Witch Woman

Nightmare Great Balls of Fire 7" (PVK, 1979)

Here is one of those records that falls between the cracks. As it was released in 1979, it gets pegged as a punk single, but it really isn't. There is a bit of a glam sound ala Alice Cooper, but a bit cruder. The guitar has an out-of-this-world sound. It is something that you would find on the Pure Pop blog. And it is really good. I'm not talking about the single's A-side. That is a throw-away cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire." Nah, the killer here is the flip, "Witch Woman." 

The band Nightmare based its act on horror movies, and they did have an act, complete with props, dancing girls, fake blood and ghouls. This single was originally released in the UK, and reissued across Europe, where they achieved as much success as a band with a minor hit in Italy and Spain does. If you want to read more about Nightmare, the band leader keeps the name alive on this site


SS10: Feedtime 05.21.11

feedtime Shovel LP (Aberrant, 1986)

feedtime's reign was through the mid to late 1980s - a period of underground music that is legendary for being pretty dire. In reality, there were good things happening, but like the early 70s (once considered a musical wasteland), much of the good stuff was buried by crap. Punk bands had gotten really into "musicianship" or long-drawn out pot-head jams or the lure of commercial success and a lot of bands concentrated more on style than anything else. So what was on the surface was pretty crummy. However there were a few high points: feedtime was one of them. Their back-to-basics, no frills approach to rock & roll meant meaty chords, tough songs, high energy and no bullshit. 

feedtime wasn't just 1-2-3-4 Let It Rip. There was a little more. These Aussies really dug country blues in their songs you heard killer slide guitar and mutated blues progressions. I'm not talking fedora topped, hawaiian shirt wearing white dude blues or soul patch, flaming dice tattoo'd punk blues - but a perfect mating of Robert Johnson, flipper, and the Ramones. And that isn't all: feedtime were not only well versed in rock & roll (listen to their "covers" album Cooper S, a terrific collection of remakes owned by feedtime) but built on the sound of fellow Australian bands X and The Scientists. And for many of us who gobbled up feedtime records as they were coming out, feedtime was as good, as vital, and as important as X, the Scientists, the Saints, and any other Aussie punk legends. 

I am bringing feedtime to the States to play just one show as the original recording line-up as part of SS10, a weekend of shows in celebration of my record label's - S.S. Records - 10th anniversary.  feedtime will be playing on May 21, Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco.  Tickets and other information can be found at the SS10 website. Pass it on!

Meanwhile, enjoy these two songs from Shovel, feedtime's best album.


Bali Hai

Disconnection Bali Hai b/w Aaaah (Y Records, 1982)

The Rodgers & Hammerstein song "Bali Hai" first appeared in South Pacific in 1949 and foreshadows exotica. It has been covered hundreds of time in dozens of different settings. If you play this game of picking up random records for a buck or two, you've heard it done by high school jazz bands, college marching bands, lounge outfits, exotica artists, jazzbos, and surf bands. Here you get a version by the Y Records "house band" Disconnection. One of two, singles by the band (the second a 12"), Disconnection's treatment of "Bali Hai" is, you guessed it, soaked in disco. It is a good version: streamlined, not loaded with lots of instruments, easy on the ears. It is the flip, "Aaaah," which is the star here: Another sleak song, but this time not disco. This is a combination of exotica and no wave, soaring female vocals over fractured jazz-like rhythm. A tad slick, but addictive. Members of Disconnection later appeared in the post-punk/funk band Pigbag.


Deja Vu

Spliff Deja Vu 45 (CBS, 1982)

My memory is pretty damn good. I very, very rarely buy records I already have, I know where pretty much all of them are, and I can tell you the origin of nearly every one; however, I have no idea how this came into my possession. And when I dropped needle on it, I figured out why: What the hell would lead me to buy a record with an electric drum lead in. Perhaps this was a blind buy or maybe someone gave it to me. There is a German who I buy records from who uses other records as packing material. Maybe this is one of those. Whatever the case, I am glad I have it. 

Spliff were a short lived 80s band made up of former members of Nina Hagen's group. One of the guys produced a great album by the band Extrabreit. Some consider Spliff part of the NDW, others say "Nein." Me? Don't care. I do love the mesh of electric drums, processed guitar, fake Euro-funk, and lazy-sleazy German vocals. I've listened to this slab a dozen times straight and each time have a guilty chuckle. Hope you do, too.

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