Rollin on with albums from the archive, I present these treats for your amusement:
The Jam, Snap!- 2 LP This seminal trio at their finest – well it’s a collection of their finest. Sounds so fresh and explosive even now. Great gatefold deco and liner note copy-writing. Explodes out of speakers and especially love the ambient tube sounds of “Down in Tube Station at Midnight”.
Oingo Boingo, Only A Lad 10 inch, 4 song EP
No other band sounds anything like Oingo Boingo — started as something like a 15 piece, whittled down to more like six, with marimbas and percussive elements along with electronics to make a completely new and extremely danceable heady brew (for you youngsters, this was Danny Elfman of every Tim Burton soundtrack fame)’s band. Also the 10inch 4 song EP is the best music format ever created.
The Specials, The Specials From the opening track “message to you Rudy”, the drum sound is massive and hollow and upfront, the guitars are crisp and restrained, and the stories are all songs (or vice versa) — while they lost their drummer this year, this band is touring, played the Warfield in San Francisco just recently. As an aside, I was fortunate to share a speaking gig with the guitarist Lynval Goulding at SxSw.
Life in the European Theater, Compilation Opens with The Clash’s London Calling and just rocks on from there with aforementioned the Jam & the Specials, plus XTC, Au Pairs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Madness, The Beat, The Undertones (all of the above of UK bands of course), with The Doors’ almost forgotten Peace Frog as (somewhat inexplicably) the only American entry. This was released in 1981 so the first sample of a lot new sounds for this West Coast kid.
For the record, in Sept 2016, picked up a couple of crates of vinyl which I left in a friends dad’s basement in Salt Lake City when I left Grateful Dead tour in 1991 and ended up in Europe, Japan, Micronesia, Cascadia and many departures between. Collecting them now, feels like 20-year-old self wrote a letter for me to receive just when I needed it most. #MusicHeals
* First, a dispatch comes from Paul save her up David Letterman/SNL fame (and a fellow Canadian) riffing about poet/singer/everything Bob Dylan with anecdotes laden with name-drops in context here in Vanity Fair in 2009 (with David Ritz).
Bob Dylan’s Band Camp The legendary maestro remembers a soul-rattling moment with his musical—and religious—guru.
* Next up in a series of dispatch about music/journalism/stories comes connective tissue – so to speak – between Paul Schaffer and Bob Dylan (ha ha, I know)…
Neil Young has transformed himself from album to album, decade to decade, always managing to stay relevant, yet often playing for the future rather than the present.
The most salient example of this is his early 1980s album “Trans” in which he experimented with synthesizers and voice-coders and all of these electro-tools, along with his usual clever song writing and occasional guitars…
I bought the album as a young fella and was a bit confused at first expecting something more like “rust never sleeps”, but soon I understood the importance of experimentation and being true to the sounds you wanted to create (in this case, connecting with his sensory disabled son).
This article by Richard McKenna in We Are Mutants unpacks the project in nuanced detail.
* Completing a trifecta, this dispatch chronicles the life and career (as it were) of an under-appreciated talent, Alex Chilton (see: Big Star, Boxtops and others).
You can “blame“ his erstwhile under-appreciation on poor performing record label promotion departments, being in wrong place wrong time, the usual addictions and malcontents etc. but no mistaking his influence on future musicians who combined his dedication to craft and go-for-broke skills into music which was influenced by, or about, him.
Lindsay Zoladz’s article is also a good reminder to support your local up-and-comers as any of them could be the next Alex Chilton, or rather the first themselves.
December Boy: On Alex Chilton The late lead singer of Big Star and the Box Tops had a trove of unreleased music unearthed. What can we learn from the gifted, self-destructive genius?
By partnering with Archeology, the Artist(s) will receive: continuing distribution and promotion campaigns; the support and expertise of an outside experienced voice; the digital and cultural connections made by distributing on a label with other bands and related fans; and allow the artist to have satisfying feeling that their music is being shared on to the world… And possibly making some money doing so.
The agreement between Archeology and the Artist(s) will be for a set period of time for specific tracks/albums. Either Artist or Archeology may cancel the agreement with three months written notice at any time, at which point all work done by Archeology for the artist will be removed from all distribution channels.
Please note: While Archeology will endeavour for successful and wide distribution of the artists’ work, this is not designed to “make anybody rich“ but rather to get your diligently-made music in the ears and more fans and produce a moderate revenue stream. Think music for beer money, rather than music sitting in a shoebox going nowhere.
Archeology records will:
Distribute artist music across most all applicable digital channels including Spotify, iTunes, Google, Pandora, Tidal… etc.
Create and/or enhance and/or manage social media campaigns for the artists in collaboration with the artist
Provide education and assistance for community building to build audience including promotions, publicity and media nurturing strategies, and other related tactics
Transparently compensate artist (likely quarterly) for split of all royalties earn from all distribution channels
Collaborate with artists to produce physical artifacts for sale in other forms including vinyl, cassette, cd… And related merchandising items – posters, picks, pics, set lists…
Seek synch licensing arrangements for songs to be used in TV/movies/commercials as deemed appropriate with desires of artist
Provide Archeology with high-quality recordings, cover art, band photos, candid photos, lyrics, publishing credits, and any other material deemed necessary by Archeology for accurately listing, distributing and compensating artist
Access to manage, or permission to create, various social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud etc
Provide permission for Archeology to distribute music exclusively on digital channels for designated period
Provide a single point of contact for payment of royalties, decisions about art, release dates as applicable, and any other matters which arise from this relationship
Be responsible for distributing royalty payments with in the band/artist as appropriate for the band relationship. Archeology will make one payment to the band, and not divide up between members, songwriters, contributors etc.
Provide Archeology with signed releases to act on behalf with any managers, consultants or adviser and make label aware of any such relationships in advance.
Archeology Records is a project to distribute and promote underknown/grassroots music to allow existing audiences to enjoy more easily, and find new audiences.
Importantly, Archeology Records wants artist to retain ownership of masters, and not be obligated to record more, release less and overall enjoy complete artistic freedom.
Many bands and artists record songs and/or albums and may distribute locally on a small scale but overall these recordings are under-distributed and perhaps under-listened and appreciated. Sadly, these projects get abandoned to shoeboxes in attics and garages as media formats changes, priorities change.
However, with some simple social community building tactics and digital distribution – combined with analog artifacts merchandising – artists can resurrect these treasures to share with audience, getting creations into ears… and possibly connect with fans and spread music while making some money.
Expectation is that Artist will take active part of promotion and cross-promotion with label-mates using communications and resources provided by Archeology.
My i present *the* magical musical moment you will never forget? Jugband “Vomit and the Big Chunks” on their reunion tour performing their theme song “Dry Heaves” – featuring Larry Harper on vox, kazoo and autoharp.
My good buddy Mac Kobayashi runs a small farm in Okayama, Japan (really my fave all around place in the country as nice mix of city/country, beach/mountains, trad/modern culture) making goat cheese/milk and serving delightful craft bevvies and meals.
He also has a truly epic music collection, especially Grateful Dead related, but also Allmans, Phish, String Cheese… as well as Americana galore including Wilco, Ry Cooder, Townes Van Zandt, and poets Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith and Courtney Barnett, and more and more and more (!).
I (not shockingly) especially enjoy the GD box sets and books as i see them advertised but never had chance to look/listen/touch myself… until his farm. Such elegant collections in wooden boxes, suitcases and curious box sets. Plus dang near every book ever about GD.
I rounded-up a few snap selection (but not all by any stretch) for my amusement and by-association-collection and invite you to look along. Includes the Europe 72 suitcase pack, the set with a show from each year + 7″ single from 65/95, a stack of books, a set from Fare Thee Well, some backstage passes stuck on coffee cans, and also a photo of the charming farmer himself and some of his happy animals.