Apologies for the long hiatus; I tried to stay away from computers for as long as possible over the holidays. Not a complete break from music, though, thanks to a four-year-old alternating between his versions of “Barbie Girl” and various Joanna Newsom songs, and a bunch of records I kept close to me for the fortnight.
A couple that worked particularly well were “Primary Colours” by the Eddy Current Suppression Ring and the sampler of the forthcoming 13th Floor Elevators box set. “Primary Colours” is one of those records I’ve come to rather late, in spite of being tipped off about the band by our man in Australia, Jon Dale, something like a year ago.
It’s also one of those records which initially seems to be kind of disposable fun, daft thanks to the names of the band (Brendan Suppression, Eddy Current, Rob Solid, Danny Current), but becomes tenaciously insinuating after a few plays. Ostensibly, it’s Aussie garage rock played with energy and precision by four men who met at a vinyl-pressing plant, in the bug-eyed and skinny tradition of all those bands on the “Do The Pop!” comp.
But there’s a lot more going on there besides that kind of wired Nuggets/Doors/proto-punk thing, however much Brendan Suppression might leer and drawl. There’s a lot of “Blank Generation” bones and indignation, perhaps more Hell-era Television than the Voidoids, especially on the opening “Memory Lane”.
Better still, the band go into these scrambled unravellings from time to time that put them into more of an avant-garage continuum rolling back through The Fall in their mid-‘80s pomp to Malcolm Mooney-period Can. Check out “Colour Television” or “I Admit My Faults” (neither if which figure on their myspace, somewhat inevitably) – the best new garage band I’ve come across in a good while, I think.
And one which sounds very nice when played next to this 13th Floor Elevators sampler. “Sign Of The 3 Eyed Men” looks like a monstrous and desirable object, being a 10-CD anthology of the sainted psych-punks. As usual, I can’t pretend to be a scholar of bootlegs and marginalia, so you’ll have to forgive me for not analysing what is authentically unreleased here; I know there have been fidelity issues around some Elevators repackages in the past, which don’t seem to be the case here if the 13 tracks on the sampler are anything to go by.
What’s most striking, perhaps, is that while it’s easy to get distracted by the erratic mythology of Roky Erickson, the basic truth about his band was that they were remarkable for their menace and vigour, not least live – killer versions of “Roller Coaster” and “You Don’t Know” attest to as much here. Hopefully someone at International Artists will bless me with the full thing.
If and when, I’ll report back. In the meantime, happy new year, and a belated thanks for all of your comments and insights through 2008 – apart from the dorks screaming for me to leak the Animal Collective album, of course. That’s out in a week I think (and finally leaked too, I believe); please let me know what you think, after all the hyperbole I’ve slung its way over the past couple of months or so.