If you didn’t know who the Continental Drifters were, and happened upon Drifted: In The Beginning & Beyond, you might be struck by the indelible, vivid lyrics of their songs, or perhaps the band’s excellent playing. Maybe their fine harmonies might get you. Or it could be the various singers in the band, each with their own honed, matchless style. Perhaps you would be drawn to the hooky Americana or the eclectic, delightful cover songs on disc two of this collection.
When Roger Corman approached Jack Hill to make a film about stock car racing, Hill was hesitant; he hated both stock car racing and movies about stock car racing. The fact that Pit Stop is such a marvelous example of 1960s independent art cinema is a huge testament to Jack Hill’s tenacity and talent.
In 1979, The Bay City Rollers shook things up. Eager to shrug off the mantle of being a teeny bopper band, they refused to do the cover versions that their record label Arista demanded and parted ways with their lead singer, Les McKeown, along with their exploitative manager (whom I will not name because he was a dreadful person), yearning to show the world that they rocked. On their last album for Arista, Voxx, they did just that. Mostly.
By Tyler Hodg
Before he was known as an outspoken, gunslinging political pundit, Ted Nugent was a platinum-selling artist, with his first hit album being 1976’s Free-For-All. Nearly 40 years after its release, the album has been brought to back into the light in a polished remastered version. Free for All is arguably Ted Nugent’s finest musical achievement, and it’s only fitting that a celebration is called for on the eve of its 40th anniversary.
Chicago-based Numero Group wants to fill your summer with eclectic songs you’ve never heard: songs to watch submarine races by, songs to fill your tear ducts, songs to catch that first kiss on the dance floor, songs that make you need to get up and shake that thing. Their latest carefully curated reissue is a 28-track collection by San Antonio’s the Royal Jesters. Active in the 1960s and ‘70s, the Royal Jesters never had that big breakthrough hit, but their marriage of doo wop harmonies and mariachi horn sensibilities, as well as some fine, sometimes wildly experimental organ playing makes this compilation, Royal Jesters: English Oldies, well worth a listen.
By Tim Murr
I find it hard to believe that there once existed a band that featured guest appearances from James Williamson (The Stooges) and a young Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne) that I’ve never heard of and you probably haven’t, either. But it’s true! The band is called Smokey.
If we Americans have learned anything over the last 20 years, it’s that Australia is hell on earth. Spiders bigger than your face, jellyfish that can kill you from ten miles away, sharks, Yahoo Serious. . . it’s the kind of place we should really nuke from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
At its dark little heart, the 1978 Australian film Long Weekend is about hell, and the different ways that concept can manifest itself into reality.
The record collection of The Cramps’ Lux Interior and Poison Ivy was massive and eclectic, as well documented on the Internet, the truest of all informational sources. In 2013, Cherry Red Records released Loose Lips Might Sink Ships (review), a 26-track album of instrumentals from their collection, and now, a follow-up has arrived: 60 Songs From The Cramps’ Crazy Collection: The Incredibly Strange Music Box. It’s the kind of riff-filled, oddly charming, mish mash of things that one would expect and hope for. There’s exotica, rockabilly, novelty singles, and a curious preoccupation with voodoo and fancy words (“Ginchy” “Groovy” and “Limbo”!). It’s enormously fun.
Since Michael Gira’s band, Swans, has come back onto the scene, they’ve garnered more critical acclaim than ever, and new fans are running alongside the bandwagon, flailing arms up in the air, and hoping to swing aboard. Now that Swans debut album Filth has been remastered and re-released as a special three-disc set, this is a perfect opportunity for new fans to climb on up and get acquainted with the old stuff.
With so many musical legends gone, it’s amazing that Little Richard is still with us. Now, his status as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll stars is firmly established. Even contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race have imitated him (Kennedy Davenport won this season’s Snatch Game with her Little Richard impersonation), so that all parts of his career, including his part in LGBT history, are being celebrated.