Critical Mass Chicago 3.30.07

What a perfect night it was for Critical Mass here in Chicago. There was quite the turnout. I would say that there were 4-500 people on the Mass.

Team Cratedigger rider looks on towards a large bevy of riders on Washington that is not visible in the shot.

Here is an action shot of a girl that was mad that she might be late, as she turned north on Michigan Ave off of Wacker Drive. If you look closely you can see her reaching for the horn button on her hooptie. To the right of me was a tourbus that was stopped on the bridge as a rider parked his bike in front of the bus and took videos of the driver and passenger reaction to his action. Entertainment at its' finest.

The ride also made its way down Illinois towards Navy Pier and then back up Grand.

Here is another challenged shot where I am shooting while riding, heading south past CroBar on Kingsbury. The stretch of the ride right befrore this, where we were riding west on North Ave, was replete with many a Beamer and irritated Benz driver. We laughed and wished everyone a happy Friday as we "beat" them in the "traffic race."

This was a great ride, and even though the weather looked threatening as I got misted while riding to the Metra prior to the ride, everything held out for a perfect night of bike riding in the city.


Kitchen Floor Hot Roddin'

My gf presented me with the scraper version of the VW microbus on the right. Here is the rub on these ChubCity Dub models-- they are radio controlled! They have major power in both forward and reverse.

Amazingly enough, the bus handles very similarly to a real lowered Dub, if it hits a bump- think vacuum cleaner cord or carpet, the bus bounces sideways, just like a cheaply dumped VW, or at least how I remember things used to go back in AZ. These little models are LOW.

Stay tuned, more to come, I am sure.


The Index

I got a burn of their 1st 2 LPs. These are legendary to the garageistes out there. An original of of the second album is in the neighborhood of US$3000, I think.

Listening to the 1st track, on LP #1, (pictured above in ragged glory) all I can say is that they are not The Bachs.

The second track, I Can't See Nobody, is a thin moody track with multiple vocal parts. "My eyes can only look at you," they say. Quite an improvement over the lead track.

Now their sloppy, reverb drenched version of the nugget Spoonful, is bordering on genius. The outro of Spoonful repeated over and over is too much.

Then they dig into a version of 8 Miles High that sounds more in tune with the Ventures in Space as opposed to the folk stylings of Mssr. McGuinn, Crosby et Clark. The hook, is driven through reverb abuse. I detect Fender Pro Reverb on overdrive. Doesn't better the original, but their chiming vocals help to make it work. Set the controls for warp, gents.

Side two starts with a track called New York Mine Disaster.

The energy level goes way up as does the tempo with Paradise Beach. The guitar is an acoustic this time. The guitar break with an acoustic, with nary a folk feel is cool. Bring it on.

Break Out is a freak out jam that kicks back into electrical territory and features more overdriven tones, this time bordering on feedback. The bass sits and percolates in the pocket and the drums are beating a propulsive pattern.

The Index comes back to earth with another acoustic number, I Love You. Here the cymbals provide accent and a response to the repeating guitar loop. The break here once again is acoustic and not annoying. Dare I say it, it seems that they are providing Mood here.

Rainy Starless Nights closes the set. Vocalist John Ford sounds like he means what he sings. The loud reverb crash at the end must be positioned to give the listener a bad trip.

This LP will surely grow on me. I may have to take back that Bachs comment above. My burned copy is sourced from a rough copy of the original disc. I would love to hear a better copy.

Justice is Served

Check out the vid from good buddy Iowahawk.

All set to a raunchy Canuckian accompaniament from Les Ugly Ducklings


Garage sale diggin'

Spring is here in the air at least in the greater Chicago area, it has been 80 for the past couple of days... all the better to open the screen doors and crank a recent LP find from the local garage sales.

One of the best grabs this past weekend was Push Push by Herbie Mann. I had seen a blurb about this LP somewhere that lead me to purchase this record, as the cover art alone would have scared me off. Dude, any kind of shirt would have been more flattering.

Piano, with both a large bass and some moderate wah wah propel the title, lead off track, providing the bedrock, from which Mr. Mann blows his flute. A minute or two into the song, a well placed tambourine, in the left channel, provides a counterpoint to the flute that is in the middle of the stereo image. A bluesy guitar riff populates the right channel. The guitar then busts into a laid back break that builds into something more. As the break builds it becomes obvious that the guitar is provided by Duane Allman, just a short time before he met his early death at the intersection of a motorsickle and a peach tree. Herbie heads towards the mother ship on his instrument after Duane's break. Pretty monster groove-- all 9 plus minutes of it.

The next track takes the listener to chill out land. Supposedly, it is a cover of What's Going On. I honestly can't say that it sounds like an instro cover to these ears.

Flipping the disc over to Man's Hope, the tempo picks up a bit and even features at least one flute break. The accompaniment, borders on the funky and will drive the point home as everything builds to the (too early) fade out.

The cover of If is more of a recognizable track to these ears at least. Here the build is quite massive from the entire band to the fade out, which is so tight it seems that it is more of a harsh cut.

The final track is an upbeat take on What I Say, that features licks a plenty from Allman, coming at you out of the right channel. The Rhodes appears to be in the left channel with the flute front and center again. The call and response with the flute taking the place of the vocal and back and forth with Allman is pretty cool.

The resident husky (and music critic) seems to dig this LP as she is stretched out in front of the speakers, grooving to the bass that has at times the syrupy consistency of flat root beer. This record sounds good and is in NM condition. I would recommend it. There are cd copies on AMZN.


The Five Americans Dont You Dare Blame Me

Here is an HBR (#468) single that I picked up over the weekend at a location to remain unidentified. According to the 'Americans discog, this was released in the halcion year of 66, also the best year of the Ford Mustang, but I digress.

Don't You Dare Blame Me starts up with a great tweaked intro freaky warbled organ, that busts into a stomper- this one driven by a stomping bass line...

It has one cool disorted break that ends and the trebly organ comes up and does a break.

"Dont Blame Me for What you've done," the vocals proclaim. The song ends quite abruptly. The mood served up by the track is altered and odd. The lads seem a bit off here.

Shocking how much the a side EVOL Not Love sucks. It charted as high as the Top 40, according to thier site. This is truly a single sided record, but kills it in that regard. Flip this one over and groove, easily the best song they tracked.


Bay Area Funk V. 2

This comp came to me via a review copy. I would have to say that like the Bay Area as I know it, this comp is all over the place- both in style and in quality.

The first track that grabbed my ears was Acid Lady by the San Francisco TKOs. An unsettling horn intro breaks into a funky soul number grooving to an abreviated Satisfaction progression. "Acid, Acid. Who got the Acid Lady," lyrics come in and then the wah wah goes into massive use. The horns are mixed louder than the guitars... Probably the first knockout on this collection.

The very next track, Si Se Puede, by the Ray Camacho Band lays a more Latin twinged spin on the funk. Some of the horn parts are Love Boat painful, but the basic guitar groove shoves this into the funk gutter and saves the track. It's funny as the sax solo is not painful at all compared to the symphonic sounds from the other horn parts.

Stop Look Listen! by Primevil has a fat Rhodes sound with a loud snare, and tambourine laying it down. The vocals are everywhere in the mix. The bass builds the foundation for this house of funk. This one is basically a jam and ends far too soon via an unfriendly fade out.

Victor Green jams the keyboards home with a low fidelity Hammond jam, punctuated by unruly cymbals and some way loud congas. Creole Girl is also more a fragment than a cohesive track, but cool nonetheless.

The closer, Brute Strength by Mike Selesia, borders on cowbell abuse, in laying the structure for the cut. The bass walks in and out of the pocket and the sax provides a counterpoint to the percussion as the players are kicking the snot out of the drumkit. There is a fuzzy psych guitar solo that seems to be mapped only to the right channel.

I enjoyed this comp overall. The sound quality was sort of uneven, but who knows what sort of raw material the compilers had to work with.


The Bachs Out of the...

The Bachs were a garage band from Lake Forest IL.

An interesting point about them is that they never released a single, but in 1968 they released an LP, Out Of The Bachs, as a farewell to their fans and each other as they either went to college or to Viet Nam. I recently received a high quality cd burn of this high dollar LP.

This record has been reissued a few times over the years, albeit in sub par sound. This burn is a copy made from an excellent quality original disc.

The album itself has a high level of charm blending a midwest sensibility with copius amounts of jangle, warbley vocals and major dollop of reverb. The vocals deliver an odd message with the originally appearing simple lyrics. No digital f ery has been employed to fix their sound. It is like they were able to contain the Mid Western moodiness and put it into song and are able to carry it off for 12 songs. Pretty amazing for five high school students from Lake Forest High School.

"Eat to to live or is that live to eat?" Minister to a Mind Disceased. There is a screaming guitar buzz that erupts in this song, and then is abruptly cut to go back into the verse. "Don't be concerned, you'll die the same... don't try to fight it, it's all in vain." and with that ends side 1.

I also like the distorted twang that appears in Nevermore. They go from jangle to fuzz and back. Not a pounder by any measure, but damn amazing.

But do they leave the best for last? Quite possibly, with the angst ridden ditty entitled, I'm A Little Boy. More snot drips from this vocal delivery than the rest of this record combined. There is also a great drum pattern that goes into a guitar break of sorts. The boys kick out the fuzz, but it moves at a relaxed pace. Kind of like this lakeside town.

Twisted poetry or high garage art. I think a bit of both. I really dig this lp. They meld folky sounds, garage and MidWestern moodiness to great success.


One of my favorite things...

With the new and improved setup of the CD reference system, spinning 45s has become even more enjoyable.


Electrickal Car Redux

Espresso Junky sent me a pic of the new elecktrickal car. Check out the low profile tires and the alloy rims. TRICK, this thing will do 40 MPH no problem. This is not a barney electric car.
I can't wait to take a spin in this one.

Loos Foos update

Inexplicably, I received this picture above in my inbox today of the Loos Foos 45 that I blogged about over one year ago. There was no message or anything, simply LOOS FOOS in the subject line and the photo above as an attachment. Odd. Thanks Ichaseroos.