Tuesday, 24 March 2015

SPURNED CLASSIC! - Down In L.A. by Brewer & Shipley

Brewer & Shipley
Down In L.A.

A young girl sleeps 
and her dreams are laced with silver...

First off, sweet genius that's a magnificent cover isn't it...Mmm green and yellow...I really love this album. This is the sound of the West Coast in that great transitional year of 1968. Things haven't gotten too rural yet (these dudes probably had moustaches not beards), but in the aftermath of psychedelia something irrevocable has happened, the mystical has become implicit in the everyday, so even when you think you're just hearing these kinda traditional, simple harmony-laden folky songs, there's something about them that just feels different. The harmonies are delightful, the songs elegant and organic; acoustic guitars, a tinkle of harpsichord, wind chimes, some subtle orchestration and softly crashing cymbals, close your eyes and you're in Laurel Canyon with the sun in your eyes and the breeze in your fur. This is B&S's debut album, and I wish someone would reissue their 2nd and 3rd albums stat (Weeds and Tarkio?) as I bet they're all kinds of good too. Listen to Green Bamboo, it's great isn't it? You can totally imagine Peter Fonda listening to it by his pool, loving life. Down In L.A. captures that moment in time beautifully, folk-rock turning into roots-rock, kinda Byrdsy, kinda Buffalo Springfield, it is consistently brilliant. Before long things would get heavier, lengthier, or just more deep south, the whiff of the FSM marches and the coffee houses would be well and truly redundant, but you can still hear them a little here. It's a fugitive moment, but this album puts you right there.  

Now we beat on the drum
Aquarian dancers come...

Green Bamboo

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Jellyfish Shampoo

And I still hear guitars in the air
as we sat in the sand...
Hollyann - Boston


Sometime in the late 80's, I would've been about 8 or 9, while we were on holiday in Italy visiting family and spending a lot of time at the beach, my dad came up with the idea of Jellyfish Shampoo. He'd be working on his tan in this pair of skintight Moschino shorts with a heart on them and must've had some kind of lightbulb moment. What's the opposite of an epiphany? I remember pop's craze that year was aromatherapy and i think he'd read somewhere that jellyfish had some properties that were good for your hair. My dad's a hairdresser, by the way. If you see pictures of me during that holiday you'd notice that my dad had been practising the Rod Stewart fashion-mullet on his youngest boy with mixed results. My head looked massively out of proportion with my tiny physique, about five times larger than the sun. Anyway, that summer we kept finding jellyfish washed up on the shore, and dad took some back to where we were staying and boiled them up in a saucepan with a bunch of sugar and some other shit. The result was sticky for sure, more like hair glue, but instead of actual glue it was a combination of jellyfish and sugar. Despite his having no knowledge of even basic chemistry he thought 'fuck it' and went with inspired guesswork. Jellyfish Shampoo was too batshit crazy to exist. Sometimes i think about it and have to hand it to him, he had the tenacity to try despite all logic. Other times i think, stupid.

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