All apologies for my prolonged absence, and apologies in advance for another forthcoming prolonged absence due to the holidaze. I've been busy over the past three weeks helping a new low-power FM station get on the air here in Champaign-Urbana. I'll be hosting a show on the station every other Wednesday evening, and for the time being you can listen online if you're so inclined. (I'll pass along those details later.) That's been taking up a LOT of my free time, hence no blogging. But enough with the excuses. Here's a slew of songs to keep you company until next week.

18th Dye - "Trains and Boats and Planes"

We start with a song inspired by my radio show. Last week I co-hosted with the fellow DJ that will be alternating shows with me. He spun a tune by Berlin's 18th Dye, whom some of you indie rockers may remember from Matador's hey-day in the mid-Nineties. They were an oft-overlooked group that recorded some of the most memorable, explosive, and obtuse indie rock of the past decade. Here's the b-side of their 1995 limited-edition seven-inch for The Flower Shop label: the Burt Bacharach/Hal Davis-penned tune, "Trains and Boats and Planes." That's not the gorgeous Heike Radeker on vocals; instead it's a guest spot from Signe Hoirup Wille-Jorgensen, whom I know nothing about.

Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers - "Tried So Hard"

I've long wanted to purchase this album, which as its self-title suggests features Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers. And I still don't own it; however, I've got a copy on loan. Recorded in 1967, it was Clark's first release after quitting The Byrds. For his backing band, he chose some current -- Mike Clarke and Chris Hillman -- and future -- Clarence White -- members of The Byrds, as well as Leon Russell and The Leaves' Bill Rinehart. Oddly enough, Clark left The Byrds before they recorded their fourth album, the exceptional Younger Than Yesterday, which also happens to be the title of my radio show.

Yo La Tengo - "Tried So Hard"

The reason I've long wanted to get the Clark album is because I loved Yo La Tengo's cover of "Tried So Hard," from their 1990 record Fakebook. Anyway, for comparison's sake, here's Tengo's version.

Magnolia Electric Co - "Werewolves of London"

While we're on the subject of covers, here's Jason Molina's version of Warren Zevon's 1978 hit "Werewolves of London". This is off of the new Magnolia Electric Co EP Hard to Love a Man.

Van Morrison - "Like a Cannonball"

Why I've never purchased Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey, I just don't know. I guess I can blame it on the lack of decent used record stores in town, which has prevented me from filling up back catalogues on some key artists. My good friend Jon, who is the one loaning me the Clark record, accompanied me to Springfield to visit downstate Illinois' best used record shop, Recycled Records. It's not long on post-1990 albums, but it's got a wealth of older records. I picked up Tupelo Honey for two bucks, in near-mint condition. And damn does it sound good! My late-Sixties, early-Seventies Van Morrison collection is now complete.

Shady Lady - "Save Me"

I certainly wasn't looking to round out my Shady Lady back catalogue when I ordered this LP from Anopheles Mail Order (run by the estimable Karl Ikola). In Ikola's description, he compared this L.A. band to the New York Dolls and promptly peaked my interest. Recorded sometime between 1970 and 1972, "Save Me" is not entirely representative of the band. Shady Lady does sound a bit like the Dolls (if dumbed down), but the record, Raving Mad, was a bit of a disappointment. Still I love this cut, which is pretty fucking weird, and sounds as if a strung-out Stefen Shady is fronting Spacemen 3. Sorry for the poor fidelity.

Justin Heathcliff - "You All Should Think More"

I've written in the past about Japan's Justin Heathcliff, but now that I've heard his self-titled 1971 album in its entirety, I'm going to expend a bit more effort in convincing you to track it down. (Try Forced Exposure, as they have it.) Click here to read what I wrote back in September, and for a little while I'll keep the old mp3 from that post active, too. This is Beatles-esque psych-pop at it's best!

Witchcraft - "Chylde of Fire"

Sweden's Witchcraft are back with a new offering to lay at the altar of Sabbath. Firewood follows up last year's self-titled debut, and is just as fun if you're into that whole Seventies gloom-and-doom hard rock thing. (I am.) Witchcraft takes every step possible to ensure that their recordings sound vintage, and I think you'll agree that they've accomplished that goal. What I really like about them is that one can hear more arcane influences in singer Magnus Pelander's lyrics. Like, say, Roky Erickson. Good stuff!

John Cale and Terry Riley - "The Protege"

I recently picked up another album that's been on my list for a couple years, the 1970 collaboration between John Cale and minimalist composer Terry Riley. Church of Anthrax is a mostly instrumental record featuring Cale and Riley tickling the ivory (piano, organ, harpsichord), with splashes of guitar, viola, bass, soprano sax, and drums thrown into the mix. The album doesn't sound much like anything either has done on their own, but it's worth owning if you're into the sort of oddball rock-"jazz" recordings of Robert Wyatt. This particular tune isn't as wild as it gets, but it's certainly a highlight among the record's six songs (and makes for a good music bed, too!).

That's it for this week at Jukebox Upchuck. See you after you've put on a few pounds, watched too much football, and become incredibly sick of your family.


They could beat the crap outta Broken Social Scene. They're way cooler than Do Make Say Think. And their name doesn't roll off the tongue of every hipster as does The New Pornographers. They're self-billed as Canada's first proto-punk band -- obviously a distinction without much dispute. Ladies and gentleman, meet SIMPLY SAUCER!

I finally got around to ordering their posthumous album Cyborgs Revisited, reissued a couple years ago on Get Back. I was timid to say the least about ordering a record from a band from the mid-Seventies that goes by the name Simply Saucer, for obvious reasons. Plus, they had been written up on another blog whose whereabouts escape me now, and in that write up the blogger mentioned that numerous music press had deemed Cyborgs to be the best Canadian album ever recorded. Anytime I hear "best ever" I cringe, because I know that I tend to throw around those words from time to time when I don't know what in the hell I'm talking about; I'm just blindly in love with whatever I'm listening to at that moment (and probably haven't given said record much context).

But the write up on Anopheles mailorder again caught my eye, and this time I indulged myself. In addition to more praise, Anopheles described the songs on Cyborgs as "head-psych-jammers that butt forehead to forehead with Metal Machine Music." Certainly, not a description that one stumbles across every day. So I threw my $12 on the table and walked away with a Simply Saucer record.

I've listened to it the grand total of two-and-a-half times. I have yet to master it's domain, but so far I'm really digging the group's all-over-the-map tendencies. I can hear why these guys have been compared to the following bands: Pink Fairies, Stooges, VU, Hawkwind, and Can. They're spacey at times, too, employing analog electronics to fuck up the place.

What the esteemed listener gets with Simply Saucer is a mixed bag, a band that can sound sort of like Deep Purple one minute, and Pere Ubu the next. Since this album is just an unreleased recording session -- who knows if it was ever intended for release -- it's hard to say if this best represents what Simply Saucer was all about. (All these guys from Hamilton, Ontario ever officially released was a seven inch.) But I do know that it's quite easy to see why Simply Saucer is considered a band that was ahead of their time. Regardless of the fact that they fell into a crack for 15 years until this album was originally released in 1990 (and then promptly fell into another crack for more than a decade until its re-release), Simply Saucer is worth a bit of inspection.

"Nazi Apocalypse" is a really fucking cool song, even if it doesn't find the band at their strangest. You can imagine a young, impressionable Thurston Moore hearing this song in 1979 and having a light bulb click on above his head. And for contrast, I'll also run with "Bullet Proof Nothing," which lathers on the Lou Reed like cheap shaving cream. It's hard to believe that both songs come from the same album, let alone the same band.

Simply Saucer - "Nazi Apocalypse"

Simply Saucer - "Bullet Proof Nothing"

To read what others think of Simply Saucer, go here or here or here.


The original animal man was not this dude, nor was it the former Alex P. Keaton or this furball. No, folks, it was Kim Fucking Fowley, possibly the most un-sung zero of the under-over-ground rock and roll producer sect of the Swingin' Sixties and the Stoned Seventies. He had his hands on everything from Cat Stevens and The Runaways to Soft Machine and "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow". When he wasn't playing the part of Phil Spector-cum-Joe Meek, he was lending a helping hand to The Byrds and The Beach Boys, or better yet writing his own "obscuro" material. The man is a genius, and he's finally getting his due thanks to the compilations Underground Animal and Impossible But True, the latter of which comes more highly recommended.

Here's a few tracks from Impossible But True to showcase Fowley's warped genius. We start with "Animal Man," released in 1968 shortly after Fowley turned down an offer from Frank Zappa to become a permanent member of the Mothers of Invention. Then we'll cruise back in time to 1963 to hear "Popsicles & Icicles," a song produced (but not written) by Fowley for an all-girl group called The Murmaids. He hoped they would become the female equivalent of The Beach Boys. The single reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts, but obviously the girls lacked the staying power of the Wilson brothers.

Finally, I give you one of my favorite garage tunes of all time, the 'N Betweens' "Security". The song is a brilliant adaptation of the Otis Redding original, and while the 'N Betweens flopped, this cover has stood the test of time.

Kim Fowley - "Animal Man"

The Murmaids - "Popsicles & Icicles"

'N Betweens - "Security"

For more on Kim Fowley, see his home on the web, which appears as if it was designed in the year 1997.