Welcome to UNBREAKABLE RECORDS
Nothing posted here will be found on a compact disc. Links are lingering somewhere at the end of each post; go find 'em!
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Friday, September 4, 2009
Unbreakable Records will of course be there representing, with a manageble yet mighty trove of super-rarities of all sorts, including:
~ One FULL box of 80s/new wave/power-pop/synth-pop
~ Some massive old psych platters, long out of print
~ Funky fusion, avant/out madness, & plenty of sample-worthy cheapo records ($3-$5)
~ Hard-to-find old rock, doo wop, jazz & soundtracks!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Jean-Pierre Bourtayre and Jean Bouchety are listed as the composers of this warm-moods-meets-fuzzy-tones monster, but two songs on Side B, "Baby You Know What You're Doing" and "Don't Tell Me", feature the Arthur Brown Set - yup, that Arthur Brown, three years pre-"The Crazy World Of..." His voice is instantly recognizable, though the band rocks more of a garagey go-go than the unstable prog-psych it would become known for.
It was also a first for Bourtayre and Bouchety, who would go on to compose for a handful of other French films and TV, though neither of them extended their careers much past the 80s. Both, however, are sought after "library" composers, and with this soundtrack, it's not hard to see how that came to be. (for a taste, head to Table-Tournante's Soul Train). Languorous sitar introduces the album, and the continual pairing with flute themes makes almost every song an enjoyable listen. Occasionally, the mood veers toward shimmying exploito fuzz, and also features a wide range of pleasing instrumentation that could mark it as a soundtrack, or even an early experiment in retro-lounge, and has all the elements in place for obscure sample-hungry DJs.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but don't anticipate it will be particularly enjoyable (although I'll admit, I do love the Vadim/Fonda combo in Barbarella). Either way, the music stands on its own, divorced from the movie (titled La Curee in French), a feat that some other, later psych/rock soundtracks achieved (most notably, Zabriskie Point and Performance). But as far as early entries go, The Game Is Over sure is a good start.
Friday, July 24, 2009
There’s no better example of both the underground cred and above-ground appeal of the Atlantic catalog than B. Lance’s Rolling Man [Atlantic SD7218, 1972]. Bob Lance was a songwriter first, scoring serious soul cred by penning Aretha's hit "The House That Jack Built" (also on Atlantic). But other than that, and the album’s personnel listed on the back, you’d be hard-pressed to find out anything more, even armed with matrix numbers and Google’s search engine. The only other connection to anything tangible is guitarist Kenny Mimms’ name being mixed in with Duane Allman’s in relation to Muscle Shoals recording sessions. Certainly, one listen to this, Lance's only full length, proves that the B. Lance wasn't lacking in white rural R&B pedigree.
And Rollin’ Man definitely has an Allman aftertaste to it, but as an album, I kind of enjoy it more than, say, Idlewild South. It’s raucous but understated, less histrionic, and feels completely authentic. Groovier than the Stones and grittier than the Faces, the Lance band gets right down to business and doesn't stop til the last note, cooking up a gurgling gumbo of southern harmonies, overdriven guitar leads, white gospel and wailing organ. The simple arrangements belie the attention to detail and depth of sound – check out the rave-up on “Something Unfinished”, or the simmering Saturday night vibe of kinda-title track "John The Rollin' Man”. The ballads are all tastefully executed and never a drag, although if I had my druthers, the album would end on another rocker rather than the subdued blues of "Tribute To A Woman".
Drummer Jimmy Evans sounded familiar, but there are so many freakin' musicians by that name, I can't tell if he's the Nashville singer/songwriter, the rockabilly revival king, or someone completely different. Can't even get much info from a production credit, because Lance,arranged and produced it all himself! But you know what? I’m glad I don’t know anything about this one. It kind of gives it its own little mystery and makes me excited to think about that good ol’ Rollin' Man rumblin' back onto my turntable.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
There‘s not much to learn about the group (though Salisbury has been a lasting force in the CCM), but there is some truly great production & killin’ guitar solos. Also, while I would’ve preferred some of the rockier tunes without the horn section, there are a couple’a hot breaks to grab for the sample-heads (as is often the case with a lot of Myrrh LPs; see "My Sign", eg). More to my liking, there’s a strong West Coast vibe on a couple of tunes, in some places reminiscent of the quasi-religious melodies of SF psychsters Tripsichord Music Box (like “Give Him Your Love,” also my favorite track).
Not nearly as underground as other, more out-there CCM platters, Salisbury lays it on heavy with the preachy lyrics – he’s neither subtle nor poetic. But given that the cover basically implies that he’s out to patch up all the damage Adam & Eve did with that whole Original Sin thing, there may not be time to mix words. That being the case, I could also do without most of the ballads, which step firmly over the line from soft-rock to adult contemporary. It’s the burning, uptempo tunes that keep the interest up, and are definitely worth the listen.
With Salisbury’s prominence in CCM, and the consistent quality of the playing & tunes, what's most unforgivable is that Forgiven’s message hasn’t been updated to the digital era.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Japanese Tears [Scratch SCR L 5001, 1983] is a testament to this, a brilliant outtakes record that was Laine's first release after Wings broke up in 1980. Paul McCartney had been arrested for possession of marijuana while flying into Japan (God love 'im) and, becoming introspective, disbanded Wings, cancelled a world tour, and released the much derided McCartney II. Laine, who had a cache of great tunes and pro-sounding demos stretching back as far as 1973, recorded the title song about Paul's bust, perfectly mixing eastern traditional and western pop melodicism, and threw it together with 13 other tracks to create a seamless collection that matches any of Wings' records (except, maybe, Band On The Run).
There are some Wings outs, two of which feature Macca on bass and vocals (one of which he co-wrote), as well as a remake of the Moody Blues' "Go Now," the tune that put Laine (as lead singer) on the musical map in 1965. In Paul & Linda fashion, Denny sings several songs with his wife, Jo Jo, on backing vocals, and the "home recorded" tunes aren't wanting for professional playing or production. Beatles-y melodicism is the name of the game, with Laine a hip (and not-unknowing) guide for bringing mainstream rock values into indie production and creating some real powerpop nuggets in the process (it was released on Scratch, after all).
Japanese Tears has seen sporadic reissue on several different labels, but for whatever reason all of these seem to go out of print, and none of them seem to feel the need to actually call the damn thing what it was originally titled. Maybe it's to skirt royalty issues? Or maybe because the album is a bit of a hodgepodge, with fierce rockers ("Silver), bluesy acoustic takes ("Danger Zone"), synth-driven baroque pop ("Say You Don't Mind"), and lovely ballads ("Lovers Might)... either way, this one is highly recommended!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Well, Spring has been forced back into its groundhog's hovel for sure round these parts, with untold inches of dusty whiteness & the first public school snow day in about 7 years!
Don't let that keep you indoors, though...
Aaron, Alex & Rob will bust out new tunes, dust off old chestnuts, & in general, take no prisoners as they barnstorm through their mind-melting heavy psych vibes. Also, the new AH site is up & running - check it!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Still, given Melle's unfaultable pedigree as both a player, writer and arranger (my favorite of his works are still the dreamy, Third Stream-y sides he cut for Blue Note in the 50s), his music for The Andromeda Strain is a sharp departure aesthetically as well as compositionally. The soundtrack itself is notable for its gimmicky appeal, as well - the original pressing of 10,000 was released in a die-cut hexagonal cover, with 10" hexagonal vinyl, too (my rip is from an original "hex" copy). 1971 was the year of gimmicks galore with vinyl & sleeves, including the Stones' zipped-up Sticky Fingers, Grand Funk's embossed and coin-shaped sleeve for E Pluribus Funk, and Traffic's corner-cutting Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, and there's a great anectdote on the hexagonal vinyl's manufacture by Rick Wise, the man who created this out-of-the-box idea. The original version sold out quickly, and Universal pressed a second version on plain ol' 12" wax with a different cover.
Regardless of the debunked myths of "firsts" that Melle claimed, his soundtrack takes all the elements of primitive electronic music and approaches them in a compositional way, rather than through the more random applications from which most users of Moogs and ARP Odysseys got their sounds at the turn of the decade. For non-organic sounds, Melle makes his cascades of beeps, ticks, swishes, and so on come alive, building in tension and even rhythmic counterpoint. He sets the tone well with each piece, and there's a great flow and logic - and even musicality - to the otherworldly sounds he's able to coax from his homespun collection of cables. Sadly the sountrack itself - which must've taken a long time to create - is super short, clocking in at under 1/3 the length of the actual movie, a brief and disappointing 26 minutes.
What I'd really like to know is not just how the hex vinyl was manufactured, but the exact gear Melle used to create the music. Melle himself built the synths he used, much like Bob Moog and Wendy Carlos, but unfortunately there seems to be no accounting for, or even much on-line interest in, this question (which is surprising); Melle died in 2004, so the chance to ask the man himself is now past. I guess that's all for the best, because that leaves us listeners with a more complete sense of mystery in these over-informed days, and maybe still the same sense of wonder and fear that both The Andromeda Strain and its soundtrack evoked lo those 38 years ago.
PS - Apologies for somewhat noisy vinyl, but this one is especially hard to find, and especially the original pressing... sometimes ya gotta go with what ya got!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Give Me Take You opened the door for further artistic development, with Browne landing a large part in the German feature film Zeit fur Traume and getting the attention of impresario supremo Mickie Most. This led to a 1973 self-titled album for Most’s RAK label, which set Browne’s poetic compositions against his increasingly impressive classical guitar technique.
During this time, Duncan Browne met Peter Godwin, a German ex-pat with a shared affinity for music without boundaries. After two years of composing and playing together almost non-stop, the duo burst forth with the stunning glam-prog perfection of Metro [Transatlantic 0064.009, 1976, and Sire SR 3041, 1977, in the US]. Rigidly funky, understatedly eloquent, a chiseled sonic sculpture, Metro - the band, and the album - leaves you thoroughly satisfied... but wanting more.
Pitched somewhere between Yes, Roxy Music, Crimson and Bowie, the vocals affect just the right melodic nonchalance, giving way to Browne’s guitar mastery and Godwin’s bubbling, neophytic synths. Briefly changing their name to Public Zone and releasing a 7” with Stuart Copeland on drums (you can get that here), Metro lasted through two more albums, neither of which featured Browne (New Love (1979) and Future Imperfect (1980)). Duncan Browne continued on in his solo career, pushing the envelope onto the club floor even further with The Wild Places (1978) and Streets of Fire. (1979)
Godwin, for his part, kept the groove going but couldn’t match the fire of the band’s debut. Disbanding Metro, he collaborated with both George Kajanis and Midge Ure on a handful of extended 12” singles which were eventually comped as the 1982 album Dance Emotions. The Kajanus-produced Correspondence was Godwin’s second, and final, album.
Browne didn’t do too much to follow up on the promise of his latter-day solo material, working on the soundtrack to the UK television show The Travelling Man and recording sporadically until his unfortunate death from cancer in 1993 (his final album was released posthumously). Although Metro is best known via Bowie’s cover of “Criminal World” on Let’s Dance, Browne and Godwin have yet to get the acclaim they truly deserve for their brilliant and prescient work together on Metro.