1971: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter

Wikipedia Brown chooses six cerebral, melancholy, singer-songwriter albums that were released 50 years ago!

Eugene McDaniels – Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse

A psychedelic soul masterpiece with the incisive lyrical content of a great protest album. A criminally overlooked message of anti-war, anti-imperialism, and ant-racism with a deeply funky groove.

Dory Previn – Mythical Kings and Iguanas

The album title sounds like prog-rock bombast, but this record could not be any more different. These are dark, unusual folk ballads with fascinating lyrics about exorcising your demons and finding love. 

Nick Drake – Bryter Layter

Released in March of 1971, this was Drake’s second album. Exquisitely arranged music and lush, opulent instrumentation. A somber, quiet masterpiece. 

Joni Mitchell – Blue

One of the greatest albums of all time. A groundbreaking work of confessional songwriting and personal intimacy paired with some of Joni’s most accessible and melody-driven compositions. 

Bill Fay – Time of the Last Persecution

A dark, sparse album recorded in a single day. This is biblical, prophecy-laden, harrowing music from a relatively unknown folk songwriter. 

Loudon Wainwright III – Album II

Depressing, imaginative, and often funny, Loudon’s second album is just like the man himself: divisive but usually entertaining. A cynical look at early fatherhood and life on the road. 

Wikipedia Brown hosts Missed Connections every other Sunday at 2pm. Rare soul, world funk and vintage weirdness all joined by a common thread. Find out how it’s all connected…

WFMH Shares 5 Asian Songs to Celebrate Asian Lunar New Year: Year of the Metal Ox

February 12, 2021 marks a new Asian Lunar calendar year for the Year of the Ox. The corresponding element for 2021 is Metal and many fortune tellers predict this year will be lucky for financial opportunities and relationships.

The Ox represents a year of hard work and overcoming challenges where financial prosperity will be rewarded to individuals who have the capacity, resources and health to face their challenges. Yin energy is relative to Oxen where 2021 will be an antagonistic year, beginning with the full weight of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing economic crises that is causing pestilence and strife for us all. 

To lessen the burden or Tai Sui in the Year of the Metal Ox, believers in the Chinese zodiac can wear yellow and green plus metal accessories, which, according to Feng Shui theory, attract prosperity and luck. 

No further catastrophic events are predicted for 2021, and there is a favorable forecast for economic recovery and attaining a global health equilibrium, if discipline and work focusing on problems are tackled in an organized effort. 

“In the middle of chaos lies opportunity.” – Bruce Lee

Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy New Year) from Weekend Family Music Hour! We wish you all safety, health, luck and love in The Year of the Metal Ox. Please enjoy 5 of our favorite Asian music artists to start off the New Asian Lunar Year. 

“Fireworks” by Sanullim 

Sanullim or Sanulrim was a Korean psychedelic, fuzz/folk, experimental and prog rock band formed in 1977 by brothers Kim Chang Wan (1954-), Kim Chang-hoon (1956-) and Kim Chang-ik (1958-2008). The brothers started Sanullim while they were attending university and they never envisioned they would attain the musical commercial success that they did. 

Their first album Vol. 1 Already Now (1977) burst onto the Korean music scene, stewarding a new sound of psychedelic hard rock and folk fuzz produced by the brothers. Sanullim’s debut re-energized the Korean music scene which was publicly sullied at the time, following several rock musicians arrests for cannabis-related offenses in the 1970s. 

Sanullim released over 10 albums between 1977-1984 and were also session players for other musicians. With the resurgence of the K-pop boom in the 1990s, all of their albums were reissued, along with a tribute album commemorating the band. They performed in Seoul on July 5th and 6th, 2007 for their 30th anniversary tribute and had plans to release their Vol. 14 album that year. But due to unfortunate circumstances, drummer Kim Chang-ik was killed in a traffic accident on Jan 29, 2008 while driving a forklift in heavy snow in Vancouver, Canada. Kim Chang-wan announced the disbandment of Sanullim after his brother’s death (wiki). 

快樂的人 (Happy People) by Teresa Teng

Teng Li-Chun aka Teresa Teng (1953-1995) was a Taiwanese singer, musician and actor who was also known as the “Queen of Mandopop.” She began after dropping out of high school to pursue a career as a singer and was signed in 1968 at the age of fifteen. Teng’s vocal abilities to synthesize pop, jazz and traditional folk pushed her to the forefront as an entertainer in Mandarin language music, and within the next two decades, she rose to superstardom in the Chinese language world. With her ability to sing in other languages, she quickly became an entertainment icon throughout Asia. 

Teng’s huge success grated on Chinese authorities, especially since her family fled the Communist regime after the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese government would often criticize Teng’s music for containing pornographic and degenerate messaging. Her songs were always a jab to the Party chairman, ‘Deng’ Xiaoping whose family name she shared. In China there was a popular saying: by day people had to listen to “old Deng” but at night people listened to “little Teng” because they wanted to. Teng passed away from asthma complications in Thailand but she continues to live on through her entertainment career (Hsu, 2015, The New Yorker).

高凌風 夏天的浪花 (Last Train to London) by Frankie Kao 

Ko Yuan-Cheng (1950-2014) aka Frankie Kao and Kao Ling-feng was a Taiwanese singer, actor and television show host. He was given the moniker The Frog Prince by his friend and comedian, Ni Min-jan. Kao starred in 14 films and released 11 albums, plus participated in many live events, singing, dancing and showcasing his unique fashion and adaptability in music/entertainment styles. 

Kao lived his life to the fullest, marrying three times in his life and prospering with 6 children. He continued to perform until his demise at the age of 63 from leukemia (wiki).

Private Eyes” by Sam Hui

Samuel Hui Koon-kit born Sept 6, 1948, aka Sam Hui or The God of Song is a major superstar in the Cantopop world. Hui is a musician, actor and songwriter who popularized Western style songs with his colloquial Cantonese over vernacular traditional Chinese to advocate and contrast his positionality to support socially equitable change for working class people. Hui was born in Guangzhou, China and his family fled to Hong Kong in 1950 as refugees where he attended university. He began his singing career in 1967 and was signed to Diamond Records. Hui began his television career as a youth music television host on TVB and then hosted a show with his brother, Michael Hui on the Hui Brothers Show in 1971. 

Hui later signed with Polydor and released his first single in English, “April Lady.” He performed English songs in the United States and the United Kingdom. He released his album, Game Gamblers Play as a soundtrack to the movie with the same name that was directed by his brother. 

Hui’s popularity helped influence the Cantopop genre where his messages advocating for working class people resonated with many Hong Kongese, satirizing Hong Kong society and culture. His soundtrack to Private Eyes from 1976 cemented his stance as the God of Song. Hui’s life work includes 27 albums and 23 films. He continues to reside in Hong Kong and is a loving grandfather and father (wiki). 

Many Chinese actors and singers have purported Hui to be an inspiration for them to pursue singing and acting. This includes the late great Leslie Cheung, the prolific queer entertainer who completed suicide by jumping from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong on Aprils Fools Day 2003. Cheung’s death sent shockwaves throughout Asia and helped bring awareness to the stigmas surrounding mental health struggles that LGBTQ Chinese people continue to face in a hetetronormative society.

Band on The Run” by The Wynners

Fans of the Cantopop genre are aware of popular English cover songs sung in English, Cantonese or Hong Kongese. Hong Kong was under British rule from 1841 to 1997 in a peace deal to end the first Opium War. It became a prosperous democracy for the British Empire and a cultural melting pot where Western music was embraced by many.

The Wynners are a Hong Kong band that was formed in the 1970s with members, Alan Tam (lead vocals), Kenny Bee (lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards), Bennett Pang (lead guitar), Danny Yip (bass) and Anthony Chan (drums). The Wynners were assembled by manager Pato Leung out of an earlier carnation of the band, The Loosers. 

The Wynners became one of the most popular teen idol bands in Hong Kong because they covered many Western hits including, “Sha-La-La-La” by The Walkers, “Save Your Kisses for Me” by Brotherhood of Man and “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. The Wynners commercial success was supported with their own show on TVB, The Wynners Specials (1975) plus three feature films that are musical dramas Let’s Rock (1975), Gonna Get You (1976) and Making It (1978). 

Never formally disbanded, Alan Tam and Kenny Bee went on to pursue solo careers and were popular in Hong Kong in the 1980s. The Wynners continue to reunite every five years to sold-out crowds, such as playing at benefitting events to support tsunami victims in Japan April 2011, Love Beyond Borders organized by Jackie Chan. Plus a benefit concert Nov, 2014 at the Oracle Arena where proceeds went to Family Bridges a non-profit organization in Oakland, CA that supports newly migrated Asian seniors and families to the United States (wiki).  

Written by Karen Lee (Weekend Family Music Hour)

Weekend Family Music Hour has been with Freeform Portland since the station was established. As a family we have grown with the station & feel so privileged to have an affordable family activity that brings us together with your family’s lives, letting us share our musical household tastes. We love reciting Chinese horoscope predictions for Asian Lunar New Year, playing our Moog on Halloween, selecting songs based on politics or societal challenges and holidays! Check out our seasonal shows! Mostly ethnic; folk, rock, synth, disco, soul, hip hop, experimental and jazz/tongue jazz.

George Clinton: Dada Revolutionary – by Sharyll Burroughs

I recently read that the Dada art movement was an irreverent, rowdy revolution.  While there are plenty of thick, overly intellectualized tomes devoted to Dada, rowdy and irreverent will do just fine when describing the work of funk music legend and Dadaist George Clinton. The problem is that the art world doesn’t have a clue.

For over forty years, Clinton and his fraternal twins, Parliament-Funkadelic, or P-Funk, have served up a Dadaist stew melding psychedelic rock, jazz, r&b, and gospel into infectious grooves with humorous, nonsensical titles such as Funkentelechy, Good To Your Earhole, Gloryhallastoopid, and Loopzilla. Clinton’s oeuvre was radically out of step with the pop and soul music emanating from the airwaves in the 1970s and 80s. For example, Cosmic Slop and Maggot Brain reflected the madness to Clinton’s method: unmitigated rejection of logic, not only concerning music, but regarding the very meaning of art, a theory well within the Dadaist credo proclaiming logic as a form of creative suicide. Tristan Tzara, author of the Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries, expressed, “Nothing is more pleasant than to baffle people.”

Bootsy Collins (top left), Grady Thomas (3rd from left), George Clinton (4th from left), (bottom row) Calvin Simon, Ray Davis, Bernie Worrell, Fuzzy Haskins, Michael Hampton of the funk band “Parliament-Funkadelic” pose for a portrait in circa 1977.
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Relatives -Legendary guitarist Robert Quine & Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys as told by Tim Quine

Robert Quine is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, he’s in the Rolling Stones Top 100 list, and an original member of Richard Hell and The Voidoids. He has collaborated with groundbreaking musicians including Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Brian Eno, John Zorn, Lloyd Cole, Marianne Faithfull, Lydia Lunch, Material, Mathew Sweet, They Might Be Giants, and more. He’s related to another great influential guitarist, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.

Both were raised in Akron, Ohio, yet Quine moved around. One stop in San Francisco to record hours of the Velvet Underground on cassette tapes, later known as The Quine Tapes. Later landing in New York, working in a film memorabilia shop with Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine, he recruited Marc Bell, later to be Marky Ramone, to form Richard Hell and Voidoids. Quine’s musical taste was most likely not the same as his bandmates, practicing to Miles Davis or even Ted Hawkins.

Just after his death in 2004, I was fortunate enough to have been at the right place, or in the right record shop, at the right time, when his record collection was being carted in.  The collection was extensive, and particularly of interest to me were the rare European rockabilly compilations. 

Years later I found his cousin, Tim Quine, through his website, RubberCityReview, containing special sections on Robert Quine.  I invited him to share some family memories and more on what influenced this ground-breaking guitarist.

The full interview below is featured in sections on Freeform Portland this month playing at random times. 

Part 1 is on Robert Quine’s amazing and diverse career. 

Part 2 is on the music that influenced him.

Tim Quine: When he landed in NYC back in the 70’s, he was pretty well schooled, He took jazz lessons. He was a blues freak. He loved Rockabilly. He brought all of that to his style of playing. 

Dan is my nephew and Rob is my second cousin. They lived a block away from each other. They didn’t meet until Dan was in his late teens. He had started recording with The Black Keys. Dan dragged a couple of his Teisco Del Ray guitars over. Rob really dug that he had weird ass guitars and he seemed to know what he was talking about, so they jammed together.

He wore headphones and would mix his guitar in with what he was listening to. That’s how he liked to practice. He loved stuff that was atonal or chord uncertain. It didn’t matter what he played, as long as he played it with conviction. 

When Rob got done recording with Andre’ Williams he said, ‘Now I’ve played with two geniuses, Lou Reed and Andre Williams.”

He gained a lot more fame for playing with Lou Reed. Beyond that he recorded with all kinds of people, on a couple of records he’s playing along with Keith Richards.  

Link Wray was a big influence on both of them (Quine & Auerbach). Rob said that when he recorded at a studio for Richard Hell and The Voidoids, they were at a studio where Link Wray was also recording. Rob used Link Wray’s amplifier. To this day when Dan sets up with The Black Keys he points all of his amplifiers off to the side, just like Link Wray used to do.

When Rob had to turn down recording gigs he would recommend Jody Harris or Marc Ribot. Marc was one of Rob’s favorite guitarists. I think he recorded two songs with The Black Keys. 

He (Rob) wasn’t the friendliest guy. He wouldn’t open up to you until he figured you knew what you were talking about.  My nephew Dan has a theory that a lot of his pent up anger and frustration came from being stuck in a boarding school for four years. 

(on live videos with Lou Reed) He looks unemotional but what he is playing, he is practically strangling his guitar 

DJ Rosa inRoseCity is host of The LePtineLLa LoUnGe on alternating Tuesday evenings, 6-8pm.  She has been a radio DJ since 11 years old working at stations including KKCR  Kaua’i Community Radio, WRCT Pittsburgh, pirate Radio Honderd in Amsterdam, WFMU, and more. Raised blocks from Grand Central Station in Manhattan, former New York scene reporter for the infamous international punk zine, Maximum Rock n Roll, she spent many years in various underground New York scenes.   Under various DJ names, she has interviewed scientists, musicians, politicians, doctors, financial analysts, and more.

For more information:

The Lost Quine Interview | RCR | 

http://www.robertquine.com/

Michael B’s Top 6 Songs from 2020

Now up on the Freeform Vlog: 6 songs that helped move Michael B through one of the more ferocious years on human record.

1. Smif N’ Wessun – Tools of the Trade

2. Geto Boys – Mind Playing Tricks On Me

3. Groove Theory – Keep Tryin’

4. George Benson – Love X Love

5. Digable Planets – Black Ego

6. Angie Stone Featuring Alicia Keys & Eve – Brotha Remix

The 10 Best Indie Albums 2020 – According to Molly Steadman

This time last year, I would not have been able to fathom the events of 2020. I never dreamed there would be a year when I would see no live music whatsoever, let alone when no one would get to see any live music. Artists who make a living from performing are reeling; venues are in danger of shutting down, and as of now there’s no end in sight.

Sometimes it’s best not to contemplate the big picture, when the big picture is terrifying and confusing and isolating. Sometimes the only way to get through is to take one step at a time and handle each day as it comes. Instead of mourning the lack of shows to go to in 2020, I’d recommend getting deeply familiar with the piles of new music that have been released this year, in preparation for someday, when we will get to see these songs performed live, knowing every word by heart. Focusing on the inevitable future joy that will come when people can finally pack into a venue again is a much more productive undertaking than despairing at the current state of things.

The amount of new records this year is a bright spot in the chaotic darkness that has been 2020. Some of them, while great, have been written about extensively already (Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Women in Music Part III, The Slow Rush). The following list consists of 10 records from independent artists who have released the best of 2020, in one writer’s opinion.

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Live Community Jukebox

To celebrate the launch of our Winter 2020 On Air Pledge Drive, a team of beloved Freeform Portland DJs joined forces to share some of their favorite tracks for our first-ever Live Community Jukebox! Music by Digable Planets, Janet Kay, ESG, Kitty, Cut Chemist, União Black, and more.

Do yourself a favor and subscribe to our Freeform Portland YouTube channel for updates.

And…while you’re at it, how about joining this rich community of radio lovers? Why not become a Friend of Freeform? This will help us cover basic costs so that we can continue providing eclectic programming and be a community space for Portland’s music lovers and creatives. Sounds terrific, yes?

Or maybe you’re in the mood for a one-time contribution. Any dollar amount, large or small would just thrill our pants off.

Finally, if you don’t have the cash right now, we would be delighted to receive goods that include: records, CDs and headphones in good working condition, office supplies, snacks, and more. If you’d like to make a donation like this, please email donate@freeformportland.org to get in touch.

Love Tractor: Noah Fence interviews Mark Cline and Mike Richmond

On November 6th, Love Tractor released the remastered reissue of their self-titled debut album, one of many classics made by bands to come out of the Athens, Georgia scene in the early nineteen eighties. 

Here is my interview with two members of Love Tractor, Mark Cline and Mike Richmond.

Noah Fence: Congratulations on the reissue release of your remastered debut album. I just heard it today, and was quite stunned. I have been a fan of the album since 1982, when it was first released, and I heard stuff on the remastered version I had never heard before. Can you tell me how this came about, what motivated you to do the remaster and get it released?

Mark Cline: We have been planning on rereleasing our catalog for some time. The first album was a challenge as the ¼ inch masters had degraded, so for the sake of sound fidelity we decided to simply remix the entire record. Nothing was added or subtracted, we followed Bruce Baxter’s original mix. To shepherd the project, we enlisted the help of former bandmate Bill Berry [REM] (who knows a thing or two about great records) to produce the remix, along with Dave Barbe behind the board. Both Bill and Dave knew the album intimately, Bill had even written a track on the album. The goal was to produce a faithful remix, but just make it clearer.

Bill said, “it’s as if cotton has been removed from my ears.” It’s quite remarkable how great it sounds — how alive it sounds!

Mike Richmond: Thank you, the first album was not only remastered, it was remixed, so there are some subtle differences between the initial release and this re-release.  We did a reunion show at the Georgia Theater in 2016 and from that time on we have been doing more LT things.  We have continued to play occasionally and we knew we needed to get re-releases going since our catalog is out of print.  

Noah Fence: When the band first formed, the band was an instrumental band. Was that conscious choice or direction? Or was that out of necessity, as no one wanted to be the singer or write lyrics?  How difficult was it being an instrumental band? Were audiences receptive?

Mike Richmond: Not really a conscious decision, but one that just kind of evolved into being fine at the time.  When the four of us (Mark, Army, Kit, Myself) got together to play and write we had great chemistry and the musical interplay that we had going didn’t seem to be lacking anything.  We weren’t making instrumentals that just seemed like backing for a vocalist.  And it is also true that at the time no one wanted to sing or write lyrics. I’ve come to the conclusion that the genre known as Instrumental Rock is the red-headed step child of musical genres and making music of that type destines you to cult status at best. There is no such thing as a really popular instrumental group.  The Ventures were doing covers of vocal pop songs so I don’t really count them, but it seems that people need vocals and lyrics even if they are really bad.  That said, we did have some great shows playing all instrumental music and then other times the audience would look at us like we just landed from Mars. 

Mark Cline:  We were art students when we released our first and second albums— school kids, we were making the music we wanted to make with no constraints. None of the songs needed vocals — we didn’t set out to write an instrumental album; it just happened. Trust me, if a song had needed vocals, we would have added them, in fact we put aside one song with vocals as it didn’t fit the feel of the record— and not because it had vocals— the song appears on Around The Bend. We have always written albums, not songs, perhaps this is why we are famously slow in releasing material. The first album is, in our eyes, one complete work — not a collection of songs. Fans and critics who know our music, know that not one LT album sounds like the other. We honestly didn’t think of the album as an instrumental album…although it didn’t have a human voice. To our ears it is complete, it is narrative, it is highly melodic and to this day it sounds fresh. In hindsight, it was not difficult being instrumental as we had no other experience. Audiences loved us; New Order, The Smiths, and other local acts copied riffs from the record so for us it was mission accomplished.

Noah Fence: I find that because the debut album is instrumental, it has a timeless quality. It could have easily been recorded at present. The interplay between the guitars, bass and drums, and the choices made by the engineer in producing the album left it free of anything dating it to the year it was recorded. When you were working on the remastering of this album, did you find that to be true for yourself as well? 

Mark Cline: We are wary of musical trends or hackneyed musical tropes, as corny as this sounds we are very much influenced by each other as opposed to say, “New Wave,” “Hip-Hop,” or some other trend in music. This is not to say we don’t consume tons of music— we do, but certainly not in any way expected of a band. We consider all our records to be timeless, especially this first album. It was written as a single piece of music not a collection of songs. We recommend people listen to it in one sitting. It’s only 35 joyous minutes long.

Mike Richmond: I agree, that album has a timeless quality to it.  I have to play it regularly because that is how I keep in practice.  I put on the record and play to it.  I never get tired of it, it is evergreen and uplifting, I always get a sense of liberation playing all 32 minutes of it during a practice session. When I think of how many times I’ve had to play those songs live, practice them with the band and hear it over and over again during remixes, remastering. It is amazing how fresh it always sounds. 

Noah Fence : Do you have plans to remaster and reissue more of your records? Your second album is also a favorite of mine, and considering how well the debut album has benefited from being remastered, I would love to hear a remastered reissue of the second album.

Also, prior to the release of this remastered album, the band released a seven inch single for Record Store Day, were the songs on that release new recordings? Are there any plans for the band to go into the studio and record new material?

Mike Richmond: Definitely, the second album is being prepared now.  I like our second record more than the first record.  It’s probably my favorite of our records.  Following that, we are also going to re-release our entire catalog.  The 7”, 60 Degrees Below and Festival became 60 Degrees and Sunny and FESTI-vals.  They aren’t re-recordings but we did add new things that emphasize the repetitive nature of those tunes.  The additions were influenced by the music of Phillip Glass.  We were recording new music until the Pandemic shut things down.  Very excited about our new music and we have at least 2 records worth of tunes that just need to be finished when things get back to normal more or less.   

Mark Cline:  We are in the midst of assembling our entire catalog for rerelease, “Around the bend” is up next, it will get a remaster and perhaps some bonus tracks. We are discussing timing of the rerelease now.

Regarding Record Store Day: In remixing the first album we knew we wanted to do something unique for RSD. After having played these songs for many years some of them had evolved, and we wanted to capture that with three special mixes. 17 Days, 60 Degrees Below and Festival had evolved over the years and now seemed the time to do enhanced mixes of the songs — along with the regular remixes. So, these are not new songs rather we have captured how the songs have evolved over the years. They are fuller, longer in places shorter in others, Instruments and dynamics have been enhanced, they are really lovely you have to hear them. 

As Mike said we have two new albums ready to record, certainly one is absolutely ready to go. I Think if Covid hadn’t hit one certainly would have been finished. I’m quite excited by it —the music is remarkable.

Noah Fence : I have a confession to make, when I first heard your version of the Kraftwerk song, “Neon Lights,” I did not know it was a cover. At the time it was released I had not heard of Kraftwerk or that song. Your version of that song is fantastic. I have heard other people cover it, the band Luna for instance, but I prefer your version.  Being a band out of Athens Georgia, which I assume means fundamentally the band is a dance band, is that what motivated the choice to cover that song? 

Also, I have heard that you performed under the name, “Wheel Of Cheese,” doing all cover versions and welcoming fellow Athens musicians to join you on stage, any chance there are recordings of these performances waiting to be released?

Mike Richmond: Ha! A lot of people say that.  I was backstage after a Flaming Lips show several years ago and Wayne Coyne said the same thing about Neon Lights.  We are all fans of Kraftwerk and decided to play it live, probably at a Wheel of Cheese show initially.  Most of the songs that Wheel of Cheese performed were barely rehearsed, we trashed them, everybody got drunk and it was a crazy wild time.  Certainly not your typical cover band.  We realized that our version of Neon Lights was actually pretty good so we went into the studio to record it and were just amazed at how good it came out.  There are probably some recordings of the Wheel of Cheese.  On one particular night Wheel of Cheese consisted of Warren Zevon, REM, Love Tractor and a few others.  Songs we did were, for example: Electric Avenue, Girls Just Wanna have Fun, Country Boy Can Survive, Roadhouse Blues, Rebel Rebel, Disco Inferno, You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Shattered.  I can’t imagine what a live recording of that night sounded like, but it probably sounded like a big mess, but probably a lot of fun to be in the audience and drinking.  Honestly, I don’t want to hear any WOC recordings, the memory will suffice. 

Mark Cline: We have all been huge fans of Kraftwerk, and you are not alone in thinking the song was ours. People say our version is the best, I have to agree, I do like Luna’s version. It was a song that we could really make our own, it lended itself to our style of music. The one requirement of an Athens band from our era was you had to be danceable, the Athens scene was a very participatory scene — the audience was as important as the band. To me our version of Neon Lights, is best illustrated as such: the band in an old Mercedes bumping down a southern red clay dirt road with NEU! blasting out of the 8 track stereo.

Wheel of Cheese was a way for us to blow off steam. Love Tractor and other Athens bands had started touring heavily, and we of course were expected to stick to our catalog on our tour dates, Wheel of cheese was a release from those constraints. Any Athens musician was welcome to play, the only rule being no rehearsal. So anytime Wheel of Cheese played you could expect members of The Method Actors, REM, Pylon and more to be onstage jamming out tunes. To explain Wheel of Cheese fully would take another interview. 

Noah Fence: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions today. Hope you and your families are all safe and well.

MARK CLINE: Thank you Noah!

The remastered reissue of “Love Tractor” is available now digitally and on LP and CD.

Essential Reissue: Yanti Bersaudara (LuMunai/Groovyrecord)

Reissues of women singers from the 1970s pop scene in Indonesia are few and far between. Luckily, LaMunai and Groovyrecord have teamed up for a re-release of Yanti Bersaudara’s incredible self-titled first record, which originally came out on Polydor Singapore in 1971. (“Bersaudara” is a Sundanese gender-neutral term akin to “Siblings”). The Yantis were a powerhouse sister trio, consisting of Yani, Tina & Lin Hardjakusumah, who sang in Sundanese, creating a beautiful spacey harmonic sound with psychedelic pop overtones. They recorded both solo and collaboratively until around the mid 70s, sometimes with folk outfit Bimbo. Today it is impossible to find these records in their original state. French-Algerian singer and musician Sofiane Saidi, owner of Groovyrecord, is an aficionado on the Indonesian pop scene of the 70s-80s, particularly recordings by women singers. While straight covers of Western pop songs were not uncommon, the really great Pop Indonesia records from the late 60s/early 70s era went beyond bland replication of existing hit melodies and instead synthesized the rich and varied local Indonesian musical traditions with sounds from abroad. Such is the case here. The backing band is uncredited, but, like many local outfits from the time (4 Nada, Eka Sapta, The Galaxies), they avoid overpowering the vocals with heavy rhythmic beats and instead focus on creating the ideal sonic palette for the singers to apply their craft. The interweaving and layering of Yanti Bersaudara’s voices is magnificent to hear. The mastering is excellent, and the packaging adheres to all of the original design elements. Jakarta-based LaMunai and Groovyrecord were also responsible for the acclaimed vinyl release of Harry Roesli Gang’s LP Titik Api earlier this year (see Karen Lee’s glowing review here), and we can’t wait to see what else they have brewing for future reissues. Anyone with an interest in psychedelic pop or women singers from the global south should buy this long-sought-after reissue now before it is gone.

Yanti Bersaudara – Rarakitan – YouTube

Available at Bandcamp