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Music on a Bum Trip

Bad news: my monthly music review column for a local magazine (which I wrote about here) has been cancelled. In laying out the first issue, the editors decided that music reviews (along with book reviews, which were to be written by Christopher) didn’t fit in with the rest of the content of this magazine. I’m saddened, but having worked in the business for a time I know that stories and pieces get shelved all the time for all sorts of reasons, logical and not. The thing to concentrate on now is what to do with what’s already been completed. The two batches of three reviews I’ve written will end up getting posted here in the future — to a smaller but more appreciative audience! I also have new and upcoming releases by The Shins, The Autumn Defense, Sondre Lerche and Dean & Britta in the pike to write about. Those’ll end up getting covered here, too.

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On a more positive note, I recently bought a couple of excellent “Free” releases for entirely personal, not professional, reasons. The first was the re-release of The Free Design’s trippy 1970 masterpiece Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love by Light In The Attic Records. My friend Ion tipped me that all of the F.D. reissues were just made available for download on eMusic, so I immediately signed up and snatched this one. For those who don’t know, The Free Design was a brilliant but hitless easy-pop combo who plied original songs (courtesy of founding member Chris Dedrick) and gorgeous harmonies on several 1967-73 albums. Part of their appeal was in how the jewel-perfect, swingin’ ’60s production of Enoch Light often masked the imperfect underbelly of the songs. For example, the magificently dense “Bubbles” seems bouncy and cute enough on the surface, but it also revolves around the lyrics “Bubblegum kinda keeps my heart from gettin’ heavy and crying.” The tears of a clown, indeed!

My second purchase was an expensive impulse buy of the 1996 Japanese compilation Free Soul: Vibes. The Free Soul collections were put together by Toru Hashimoto (who also did the wonderful Cafe Apres Midi discs) with an accent on smooth ‘n funky ’70s obscurities. We’re talking really obscure here, with some songs that have never appeared on CD anywhere else. For instance, this edition leads off with a track by girl group The Fuzz. Logically it would have been their only hit (the dreamy “I Love You For All Seasons”) represented here, but instead we have a cut buried on side 2 of their one album (“Search Your Mind”). And it’s excellent! Note that this disc contains two tracks from one-hit-wonders Blue Swede, and yet it never sounds cheezy. Lots of goodies here and considering its 77-minute length, a bargain. Check this Japanese fansite for the other Free Souls.

6 Thoughts on “Music on a Bum Trip

  1. Sorry about the rejection. I’ve done a few fitful reviews myself for our local entertainment weekly. Gave Fountains Of Wayne the big thumbs down. Strained to find something nice to say about old acquaintances the Butthole Surfers’ new record. Toiled over some gnarly local releases foisted upon me. Finally gave up. Don’t like contemporary music enough to want to chime in on it. I do like the new Shins though, and I’m sure my spouse will get the Dean & Britta the day it comes out.

  2. Thanks, Derrick. Which publication did you write for? I’m dying to know.

    Finally got around to downloading your New Years Eve At Disneyland record and can’t wait to hear it.

  3. That would have been none other than our own “New Times Weekly.”

  4. Cool! The New Times was so much better 20 years ago.

  5. Hi Matt,

    Bummer about the reviews! I always have room for reviews at my site … you know, if you’re willing to work for pennies and nickels.

    As for the Free Design, you know about this?
    http://www.amazon.com/Now-Sound-Redesigned-Free-Design/dp/B0009WV2VU

  6. Hi, Kevin! Your offer sounds good, actually. I’m not sure if scrubbles readers necessarily want my endless blathering over current music releases here.

    I have about half of those Now Sound Redesigned tracks gathered off various mixes and stuff; I’ll have to get the other half via eMusic. Very good, especially the Danger Mouse/Murs remix of “To A Black Boy”.

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