Various Artists — Postcards from the Deep
(Fruits de Mer Crustacean 58, 2014, 10 Flexi)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-12-08
This new set of singles from FdM has got to be one of the most unusual packaging concepts ever released. Those of us who have been collecting and listening to music since the 60s/70s will remember the flexi disc. These discs were a cheap alternative and usually published as an extra in a magazine. The sound quality was not up to vinyl standards, but they were fun. This time around Keith Jones wanted to see if flexi discs were still being made, and with the theme of having bands cover obscure tunes from the 60s/70s he decided to release ten 7-inch flexi discs with accompanying 7-inch color postcards. Each disc contains a single three minute track from a different band, some familiar to FdM and some new. Because of the audio quality issues, this set also includes a CD containing all ten songs, but with a slight twist. Some of the bands took the CD as an opportunity to extend the song length, add vocals to an instrumental, or change the mix. So what we have is rich set of music that runs the gamut from psych to surf to fuzz to freakbeat to garage rock to krautrock.
The first disc contains The Luck of Eden Hall’s cover of the Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction.” TLoEH have outdone themselves on this cover, with distorted guitars, great riffs, and high energy, breathing new life into this classic. On the second disc, an FdM band who has only appeared on the Sorrows Children compilation, The Loons, dug way back into the bins to cover an obscure Dutch band Dragonfly and “Celestial Empire” from their only EP released in 1968. This cover is an exquisitely sinister song. And like they used to say on American Bandstand, “It’s a got a great beat, you can dance to it.” The third disc features a new FdM band, The Crawlin’ Hex, and their cover of Calico Wall’s “I’m a Living Sickness,” a no-holds-barred garage psych freakout. On disc four The Thanes, another new FdM band, play a blistering instrumental cover of The Pretty Things’ “LSD.” The raw energy here could power a small city. The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies (who’ve previously appeared on the 2014 FdM Annual) chose obscure Texas psych band Satori’s “Time Machine” for disc five — another acid laced gem from the past. The Past Tense, a long-term FdM band, present an instrumental cover of an extremely rare freakbeat song, The Hippies’ “Soul Fiction,” for disc six. When I got to disc seven, I was transported back to high school with Schizo Fun Addicts’ reinterpretation of The Sorrows’ “Take a Heart” by adding elements of The Animals to this freakbeat song. Next in line is Crystal Jacqueline’s cover of “You Just Gotta Know My Mind,” a song written by Donovan for the then 17 year old Dana Gillespie. Crystal outdoes herself on this track. It really rocks! Disc nine contains another familiar FdM band, Astralasia, and their cover of Brainticket’s “Brainticket” from Cottonwoodhill. The original song is a killer krautrock track, and Astralasia have chopped and channeled the music to produce a crazed and disorienting jam of cosmic proportions! And last, but not least, is Icarus Peel’s lysergic treatment of the “The Avengers’ Theme.” Listening to these discs is like experiencing an old juke box, the songs are different, but united in style. I expect this to sell out immediately, just for its novelty value alone. Quite an impressive release for this year.
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more