Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tell-Tale Hearts 25th Anniversary

Once upon a time in a town called San Diego there was a band who spearheaded the second wave movement of American Garage Rock. The Tell-Tale Hearts were the quintessential 60s garage-psych revival group. To this day they are highly revered and considered by many to be the leaders of the pack of “the Paisley Underground” bands.

The Tell-Tale Hearts were Ray Brandes: lead vocals, maracas, tambourine, rhythm guitar, Bill Calhoun: organ, piano, harp, backing vocals, Eric Bacher: lead guitar (1983-1986), Pete Miesner: lead guitar (1986-1987), wonder-drummer Dave Klowden (former teen singer for early eighties San Diego punk act, 5051) and Mike Stax (former member of The Crawdaddys, currently the frontman for The Loons, and publisher of Ugly Things). They performed and recorded throughout 1983 to 1987, cutting their teeth at underground revivalist venues like the Cavern Club. For a brief time in the early 90s a revamped version of the Hearts formed with Bill Calhoun taking over the position of lead vocals. I might be mistaken, but as far as I can remember, after seeing them play at the Soma club circa '92, Calhoun was this lineup’s only original member. This incarnation of The Hearts was not well received and puttered out rather quickly.For the 25th anniversary of the band’s inception, Bomp has released High Tide: The Tell-Tale Hearts Anthology, 1983-1986 CD.

“They had never seen anything like them in San Diego, and what they saw began to shatter the boring, stultifying sameness of the local music scene into a million pieces. The wild-eyed singer snarled and leapt about like a monkey, all the while shaking a pair of maracas and banging on a cow bell, wine bottle or beer can. The drummer hid behind a relic of a kit and pounded his tom-toms like they were tribal war drums. The tall, red-haired guitarist snaked about on stage, by turns stroking and stabbing at his instrument. The organ player, his hair completely covering his face, kicked at his amplifier and rolled on the ground, wrestling with a harmonica. And the long-haired bass player sneered at the crowd from behind a pair of sunglasses, looking positively wicked. There was certainly nothing on MTV which could have prepared them for this.”-from High Tide: The Tell-Tale Hearts Anthology, 1983-1986 CD.

On Friday, September 28th at the Casbah in San Diego, I witnessed the explosive comeback of The Telltale Hearts. It was a glorious spectacle of timeless, raw, rock and roll energy that makes me think, fuck the Stones- this is the real thing!

Friday, September 28, 2007

April March

Discovered this adorable pop gem this morning and she fits right in with my recent obsession for the 60s pop of French singers, Jany L., Sylvie Vartan, Chantel Kelly, and France Gall. Though her musical path took flight in the late 80s, not the 60s, and she's not really French, she's American. Bilingual, "she often sings in French, using the language not as superficial stylistic whimsy but as a separate palette that extends her possibilities as a lyricist". France considers her their own cultural property.

Apparently she was discovered by Allen Ginsberg and his cohort, avant-garde filmmaker Harry Smith. You can read the full story, here.

Upon further investigation, I found Ms. March to have quite an impressive discography. Her first recordings were made in New York in the late '80s using her real name, Elinor Blake, in The Pussywillows. In 1991, she began her career as April March and formed The Shitbirds. She's collaborated with The Bassholes, and Los Cincos, among others, and was the singer for The Haves. Jonathan Richman has made a rare guest appearance on some of her recordings. She's even recorded with Brian Wilson. In 1997, April March teamed up with northwest garage prodigies, The Makers, for the release of, April March Sings with The Makers, on Sympathy For The Record Industry, and her song, Chick Habit, is featured in the Quentin Tarantino action flick, Death Proof.

April March's Myspace page
April March interview in Chickfactor
April March-Chick Habit Mp3
France Gall-Soyons Sages Mp3
Sylvie Vartan-Lami Des Mauvais Jours Mp3
Chantel Kelly-Caribou Mp3
Jany L.-Les Madeleines Mp3
The Makers-Laughter Then Violence Mp3

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Vital Sound Of The Sess

Sometimes a band comes around that makes me feel like a kid again. In the way that I experience the same wonderment I felt when I first started to discover the sounds of the underground. Back when finding The Ramones End of The Century in my stepsister's record collection was the kind of discovery that could change the entire course of my life. To this day, rock and roll remains the most exciting thing I've ever encountered in this world, and I'm excited about The Sess (pronounced Se-sh).

Last Sunday I popped into The Pink Elephant in North Park to catch a matinee show that had caught my interest upon the recommendation of the two people who have turned me onto more awesome music than anyone or anything else in my life. The Sess took the stage and they took me by surprise, bursting straight out of the cacophonous swirl of warm up noise straight into a tight, spectacular, harmonious powerpop blitzkreig that had me grinning and bouncing on my toes. I was frantic with excitement. Discovery!

The San Diego quintet isn't trying to reinvent rock and roll and yet their honest interpretation of it has a freshness that gives their music a unique sound. I kept feeling like I was hearing something familiar, but there was no distinct derivation in it. The music was simply evocative of the feeling one gets when they hear music that's amazing and perfect. Like discovering Sonic Youth, Jonathan Fire Eater, Guided By Voices, or The Soundtrack Of Our Lives for the first time. I thought, "This shit is genius."

Or is it?

The music is definitely devoid of pretense. And I don't think The Sess are even caught up in caring if their music is genius or not. I think they're just happy writing honest, catchy rock and roll that feels good to play, because it feels right.

I wonder if this band knows just how good they are, or if they mask this knowledge with a guise of humbleness that makes them that much more appealing. After experiencing their show I was enamored. I wanted to meet them, to make sure they know just how important what they're doing is to people like me who make rock and roll their religion. I must have come across like some starstruck teenage girl, a potential obsessed fan turned stalker. Their set was like a shot of pure adrenaline to me and I was bouncing off the walls.

With a band like The Sess, it's as if they're tapped into some secret something that most bands, sadly, will never realize. They are enlightened. They're in the club.

The Sess have a two song seven inch (a side: Fuck The Navy b side: Don't Look Back) on Single Screen Records.

Conundrum Of Coitus Mp3

The Sess MySpace

Single Screen Records