Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs - Their Second Album

Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs – Their Second Album
MGM, 1965
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2010
Price: $4

Well, I just finished reading the turbo-harrowing The Hunger Games, Jenny is at Ballet class and I'm trying to bide the time between when that class gets out and I get to have a corn dog at the Burger Stand and also trying to forget the ache in my loins from when the dog fucking flat out racked me this afternoon because I kept yelling “Squirrel! Squirrel!” and pointing at the trees despite there being no squirrels anywhere. In his unrestrained excitement, well, there's a dull ache in my nuts. And that sucks. But you know what doesn't suck? THIS ALBUM (and the Burger Stand's corn dog, which, if you haven't had, you should because it's not only the cheapest thing on the menu but it's really fucking tasty!)! Though Sam is best known for “Wooly Bully” which is used in every film set in the 60s, there aren't any real hits on this album. At least none that I ever heard on Oldies 95 in my formative years. Lead off track “Ju Ju Hand” was apparently a single, and it's easily the album's most forthright jam (even if it's a bit of a “Wooly Bully” rehash (see also: the Troggs)), but the rest of it is a more restrained affair. There's the almost parody-esque “Magic Touch,” which sounds like they're having a laugh on the slow dance songs from the 50s. Psychedelia is present whenever the carnivalesque organ comes into the picture, which it does pretty frequently. There are lots of references to magic, black magic, voodoo, witchcraft, and well, I guess they were going for that sort of spooky vibe. Then again, the album cover says it all. That's why I bought this record in the first place, I mean, look at that fucking thing! How could any self-respecting record collector (even an amateur novice like myself) turn down such a goddamned baffling, if beautifully designed, cover. I mean, is that guy gonna grab the lizard's tail and throw it in the pot because the “Love Potion #9” needs a lizard's tail? What's the guy next to him grinning about? Why is Sam the Sham looking so fucking awesome? What is that blonde guy digging for! IT's dangerous! And lastly, dude on the right, what's with the big fake frog! Love it! Spazzy garagey joy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hospital Ships - Carry On 7"

Hospital Ships – "Carry On" 7”
Graveface, 2010
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2010
Price: $6

Jordan Geiger is probably the best songwriter in this town, and the time he's been spending with Shearwater is probably only making him better. Hospital Ships, his on the sly side project from Minus Story, debut Oh, Ramona was a pretty wonderful record and “Carry On” is a gem that ranks right up there with the best songs off of that album. And it's on pink vinyl! Beautiful pink vinyl! And it does exactly what a 7” between albums should do: Make you fall down fucking excited for the follow-up. In Lawrence, I feel like there's a sort of fighting spirit that folks have in regards to local bands, in that was all want the people we're friends with and groups we see on a regular basis to make it big because well, they're just so fucking talented that everyone in the world should be just as gaga as we are. It's not even any sort of vain attempt to put Lawrence on the map or legitimize our scene, but just to share the wonderful jams coming from a select group of songwriters in this town. These songs sound like they're from the most intimate little bedroom on planet earth, and they're absolutely fantastic. This 7” is limited edition, so BUY A COPY RIGHT NOW. At Love Garden I think the first five people get little personalized cassette tapes. I got one with a weird looking dead face on the cover. I don't know why I picked it, and then I started thinking that maybe the covers represent the tone of the music and I might be right because my tape sounds like graveyard pop. Something from a warped VHS of some forgotten horror movie from the 70s with this weird drum machine. The B-side sounds like a lo-fi Jon Brion film score, if Jon Brion was actually Daniel Johnston. The first song sounds like it's going ot fall apart at any moment but manages to just barely hold itself together through its duration in a way that makes it kind of magnificent. It's a beautiful little outtake! Then there's a weird alternate universe version of “The Shots I Drank.” And then some weird thing that sounds like music from a short wave radio transmission. Yeah!