Visceral Candy

Label: self-released

Release Date: November 18, 2016

www.visceralcandy.bandcamp.com / www.timstilesmusic.com

The Upshot: Indie rock, dark pop, and hip-hop get mashed up inna Seattle stylee.

BY FRED MILLS

If you peer closely at the Bandcamp tags accompanying this collaboration between Seattle-based indie rockers Visceral Candy (primarily Seth Swift, plus input from Ian Hernandez and Josh Street) and hip-hop MC Tim Stiles (also of Seattle, and frontman for Passion Party), you’ll spot terms such as “dark pop,” “electronic,” “rock & roll,” “a cappella,” “Asian instruments,” and, er, “dogs.” Make what you will of those categories, but they do suggest a musical approach that is anything but staid or traditional.

Visceral Candy feat. Tim Stiles is an ambitious project which does indeed blend disparate styles while remaining a riot of accessibility for modern ears. A perfect example is “Plastic Sleep,” in which Stiles unleashes a rapid-fire barrage of snarky, at times politically-fueled beat manifestoes against a backdrop of jittery, arpeggiated guitar/keyboard riffage and a funk-reggae rhythm; devotees of British post-punkers The Pop Group will find common ground with American hip-hop here. Elsewhere one also hears sonic overtones of Talking Heads, Death Grips, Radiohead, George Clinton, and the Beach Boys—some amazing vocal harmonies pop up here and there—although the musicians cloak their specific influences so adroitly that it would be folly to assert the prominence of one over another. Pay close attention to the snarky “Coffee & Cigarettes” and its sister track “Cigarettes & Coffee” and you’ll see what I mean.

The album, incidentally, is available both digitally and on limited edition colored vinyl (250 copies, with 21 different color combinations inserted randomly in the sleeves).

Meanwhile, Swift is apparently a busy and industrious gentleman, as he has released two Visceral Candy digital EPs since the LP dropped late last year. All The Rest, a six-songer, features Stiles and another one of Swift’s collaborators, Jay Battles, guesting on the track “Nancy Killers”; Battles also appears on “Mud.” And the seven-song. By Qreepz comprises remixes of selected V.C. tracks, including several from the 2016 full-length Both My Dogs Died So I Wrote This Album. One imagines that by the time you finish reading this review, Swift will have another track or two stashed safely away.

DOWNLOAD: “Plastic Sleep,” “Clown Shoes,” “Coffee & Cigarettes”

 

CULTURAL AMNESIA IN AMERIKKA: The Charles Manson “Lie: The Love and Terror Cult” LP, Revisited

Whoahhh… hold on there, Mr. Bugliosi, I was just checkin’ in to see what my condition was in, Charles Manson-wise!

BY UNCLE BLURT

Yeah, I was there—NOT, I hasten to add, at the Tate-LaBianca murders. I was at the local record store, many many many years back in the day, when producer/scenester (and future Gram Parsons body-snatcher) Phil Kaufman and his ad hoc indie label Awareness Records released Lie: The Love and Terror Cult. In 1970 America was in a protracted state of culture shock, and yours truly was only marginally coming to terms with the dissonant notions that one could wave one’s freak flag really fucking high while opposing Vietnam and sundry other Nixon-era ills, and still be not only appalled but downright nauseous that a countercultural opportunist and interloper like Charles Manson was able to shatter the—our—hippie dream merely by dispensing LSD to a bunch of impressionable kids and “suggesting” that the phrase death to pigs was not just a mere jocular implication taken from a Beatles song, but a goddam mandate.

You can get all you need to know about the original LP from its Wikipedia page (although no one seems to have bothered to update it in ages—there’s nominal info about the album’s reissue trajectory, so perhaps click over to the extended Discogs entry). Here, in 2017, we are fortunate to have yet a fresh iteration—and on translucent red vinyl to boot!—via the estimable ESP-Disk label, which actually can trace a “professional relationship” with the album (and whoever may have owned the rights to it at various times) going all the way back to a ’74 vinyl repressing and picking up again during the CD era. (ESP’s 2008 CD Sings expanded the original 14-song tracklisting to a whopping 26. That’s also the version you’ll encounter if you pull the album up on Spotify.)

Why do I say “fortunate”? Well, that’s complicated. Let’s face it, the music itself is, at best, nominal. There’s always been a lot of hoo-hah over the track “Cease to Exist” because it was notoriously turned into the Beach Boys’ “Never Learn Not to Love,” no doubt with the late Dennis Wilson sweating his way through the sessions; it’s decent enough, in an early Tim Buckley vein, but hardly memorable. And who gives a shit whether Rob Zombie, Redd Kross, and the Lemonheads have covered a “hardly memorable” song? “Garbage Dump,” made retroactively prominent by G.G. Allin, is barely listenable, go figure, while “Big Iron Door,” a blink-you-missed-it love song to, uh, prison, is even less so. A few track-skips later, we are left returning to “Look at Your Game Girl,” the album’s opening track and perhaps the tune that convinced Kaufman he might be able to shift a few copies. It’s strummy and has a moderately catchy folk-soul vibe, the kind of song you could do a blindfold test with on any given millennial or hipster and come away feeling pretty smug when your blindfoldee was positive it’s an unreleased Rodriguez track. There, I said it. Charles Manson sounds a lot like Rodriguez, if you need a musical selling point, I guess. Alternatively, maybe you’re simply a Guns N’ Roses fan and this is your entry point.

So, no. Still –  “fortunate,” because this is a genuinely priceless cultural artifact that demands to be in the collection of any sentient music collector who gives even a small portion of a damn about rock ‘n’ roll, its history, its undercurrents, its implications, its future. Without an awareness of Charles Manson and the cultural bomb he set off back in the late ‘60s, all you kids out there reading this review are doomed to one day allow another Charles Manson creepy-crawl into the personal spheres of your brothers, sisters, friends, compatriots—and even your children.

The Mansons of the world are still out there; in fact, there’s a good chance several of them are currently strolling the corridors of the West Wing, patiently looking for their openings. The original is by all accounts not long for this world, and it’s unlikely he’ll make it to the age of 92, in 2027, the year he’s up for parole. But don’t for a second think that when that sawed-off little gangster is dead, the toxins that initially spawned him will have been eradicated. They’ve always been in the Amerikkan water system.

Luckily, as long as folks like ESP-Disk are doing their part to revive the conversation and then keep it alive, we have a chance of getting through that whole “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it,” etc., thing.

When this LP arrived in the mail, a lot of memories came rushing back.

Remember, I lived through the Manson era. I recall, with great clarity, the moment when Woodstock-powered utopianism came crashing down, and the realization gradually dawned that long hair, sandals, love beads, bellbottoms jeans, and tie-dyed teeshirts were no longer instant affirmations of being part of the same club. Worse—for me, at least—it happened before I had even turned legal. In the summer of ’69, when those Manson murders took place, I was only 14 ½ years old. But I was old enough to have begun sketching out a future; in my teenage mind, as soon as Woodstock happened, I had a lot of catching up to do. Well, so much for that, because when news of arrests in the murder case hit the headlines in early December, those idyllic Bryan Adams future memories I’d no doubt been working on a few months earlier came crashing down, too.

Back here in 2017, I caught my breath, shuddered, cracked open the shrink wrap, slowly tugged out the red vinyl repressing, and laid it on my turntable. After a long pause—full disclosure: a longer pause than usual, first to admire the wax, because, well, colored vinyl— I allowed the needle to begin its descent…

Postscript: The last two times this publication posted Manson-related content on the website and put links out to it, we noticed that we were quickly followed on social media by organizations and individuals who were clearly Manson sympathizers. And many years ago, our good friend, the late Joe Young of AntiSeen band fame, released a solo 7” EP, “Bury the Needle,” that had a Manson-sampling track called “Charlie’s Blues” on the flipside. Not long after, he was visited by a couple of folks who identified themselves as members of “The Family.” Joe was somewhat bemused, but also somewhat shaken. It will be interesting to see what kind of feedback BLURT receives for this particular commentary.