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Category Archives: various artists

At the time Back to Mono was released in 1991, Phil Spector’s reputation as one of pop’s great visionaries was intact, but there was no way to hear his genius. It wasn’t just that there were no collections spotlighting his productions, there weren’t collections of artists he produced. It wasn’t until Back to Mono that there was a thorough overview of Spector’s greatest work, and while it’s not without flaws, it still stands as one of the great box sets. Some may complain that there are no selections from his superstar ’70s productions for John Lennon, George Harrison, Leonard Cohen, and the Ramones, but that’s for the best, since their presence would have been incongruous, taking attention away from the music that forms the heart of Spector’s legacy. All of that music is here, not just on the first three discs, all devoted to singles, but also on the fourth disc, his seminal 1963 holiday album, A Christmas Gift for You, which isn’t just the greatest rock Christmas album, but a crystallization of his skills. It could be argued that the song selection overlooks some obscure fan favorites, such as “Do the Screw,” but that’s simply nitpicking, because what’s here are all the great Spector records, which were hardly just great productions, they were great songs as well. As the set plays, it’s hard not to be stunned by the depth of the material and clarity of Spector’s vision for his famed Wall of Sound, whether you’ve heard these songs hundreds of times or not at all — especially because they gain power when grouped together. Many producers have been credited as the true creative force behind many rock records, but usually that’s hyperbole. In Spector’s case, it wasn’t, as this set gloriously proves.

-Stephen Thomas Erlewine,

Various Artists-PHIL SPECTOR: BACK TO MONO (1991 compilation)
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I think this shows that Hipinion probably has the greatest actual pool of talented and creative people out of any forum or message board on the internet. Here they are covering 25 of the best jams of the 1980s like “Would I Lie To You” by the Eurythmics, “Girls Just Wanna have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, Prince’s “When 2 R In Love” and an admittedly out of place early GBV song. Styles range from minimalist glitchy house anthem to lo-fi four track with Radioshack condenser mic.

Actually maybe that GBV cover isn’t so out of place after all.

If you have to wonder if this even interests you, then it isn’t for you.

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The 1971 movie Vanishing Point managed to become a cult hit, with its story of a Benzedrine-popping driver (Barry Newman) in a race for his life with the police of several states, but somehow the soundtrack managed to remain out-of-print until 2004, when Soundtrack Classics reissued it on CD. The music is surprisingly cohesive, primarily built around different aspects of country-rock as embodied variously by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, the Doug Dillard Expedition, and Jerry Reed, with some gospel tracks by Segarini & Bishop and Big Mama Thornton, plus Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen.”

The music is all eminently listenable and then some, and has an earthiness that makes it more than a little bracing — only the lyrical, string-dominated love theme, provided by Jimmy Bowen and his orchestra, breaks that mood and even it works within its own musical context, and is explainable given the time in which the movie was made. The entire release rather favorably recalls the soundtracks to Easy Rider and Zabriskie Point, but Vanishing Point stands up quite nicely musically on its own.

-Bruce Eder,

Various Artists-VANISHING POINT OST (1971)
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Re-up to condense this stuff and replace with higher bitrates. Dig that Daniel Clowes cover art circa 1991!

The LAS VEGAS GRIND series by Strip Records, a shelf label of the incredible Crypt Records, is just begging for a box set. From the early 90s to around 2002, the series compiled roughly 200 cuts of the coolest… uh music? I struggle with a way to even classify it. It’s rockabilly but with an added swing. Where big band and early garage rock meet. Too dirty and lo-fi to be Lounge/Exotica. It’s 1950s frat rock for the dads of the kids at the Animal House. Weirdo, but too get-in-the-studio-and-knock-this-one-out professional for the world of Irwin Chusid-style obscurantism. It manages to be slightly askew of any typical genre classification.

Read this description by AMG’s Jessica Jernigan:

If the Las Vegas of Frank Sinatra is a little too classy, a bit too swank for your taste, you might want to pay a visit to the land of Las Vegas Grind. The lights aren’t so bright there and the liquor is cheap. The air is redolent with warm Brylcream and sweaty polyester — the smell of conventioneers nervously enjoying the kind of entertainment they could never get away with back home. Just remember to bring a wad of one-dollar bills, and don’t forget there’s a three-drink minimum.

The Earthworms was just a name Oliver Sain and

Little Milton used to cut this one-off 45 for Bobbin
Records in 1962. They might have owned the label
for all I know and just used other names to make
more 45s!
Anyway, I plead and beg here for a definitive box set for this stuff because there are multiple volumes, and multiple pressings of each volume with different songs. It’s kind of a mess. On vinyl it goes VOLUME I-V (I think), and on CD it goes PART I-III (fitting the vinyl VOLUMES I-V) and THEN a newly added CD VOLUME VI that has all new material to the series. So that leads to the confusing predicament of there being no V on CD, it just goes I-IV, VI. Heh.

Note the alternating use of VOLUME and PART. The original releases are VOLUMES, and those are compiled into larger versions for the CD PARTS. And after that was done they put out another VOLUME! And this new one was on CD! See, confusing!

Anyway so what I have in 320 is PARTS I-III and VI from the CDs.

95% certain Edgar Allen & The Po’ Boys was just a

Session musicians or established less-than-photogenic studio wizards would often record these one shot 45s for tiny labels in exchange for a quick buck, or to slyly inflate their own label’s roster. Sometimes they went on to become large figures in pop/rock later. I just found out the song “Buzzsaw Twist” by The Gee Cees is actually just Glen Campbell!

Must have stuff. I love garage rock comps like anyone else, but this stuff is a whole other level. It wins the lifetime achievement award for music you can just set and forget and leave on for HOURS. You can play it for an entire eight hour shift. It’s great for bars and cool restaurant/dive type places. You’ll also hear some sources of popular samples herein. I could swear the title lyric in “Scatty Cat” by Bob Bunny is a common sample used by DJ Qbert or one of the other Invisible Skratch Piklz.

Yeah, so get this. Okay? Look I don’t want to make a big deal out of it.

So far, one volume of this exists for Indiana. There’s THREE Ohio volumes, THREE Florida volumes, but NO New Jersey volumes. Does anybody know of a New Jersey garage/frat rock/60s/70s comp? -Ian!

Gear Fab’s Psychedelic States series, which collects vintage 1960s garage rock singles on a regional, state-by-state basis, is extremely valuable in an archaeological sort of way, since these rare 45-rpm artifacts afford an interesting glimpse into the music of a specific time, place, and demographic, and in a larger context, allow for a region-to-region comparison of the similarities and differences in the garage band phenomenon. That’s the scholarly way to look at these collections. Musically, however, most of these singles are badly recorded, poorly performed, and clich├ęd and derivative at almost every level, which, of course, is probably why they’re so prized by collectors. This volume, which spotlights the Hoosier State, abounds with badly recorded, rhythmically challenged bands that scream and fuzz-chord their way through crude songs with a take-no-prisoners attitude and little else going for them. In other words, it’s an utterly fascinating glimpse at a time in the U.S. when every garage on the block seemed to have a band rehearsing in it, a glimpse at a true suburban folk movement where owning an instrument was at least as important as knowing how to properly play it and nowhere close to as important as the need to simply make noise.

Nothing here redefines Indiana as the epicenter of rock & roll in the 1960s, and nothing here was even so much as a regional hit, but this collection (like the others in this series) has all the charm of a truly bad horror film, the kind where you can’t help but root for the monster to destroy everything in sight. Highlights? It’s hard to say. The Endd’s shaky, tottering “Gonna Send You Back to Your Mother” from 1967 is spooky and oddly haunting, even infectious in a creepy way. The Chevelles’ “Just Once in My Life,” also from 1967, bounces along on a simple yet effective melody. The Serfmen’s “Cry” from 1964 is a fascinatingly ragged hybrid of “Louie, Louie” and “Twist and Shout.” The Jades’ “Come Back” from 1967 is simple and solid, and might even have been a hit if it weren’t so derivatively generic, which makes one wonder even more why it wasn’t a hit. Again, this collection will probably mean more to historians and collectors than it will to anyone else, and none of these singles could be deemed essential by any stretch of reasoning, but by sheer accumulation these raw, ragged sides show that there was indeed something happening, Mr. Jones, even in Indiana.

-Steve Leggett,

Supplemental visual accompaniment:


Various Artists-PSYCHEDELIC STATES: INDIANA IN THE 60’s VOL. 1 (2006 compilation)
320kbps, testing out a new upload service

There’s some overlap between this and the PENDERECKI comp I uploaded earlier, but this is a great standalone score. You end up realizing how much, even though the film is visually arresting, the music and droning really carries it.

I’m fairly obsessed with THE SHINING, it must be said. On paper, conceptually, it was Kubrick’s appeal to a mass audience, his popcorn movie. Consider that as he pulls you into a world darker than Stephen King had even imagined, into something truly primeval, and think about the effect of that on a mainstream movie audience in 1980. You have a more affecting, horrifying existential clusterfuck of a movie experience than anything in all of European Art Cinema/French New Wave, or that Jodorowsky stuff.

Thought this was a good read.

Anyway, this has 15 tracks. I’ve seen versions of this score with a few as 8 tracks, so there’s some compiling from different sources going on I suppose.

Various Artists-THE SHINING OST (1980)
VBR mostly 256