Elliott Murphy (1976) Night Lights (LP) RCA (APL1-1318)

Elliott Murphy

 Night Lights 

1976

RCA (APL1-1318)

Produced by Steve Katz

*** noteworthy

This third long-player by Murphy is produced by Steve Katz (fresh from producing a string of Reed albums) and features Doug Yule (Velvet Underground), Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers) and Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), and on one cut a 4th-grade chorus.  It sounds very much like the arty side of mid 70s New York–perhaps a bit too much for many listeners–and appears to be heavily influenced by English artists such as Ian Hunter and David Bowie and especially by fellow East Coasters Jonathan Richman and Lou Reed.

Reportedly Murphy’s earlier albums show more of a Dylan influence, but the imprint still remains here, becoming clear on “Lady Stiletto” (which sounds like it must be about Patti Smith). While this album sounds more arty and urban than the following three artists, you can sense a connection with Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Waits, and Murphy perhaps helps shed some light on a bridge between Dylan and those three artists.

It’s easy to see why some were looking at Waits, Springsteen or Murphy as sort of the new Dylan. And these three clearly had more than that in common.  Their music was informed by American folk but clearly urban.  Each had released two albums that were praised by critics but ignored by the masses, and by 1976, all three had recently recorded a third album.  It’s also easy to see why Bruce and Tom eventually found much more success.


It’s also easy to see why folks today focus on other music from this specific time and place.

While Murphy picks some great influences, so many others from this setting were focused on creating something new–a brand-new sound rising from the corpses of the past. Most bands looked back to pre-Sgt. Pepper 1960s but also looked to create something all their own. And unlike Murphy, most were not introspective and arty.

In 1976, the Ramones released their first album, the Dictators had done that the year before, the Talking Heads were getting ready for 1977, Patti Smith was spitting about a “Piss Factory,” Blondie were doing their thing, and bands such as Suicide were clearly taking the past and making something new.
Of course, there was much more.
Finally in 1976, the parts of the world interested in the underground got a taste of what was going down on the east Coast when both the CBGB and At the Rat compilations were released. While the bands from these albums have been mostly ignored, many were clearly creating a sound that would influence every aspect of punk/independent/underground music.  And that music influenced everything else.


On the other hand, one can’t help but focus more at what was going down elsewhere on the east coast at this time, but his album by Murphy certainly has its moments, even if those moments often sound stolen.  You have to appreciate that he doesn’t hide his influences, with for example, vocal elements on “Lookin’ For A Hero” clearly coming from Velvet Underground (who had borrowed those elements themselves).
Likely folks will find this set fairly enjoyable or fairly annoying.

— winch: author of

 

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La Misma (2016) Kanizadi (LP) estado tóx’co 023

Kickboxing with a pack of girls, endless rumpus stomp and jarring jabs, tons of fun and more than a little bit menacing, snapping at you in language you can’t understand (unless you’re maybe from Brazil or Portugal then maybe if they let you you can wrap your fingers around the fists and get some inside grin) snapping at the heels of some demons in a language any punk in the world is bound to understand.


It’s amazing to me that it’s the future now and people are still making kickass punk statements like this.

— winch

author of

Nude Beach (2010) s/t (LP) 

Nude Beach

Self titled

2010

Mandible Records


Debut from this Brooklyn trio…power pop punk..sounding somewhat like Pittsburgh’s Beach Slang (who came after this band) and the Cynics (who came long before) and probably all the bands that influenced those bands…the Replacements… Springsteen…bands of the 60s–both the American garage power pop of that decade and bands like Buffalo Springfield…the earthy elements recalling Tom Petty…even chucking an easily recognizable instrumental nod to Memphis R&B, which is much appreciated since where would we be without the contributions of that town.


This is punk rock most anyone would enjoy, from your high school teacher to even your aging baby boomer aunt.  Enjoyable set, noteworthy 21st century garage.

— winch (author of Junk Like That and Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)

Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band Meets King Penett (1978) RCA (AFL1-2402)

Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band
Meets King Penett
RCA (AFL1-2402)
1978
Producer: Stony Browder, Jr.
Rating: **** (Recommended)

This NYC outfit was primed for continued success but with this second album, they pulled further back into their own thing and offered more focus on acoustic instrumentation.  This is quite similar to the debut, except with less of the blatant disco elements.  All this didn’t help this group commercially, but it certainly helped create another timeless set.

   

While this again mixes all kinds of styles from the past and takes plenty of risks, it’s also quite cohesive.  Some have pointed out an experimental quality to this album, but the songs are also accessible pop music.  This blending of pop styles must have had an influence on other artists.  


While the instrumentations come from many sources, Cory Daye’s wonderful vocals are at the front of much of the material, and the influence this band had on vocalist Sade is especially clear on this album.  Of course, this is a bit more playful and considerably more interesting.

And the influences go beyond the obvious.

While Quincy Jones likely had an influence on this music, this band probably also inspired Mr. Jones.  And I can’t help wonder if we would have had Purple Rain without albums such as this one.  Rain is a completely different album, but both sets have an ambitious and adventurous quality, and both run through a variety of sounds while still sounding cohesive.
While this didn’t sell well, and even today some might find this set a disappointment after their classic debut, this still has plenty of charm.  In fact, it has charm to spare.

It’s a set you could play for your great-grandma or your teenage daughter, and you’d probably get grins from both of them.  It’s another fine example of their neo-retro pop music.

— winch

Stoney Browder, Jr.: production, music, vocals, guitar, piano
August Darnell: lyrics, vocals, bass
Cory Daye: vocals
Mickey Sevilla: drums
Andy Hernandez: vibes, marimba, accordion
Orchestrations: Jimmy Haskell & Van Alexander

Blondie: Little Doll (LP) 1979 bootleg

Blondie
Little Doll
Barbie Records
1979
***** Good Shit


Pretty great bootleg from 1979 Dallas show, radio broadcast, top-notch sound capturing the band just before things would go wrong.

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Ignoring Plastic Letters, the set offers two cuts from each of the other albums from the 70s, concluding with a rocking ’60s medley that crashes into a version of Iggy Pop’s “Funtime.”

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The album ends with demo cuts from 1975, including a version of the Shangra-La’s 1965 “Out in the Streets” which is pure gold.

— winch

http://www.eight-track.com

The Little Killers (Album) 2003

The Little Killers
The Little Killers
Crypt Records
2003

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NYC garage stomp, the guy doing the lead vocals, the first of two sets, the sound coming from the South but with that East-Coast R&B swagger, taking cues from the best years of rock and roll: 1954 – 1963.

— winch (author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s and the two-part novel Junk Like That)

http://www.eight-track.com/Eight_Track_Publishing.php

http://www.amazon.com/Winch/e/B00MGBTVLU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1419746463&sr=8-1