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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Various Artists - The IKON Records Story (1964-66 us, cool cryptic garage pearls, double disc set)

Sacramento-based Ikon Records is one of those labels that makes obsessive garage collectors squirm and sweat, stammering phrases to each other like "only three known copies, dude" or that most dreaded, tear-choked revelation: "there's only one known copy!" Because of their scarcity, even by local indie garage label standards, Ikon 45s have largely eluded the garage compilation-makers, so the label's output has been something of a secret shared by just a few elite high rollers and clued-in Sacramento locals. 

No hype, my friends: YES! This is hands-down the best '60s garage reissue of the year, filling the requirements of both historical significance and, more importantly, musical excitement. The Madd, Inc provide the immediate standout with the jaw-dropping "I'll Be the One." It's got an assertive lead vocal, two cool, locked-in guitar parts, a tight, rhythmic groove, and a dangerously tense mood snapped apart by a killer fast-fingered Drake Levinesque guitar break. No two ways about it: it's a frickin' MONSTER. While not in the same league as "I'll Be the One," the same band's secret agent themed "Sooperspy" and the wiry instrumental "Batman A Go Go" are also rather good.

More fantastic garage band thrills are drummed up by the Mergers ("Love, You Funny Thing"), the Kee-Notes (a great arrangement of "St James Infirmary"), the Styx ("My Girl"; not the Temptations song), the Knightsmen ("Daddy Was A Rolling Stone"; not the Temptations song either), the Denny & Kenny Duo (the ultra rockin' "Meet My Little Sweety"), the Sons of Sound ("I'm Coming Home"), and the Prophets (the up-tempo but oddly plaintive "You Wonder Why"). Bluesier fare is dished out by the Parish Hall Blues Quintet ("Smokestack Lightning" and a decent cover of the Pretty Things' "I Can Never Say") while solid surf/instro sounds are provided by the Nervous Kats, the Cautions, the Avanti's and the Marauders.

Those looking for minor key magic will be well-pleased too when they get a load of jewels like the Yo Yoz' exceptional, Zombies-flavored "Leave Me Alone," the Bristols' "She's Gone Away," the Shondells "It's True" and the Mergers' "I'll Be On My Way." This two-disc set come with a 28-page booklet jammed with full-color photos, label shots and abundant liner notes by Alec, Joey and others.

Artists - Tracks
Disc 1
1.Ikon - Intro - 0:47
2.Madd Inc. - I'll Be The One - 2:38
3.Shondells - Something's Got A Hold Of Me - 2:39
4.Eirik Wangberg - Every Night I Dream A Little - 2:25
5.Nervous Kats - Surf Express - 2:05
6.Bristols - She's Gone Away - 2:14
7.Mergers - Love, You Funny Thing - 2:44
8.Avanti's - Countdown - 1:48
9.Bobbies - Truck - 2:19
10.Yo Yoz - Leave Me Alone - 3:11
11.The Knightsmen - Fever - 2:55
12.Styx, The - My Girl - 2:32
13.Kee-Notes - St. James Infirmary - 2:53
14.R.C. And The Tambourines - Quirk - 2:23
15.Shondells - I Cried Last Night - 1:54
16.Cautions - Surfer's Beach - 2:18
17.John Rosasco Quartet - Come Running To Me - 2:15
18.Townsmen - High Heel Sneakers - 2:36
19.Moss And The Rocks - There She Goes - 4:46
20.Nervous Kats - Simba - 2:05
21.Prophets - It's All Over Now - 3:28
22.Parish Hall Blues - Smokestack Lightning - 4:09
23.Versatiles - Pretty Girls - 3:01
24.Unknown Artist - Gloria - 2:40
25.Russ Olson - Sorry About That - 2:09
26.Denny And Kenny Duo - I Love You So - 2:49
27.Madd, Inc. - Batman - 2:49
28.Avanti's - Too Much - 2:37
29.Marauders - Intro-Surf Jam - 2:24
30.Marauders - Carol - 2:56

Disc 2
1.The Knightsmen - Daddy Was A Rolling Stone - 2:51
2.Denny And Kenny Duo - Meet My Little Sweety - 2:53
3.Prophets - You Wonder Why - 2:58
4.Madd, Inc. - Sooperspy - 2:59
5.Unknown Artist - Searching - 2:32
6.Nervous Kats - Chong - 2:16
7.Parish Hall Blues Quintet - I Can Never Say - 2:58
8.Shondells - It's True - 2:51
9.Eirik Wangberg - You Woman - 2:33
10.Townsmen - Leaving Me - 2:30
11.John Rosasco Quartet - The Shift - 1:47
12.Sons Of Sound - I'm Coming Home - 3:16
13.Cautions - Groovin' - 2:26
14.Yo Yoz - Stay With Me - 2:36
15.Avanti's - What's Wrong With Me - 2:12
16.Sel-Sync - The Fire Is Gone - 2:13
17.Beau Jesse - Tell Her That You Love Her - 1:55
18.Kee-Notes - Please Don't Tell Me No - 2:31
19.Eirik And The Secret Agents - Sorry About That - 2:33
20.Townsmen - What Have I Done - 3:23
21.Fabulous Futuras - When You Ask About Love - 1:47
22.Dirk Hamilton - Happiness - 3:24
23.Bobbies - Orangutang - 2:04
24.Mergers - I'll Be On My Way - 2:32
25.Mymes - You Lose Girl - 2:20
26.Moss And The Rocks - Please Come Back - 3:23
27.Styx, The - Stay Away - 2:56
28.Madd, Inc. - Batman A Go Go - 2:42
29.Checkmates Ltd. - Do It To Deff - 4:06
30.Ikon - Outro -  0:39

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Various Artists - With The Sun In My Eyes: 20 Psychedelic Spins (1966-72 europe, uncomped psychedelic rarites)

Recently I read a letter in a prominent music magazine from a reader who was getting rather steamed about what passes for psychedelia in these ordered times. The gist was that tons of prog, POP, folk, soul and Jazz is now labelled psych, and that in reality, when placed in it's historical context, very little of it actually is psychedelic at all. 

Chronologically, psych, in the true sense of the word, was all but over by 1970, but of course, there is no marked line where one day it all iust stopped. I think, with hindsight, it is possible to label things ‘Psych' out of its traditional timeline if the sound is there, but I do take the point. So much of the material pushed as 'mind-frying Psych' is nothing of the sort. 

When one considers what a short period the first flush of psychedelia enjoyed, it is easy to see why anything vaguely trippy has been lumped in with the real stuff. There Just isn't enough to go round. 'With The Sun In My Eyes4 is Psychic Circle's first compilation of UK & European straight psychedelia. It's taken 'til our 12th issue because tracking down 20 proper, uncomped psvch tracks from the UK is now no easy task. However, I feel sure that our listeners will not experience that feeling of disappointment when the new 'acid-drenched' comp contains two or three corkers, ten tracks you've heard before and half a dozen weedy POP outings. 

The idea behind these comps has always been to share great music and recognise that our market is mainly made UP of People with a deep knowledge and love of this kind of music. I feel confident that this will be appreciated when you give 'With The Sun In My Eyes' an airing. If this pre-amble has a somewhat dour tone, please don't be misled, we're really proud of this comp. 

I personally think it's one of our strongest. I could tell you it's going to warp your synapses or crystallize your cerebral corteces, but I can almost hear the stifled laughter, so I'll leave that to someone else. I'll just say that in my opinion this is a really nice comp and I hope you'll find some new Pleasures on it, and rest assured, we're out there tracking down material for the next one.
by Nick Saloman

Tracks - Artists
1. Give Me Money - Plastic Penny - 3:03
2. Mary Jane - Peter Sarstedt - 2:18
3. Yellow Brick Road - Mindbenders - 3:04
4. No One Knows What Happens Round The Corner - Ola And The Janglers - 2:27
5. Ten Thousand Paces - Omega Group - 6:07
6. Me - Zion De Gallier - 3:16
7. Hang On Baby - Gnomes Of Zurich - 2:16
8. Lady Love - Rattles - 2:27
9. She's Far Away - Foggy - 3:37
10. Get Back Home - Majority One - 2:47
11. With The Sun In My Eyes - Schadel - 2:32
12. Watching - Sound Network - 2:12
13. Don't Leave Me In The Dark - Youngblood - 2:36
14. Balloon - Ramases - 4:29
15. She Said - Grand Union - 3:10
16. Bye Bye Baby - Winston G - 2:18
17. Woman On My Mind - Peter And The Wolves - 3:27
18. In The Corners - Don Curtis - 3:15
19. Stop - Giorgio - 3:32
20. Seen Through A Light - Mooche - 4:41

More Psychic Circle compilations
1968-72  White Lace And Strange
1968-72  The Room Of Loud Sounds
1964-69  Realistic Patterns Orchestrated Psychedelia
1965-69  Wednesday Morning Dew 
1965-70  The Electric Coffee House 
1965-70  The Golden Road The Electric Coffee House Vol.2
1969-74 Blow Your Cool: 20 Prog Psych Assaults

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