Monday, March 28, 2011

(front cover)

(portion of back cover)

(front cover)

Here are a few lesser known pieces of work done by Mr. Andy Warhol. These records are so collectible that the Madrigal's Spanish LP just sold for over six thousand bucks in an online auction.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Circus Maximus
1967 Vanguard

This is a pretty interesting record that I just saw and heard for the first time today. It's a Vanguard release so right off the bat I knew it was hit or miss. I'm a big fan of about half of Vanguard's folk catalog and some of the hard rock and psych they released is really fantastic. On this album's back cover Circus Maximus claims the the record is "Presented in the center ring of an electric circus under a visual "big top" of flowing, multicolored light… Circus Maximus is the biggest circus… The Circus of the mind…Theatred in a tent of imagination…"

The album has nothing to do with a circus, nor does it have any remote hint of anything circusy less a few organ solos that might pass for something you'd hear under the big top. The record is very 1967 San Francisco in that it sounds a bit flowery and what my friend Mike would refer to as "Diet Psych". Some of the tracks almost rock while others follow the formula of the quieter side of psychedelic 60's hard rock.

Circus Maximus was originally called "Lost Sea Dreamers" but Vanguard didn't like the LSD acronym so they went for the more fun but lackluster, in my opinion, "Circus Maximus".

The song that they did best with is the final track on the album titled "Wind". It was regularly spun on progressive radio stations in the late sixties. It sounds something of a slower Donovan b-side. As far as I can tell, it's the worst track on the album and almost shouts itself out as a precursor to the mess of arpeggiated eighties easy listening hits.

In its entirety, this debut Circus Maximus record is a good album, but nothing more. It is essentially a slightly above average product of a psychedelic music marketing fad.

Here's one of their more exciting tracks, "Short-Haired Fathers". It's the closest thing to a psychedelic circus soundtrack found on the album although I'm thinking it's more of a song for rebellious sixties teens interested more in the long hair lifestyle of the time and less interested in being square (like father).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"This is like a middle-aged music nerd's Fantasia" - Steph Cochrane on me purchasing a copy of Pink Floyd's The Wall on VHS.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Albums That Don't Rock

Paul Winter


Living Music

LMUS 0001

Where can I even start with this one? Paul Winter takes new age music to all new heights (or depths!) with his "musical sea journey" titled Callings. Paul rocks a Kenny G -style straight soprano saxophone (as pictured in wonderful airbrush on the album's cover). The Living Music website describes the record as follows: "A result of three years of research and expeditions by Paul Winter to observe, listen to, and occasionally play his saxophone with sea mammals, CALLINGS was inspired by the imaginary journey of a mythic sea lion pup. This is your friend's father's 1980's new age release that the family doesn't talk about.

Monday, March 14, 2011

When I hear the term "power pop", I generally think of the late seventies/early eighties version of what is retroactively called such. Although the style draws from 60's garage and popular rock, the actual definitive genre, to me, took place in the late seventies and into the eighties. Rock groups from this period can be obsessively categorized into a number of sub-genres, but again "power pop" to me, is a very specific sound.

Power pop has a new wave feel a lot of the time. You have groups like The Knack, The Romantics, and even The Jam, who took a garagey sixties sound, threw on some skinny ties, and whipped their drummers to perfection. The "pop" in "power pop" is what makes the genre so interesting. Many of the power pop groups of the early to mid eighties received little recognition despite their somewhat ironic failed efforts to become popularly known.

A couple years back, my friend and I bought out an entire basement of 45s from a then defunct record shop. We sifted through the central Jersey collection and found some real pieces of history. In this heap of some - several thousand records - we found a 45 by a group called "Gett Sett". The record was on a label called ULTRA RECORDS out of Edison, NJ. There are two tracks: A) "Without Care" and B) "Between Us". The songs remind me of a more square group of guys in their mid to late twenties, wearing sunglasses, and laughing about a business deal gone way too well over pricey cocktails. Regardless of who these guys were, or how much coke was involved, their licks are pretty impressive. This is 1985.

Gett Sett - "Between Us"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Black Gold Records is giving away some great prizes in our first contest ever. Check the website at and let your friends know too!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I have a Theory

I'm pretty sure it was the summer of 1998 when I found myself in a situation where I was promoting a show for the Philadelphia one man sensation, Atom and His Package. A kid I went to high school with had recently made contact with me and asked if I was interested in helping with the show. I was an A&HP fan and I figured it would be a fun way to get involved, so I agreed to help. We rented out South Amboy NJ's then Club Bene, now Club Chrome. The place was enormous and the price was within reason for the capacity and sound capabilities of the venue so we went for it. We asked our friends in The Postage Era (a group I would join the following summer) to open the show, and we were contacted by a band called The Juliana Theory about their potential interest on the bill.

I was never a big Juliana Theory fan and leaned more in the direction of releases on the Tooth and Nail label such as Roadside Monument and other non-traditional releases that the Christian indie label offered at that time. Around this same time, I randomly received the JT cd from Tooth and Nail as a press list member for a small publication a few friends and I were working on. I thought the album was ok, maybe even a bit of a diet Get Up Kids attempt during a time when anything that remotely vibed on a Weezer feel was all the rage. We went ahead and booked the show, made a ton of flyers and the day of the show kids lined up and the turnout was a success.

The Postage Era sounded great, but I remember there being a mixed response from the audience (probably because it was a bit of a younger crowd chasing that more popular sound that the headlining acts would provide them with). Atom and His Package was entertaining and in very high spirits. Then there was the Juliana Theory.

I won't even go into the details of their cock-rocked performance, but rather leave you to imagine the show for yourself based on the guarantee list we received from their manager prior to the event. Keep in mind that no one knew these guys yet. This was pure rock stardom right out of the gate.

- $500 Cash

- A well-lit, lockable dressing room

- eight (8) gallons of room temperature (NOT chilled - important!) spring water

- eight (8) meals or $25 buyout per member

- A one hour sound check one hour before doors.

and more...