Velvet Monkeys – Everything is Right

January 01, 1970

(Instant
Mayhem)

 

www.instantmayhem.com

 

Before
guitarist Don Fleming became the producer du
jour
for early ‘90s alt.rockers, not to mention the leader of his own
post-Nirvana contender Gumball, he led the sleazy, sarcastic D. C. psych
rockers the Velvet Monkeys. The band’s debut Everything is Right was originally released in 1982 only on
cassette – this digital reissue is its first alternate form of media.

 

The
band’s MO here is ‘60s-inspired garage rock, with simple but catchy melodies
colored by Farfisa organ, primitive guitar riffing and Fleming’s plainspoken
singing. From the sinister “You’re Not There” and “See You Again” to the
straightforward “Everything is Right” and “Drive In” (“It’s rated X!”) to the
spacerocking “True Believers” and “Any Day Now,” Fleming and company display
both an easy mastery of the various forms of early psychedelia and an
irreverence that allows them to sing their own salute (“Velvet Monkeys Theme
Song”) without being precious about it. That freewheeling attitude extends to
using a simplistic drum machine on the synth-rocker “Favorite Day” and the
“Wipeout” rip “The Creeper,” just to make sure we remember in what decade these
tracks were created.

 

Even
with a modern remastering job, the sound is pretty basic, as if it really was
recorded in a garage, though some care is obviously given the arrangements. A
trio of live cuts augments the original tracks, including a “Favorite Day”
rocked into the ground, and not just because of the replacement of the rhythm
box with drummer Jay Spiegel. Everything
is Right
gets points for not being purist, for inspiring the Brian
Jonestown Massacre and for simply being an enjoyable set of songs.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Any Day Now,” “Drive In,”
“You’re Not There” MICHAEL TOLAND

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