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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:54 am    Post subject: Private Press Reply with quote

Well, continuing the download discussion...
A lot of what I have been finding and downloading are these "private press" albums. Albums that were made and manufactured by people in the 60s and 70s with no record label, just people with a little money and the dream to make maybe 100 or 1,000 copies of their recordings to give to friends or sell at shows. Of course the sounds are often very DIY and the records are all almost impossible to find now in ANY condition (except for insanely high prices on ebay, like $ 500 or $ 1,000 or sometimes more!).
Not all of these are great, but over the past few years I have found some real favorite gems. I know Dav is a fan of Syd Barrett, and I know a lot of people on this message board are fans of DIY stuff, Daniel Johnston, home-recordings, and other similar things, so maybe you guys will enjoy some of these good ones. A few have been officially re-released on CD now, but many others are only findable from blog website downloads (I love the blog site Swan Fungus, also RedTelephone66, a few other blogs).

My favorites, if you can find them:
Virgin Insanity "Illusions of the Maintenance Man" (this is on CD now)
Dandelions (self-titled, not reissued)
Eddie Callahan "False Ego" (not reissued)
Virgil Caine (self-titled, not reissued)
Gandalf the Grey Wizard "Grey Wizard Am I" (on CD now)
Peter Grudzien "The Unicorn" (on CD now)

I know of some other really good ones too.
And a lot of not-so-good ones.
If anybody knows of more good albums like this that I should try to find, let me know!
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Dav
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These private press releases seems to be really interesting, i'll surely will browse these blogs.
The prices are really insane tho, really not fitting the main philosophy of these private press release.
One LP i had never been abble to find but had the mp3 from a blog is Swaddling Songs by Mellow Candle, it usually described as progressive irish folk, got some really neat songs on it. The vinyl is insanly expensive. The girls had 15 and 16 years old when recording most of the album tunes.
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Last edited by Dav on Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dav
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been listening to the Eddie Callahan lp all morning, it's really good.
Where will we be tomorrow is just perfect, crazy production, simple but full of ideas. I'm so glad you share these bands with us Jeff, this one alone made my day.

An lp i like but that's not rare is "Comets, Ghosts and Sunburned Hands:Uncut's Guide To The New Psychedelic Outlaws", got various artists on it and some pretty insane psychedelic tunes.
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jack fe



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have a look for some of those. The things I download at the moment are generally collections of strange music, none of which I could hear anyway.

I'd say the king of the private pressings has to be Jandek, right?
I just sent off an order to Corwood Industries for about 30 CDs (they're half price if you order more than 20! $4!). The fact that he puts it all out himself (stil! after 32 years!) means that even if second hand originals are pricey if you find them, they are easy to get for cheap.

Again, he's someone I heard from downloads. Irina recommended that I hear Ready For The House (the first record), and it just blew my mind. He breaks everything down, so that it feels totally new. The first song shocked and kind of scared me. It was mostly just one (dis)chord slowly picked, over and over again. After the first song I felt "great! time for something new!". The next song was pretty much the same thing. It kept up for the whole album, until he finally started to STRUM on the final song! By this stage, he'd taken it so low, that change felt so dramatic and shocking. So I kept listening. The progress over the course of about 50 albums is astonishing.

Does anyone else have a strong opinion on Jandek?
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jack fe



Joined: 08 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another obsession of the last few weeks (brought on by music blog downloading) is song poems!
You know the ads telling you that your poems could be made into a hit record! Send them in with some money! They lead to some strange and some deeply touching songs.
PBS made an interesting documentary on the subject.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOqn-I5u1MY

Part of it reminded me of antifolk. People whose words wouldn't get heard by many people, doing it anyway. If some of them had more confidence and lived in the NYC area, maybe they would have found an audience at Sidewalk, rather than shelling out on these strange companies.
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jefflewis



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm so glad you like that Eddie Callahan record! I just listened to it again earlier today. I think the first two songs on it are the best, but the rest of it is good too. It has a much more professional sound than most private press records, but it has that quality which the best private press record have... really being unique! I don't even know how to describe it... maybe a bit like George Harrison mixed with "Wish You Were Here"-era Pink Floyd, but made by one guy with a 4-track.

I have a couple of Jandek albums (including Ready For the House) though I haven't listened to them in years. I should re-listen. I saw Jandek play in NYC a couple years ago, it was a weird show (of course), quite boring really after the first 10 minutes... really a test of endurance, I thought! I remember Toby Goodshank was there at the show too. Have you seen the Jandek documentary movie?
Do you have any recommendations for Jandek records? There are so many of them, I don't know which ones to try.

I've heard about these "song poems" but I don't know how to find them... is there a good collection you recommend?
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jack fe



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if as part of the downloading music debate, I can PM you a couple of album links. Some of the late 80s Jandek records are my favourites. He has another guitar player with him, who seem to know what he's doing technically (which is a pretty new thing). There are some really noisy records from right before that where he seems to be having a lot of fun, singing nonsensical songs with friends.

I understand what you mean about a test of endurance. One of the live recordings (every live show is released eventually - they are all new songs) is an hour and a half of very simple, slow piano playing, and turns out to be shockingly beautiful when given total attention.
Maybe it's like John Cage said: "If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all."
His (long) spoken word records, now those can be a test of endurance! (with some real gems scattered in there)

On song-poems, there is a soundtrack to the PBS documentary which is pretty great ('Off the Charts - The Song-Poem Story'). I liked some parts of the movie, but it really focused on the "wackier" song-poem writers and could easily be interpreted as mockery, when these people are often being so sincere. The idea of someone recording what you want to get off your chest in an eloquent way that you may not be capable of yourself is great.
My favourite compilation is called 'Do You Know The Difference Between Big Wood and Brush'. A really good collection of songs.
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jefflewis



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just found a download of that Mellow Candle "Swaddling Songs" album, I can't wait to hear it!
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Dav
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jefflewis wrote:
I don't even know how to describe it... maybe a bit like George Harrison mixed with "Wish You Were Here"-era Pink Floyd, but made by one guy with a 4-track.


Your description sounds right, i also hear some kinks from times to times.
Lately i've been listening to "paper rain" a lot, amazing.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A really nice compilation of underground sixties garage is "Fort Worth teen scene", it's a 3 cd set, really easy to find, got some really great tunes on it. There are 25 songs on each cd and i always listen to it all, that's rare cos i'm a big forwarder usually.

I discovered this record while shopping in a local record store, the only one in Rennes that you can buy some old vinyls, found me the my bloody valentine "exctasy" there, never played, still sealed, and also a cool white light white heat 12 inch.

Anyway the store was playing that record, sounded like Them or The Troggs, so i got me a copy and didn't regret it.

Here is what a blog says about it :

On the basis of the 73 sides collected here from 1964-67, there's no doubt where Fort Worth stood on the Eternal Sixties Debate: Beatles or Stones? Cowtown bands would much rather have been the Stones than the Fab Four. For that matter, they would rather have been the Yardbirds (two different bands do "Mister, You're a Better Man Than I" and ditto "Train Kept A-Rollin'"), or even Them. Probably the Kinks, too. We're talking fuzz, distortion, raunch. T-Bone Burnett, one of the few Beatles fans in Fort Worth on the basis of his band the Loose Ends' Lennon-esque "Free Soul," is overshadowed by an onslaught of rockers. The best groups included: Larry & the Blue Notes, whose deranged "Night of the Sadist" appears here under three different titles and two different band names; the Cynics, who did the most abrasive Yardbirds interps; the Nomads, who were all just 14 or 15 years old and sound like it on the trashy "Be Nice"; the Jades, whose lead singer Gary Carpenter had the truest Jagger/Van Morrison sneer 'n' snarl; and the Barons, who could play tight and still sound like their hearts were in the garage, and whose original songs are welcome amidst all these covers of "She Said Yeah," "Empty Heart," and other Stones faves. Unfortunately, the series proves the old adage about too much of a good thing or just too much, period. Unless you're a garage band fanatic or were part of the original scene, you certainly wouldn't want three volumes of this stuff, and the good tracks are scattered across all three to the extent that it's hard to recommend just one (it's probably between the first two volumes). If the really great sides could be compressed down to one volume, then you'd really have something to rock out on over and over.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I downloaded the Dandelions s/t LP, it is just perfect, i've downloaded a few private press lp and so far this one is the most amazing. Are the girls singing 12 years old? anyway their voices are incredible and the music also is.
Really glad i found a downlaod for this one, it's been a long time since i heard something that great.

edit : i actually found more info about this LP, the girls have 10 and 11 years old, wow!
They also play guitars and wrote all the songs, impressive....

Here is another cool blog to find about Private press and all sort of underground 60/70's scene.

http://allegory-of-allergies.blogspot.com/
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jefflewis



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool, I'll have to check out that blog.

Yes, the Dandelions album is almost perfect (except for maybe one or two songs). I'm really glad you found it. It should be reissued, I think a lot of people would love that record, so nice.

I have listened to the Mellow Candle album a couple times but so far I'm not really into it, it sounds a bit too "normal" - I had a similar experience with the folk band "Mr. Fox" I was hoping it would be more psychedelic or weird. But maybe if I hear Mellow Candle more I will get more into it, that happens a lot!

I don't have that Fort Worth garage compilation but I have a LOT of garage comp stuff, mostly the Back From the Grave series, which has a lot of the songs that you mention (two versions of Night of the Sadist/Phantom! I love this one. Recently this song was covered by K Records band Hornet Leg). My favorite is the Pebbles series, but the vinyl series is really much better than the CD series, I don't know why they changed it.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah the Mellow Candle lp is quite normal, i see what you mean, love the poet and the witch, it's my favorite on it.

If you wanna hear something really weird i suggest "You Used To Think" by Erica Pomerance, she's from Canada and in 1969 she recorded a whole LP under lsd....the album is really weird, has really cool tunes, some not so cool but it's really something interesting. Most of it is sung in english but there's also some french singing in it.
You can find her lp for 5 euro on the internet in France, i guess you can find it anywhere.

I got this one cos it was compared to Godz and The Fugs, also makes me think of Pj Harvey on lsd from times to times.

You can stream it there if you wanna hear what it's like before considering buying.
http://doctorak-go.blogspot.com/2009/08/erica-pomerance-you-used-to-think-1968.html
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Babyskins sounds like The Dandelions sometimes


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, when I played the Dandelions for Jack and Dave they said it was like the "original Babyskins"! I really have to play it for the Babyskins and see what THEY think!

Did you manage to find Virgin Insanity, or Peter Grudzien's Unicorn album, or Virgil Caine? Also really good ones.
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