Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unconventional Holiday Albums: Santa's Funk & Soul Christmas Party

"I haven't had a drink, ooh baby, but I'm lit up like a Christmas tree"

At last! Another Christmas album, besides James Brown's 'Funky Christmas', with not a traditional Christmas song in sight! This fantastically funky and soulful compilation, to be released in the US on December 13th, is the result of a project started in 2010 by German record collector DJ Jan Kohlmeyer of Tramp Records, who assembled 13 rare, raw funk and soul tracks that have never been compiled, with an artist roster of relatively unknown names (a big "Eureka!" for bloggers like me!). With track titles like "Christmas Present Blues" and "Xmas Done Got Funky," this comp is guaranteed to shake yer hips all month and into next year! 

Vernon Garrett & Sir Stan and The Counts - "Merry Christmas, Baby"

Lee Rogers - "You Wont Have to Wait Till Xmas"

Rose Graham - "Black Christmas"

Binky Griptite - "Stone Soul Christmas"

Jimmy Jules & Nuclear Soul System - "Xmas Done Got Funky"

Both CD booklet and LP sleeve contain scans of all 45rpm single labels and extensive liner notes. The LP comes with a gatefold cover and is limited to 500 copies. 

You can purchase from Amazon or from the UK distributor, Kudos Records.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Garage Beat '11: Sonny and the Sunsets

I'm not gonna make it a habit to discuss modern bands here, as I hope to start another blog devoted to new garage and indie rock, but I'm far too impatient and giddy about this band to wait! Now I dunno if it's the water or the earthquakes or the burritos, but my lovely lil hometown of San Francisco has become quite the mecca for new garage music - as documented more eloquently here via Pitchfork.

I've heard the records, I've seen nearly all of these dudes live at least once, but the one group that I think epitomizes the sound the best (regardless of region) is Sonny and the Sunsets! Grimey guitar playing splashed with 60s California pop, male/female harmonies, catchy hooks, sing-a-long choruses... bringing to mind the Standells, Beach Boys, Ronny and the Daytonas. And they're even better live, demonstrating confident stage presence and dynamics. From what I could tell (being front and center at their most recent show, the fangirl that I am!), every single soul in the crowd was either smiling, singing along, or dancing. And to top it all off, they're wonderful, lovely people, too. The ideal package.

Here's a sampling of their latest album, Hit After Hit:

Sonny and the Sunsets - "She Plays YoYo With My Mind"

Sonny and the Sunsets - "Home and Exile"

Sonny and the Sunsets - "Teenage Thugs"

Sonny and the Sunsets - "Don't Act Dumb"

Their tour itinerary:

1 May: Islington Mill - Manchester, United Kingdom
2 May: The Continental Pub - Preston, United Kingdom
3 May: Sound Control - Manchester, United Kingdom
4 May: Shipping Forecast - Liverpool, United Kingdom
5 May: Captains Rest - Glasgow, United Kingdom
6 May: Cockpit - Leeds, United Kingdom
7 May: The Social - Nottingham Nottingham, United Kingdom
8 May: Start The Bus - Bristol, United Kingdom
9 May: The Lexington - London, United Kingdom
11 May: Club dB - Utrecht, Netherlands
12 May: Molotov Oben - Hamburg, Germany
14 May: Henriksbergs Takterass - Gothenburg, Sweden
16 May:Parkeatren - Oslo, Norway
17 May: Debaser Slussen - Stockholm, Sweden
19 May: Privat Club - Berlin, Germany
20 May: 59:1 - Munich, Germany
21 May: Twiggy - Varese, Italy
24 May: Rocket Club - Milan, Italy
26 May: Primavera Sound Festival - Barcelona, Spain
4 Jun: Huichica Festival - Sonoma, CA
24 Jun: Sled Island Festival 2011 - Calgary, AB, Canada
25 Jun: Sled Island Festival 2011 - Calgary, AB, Canada
27 Jun: Waldorf Cabaret - Vancouver, BC, Canada
28 Jun: The Funhouse - Seattle, WA
1 Jul: Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA
7 Jul: Soda Bar - San Diego, CA
8 Jul: Echo - Los Angeles, CA
22 Jul: The Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
23 Jul: Pike Room - Pontiac, MI
24 Jul: Sneaky Dees - Toronto, ON, Canada
26 Jul: Divan Orange - Montreal, QC, Canada
27 Jul: North Star Bar - Philadelphia, PA
28 Jul: DC9 - Washington, DC
29 Jul: Mercury Lounge - New York, NY
30 Jul: Glasslands Gallery - Brooklyn, NY
5 Aug: Pickathon Roots Musicfest - Happy Valley, OR

I encourage you to check out a live show if they happen upon your city. It'll be the most fun you've ever had! Promise.

Support Sonny and the Sunsets and purchase their albums here!

And check out the sweet music video for their song "Reflections on Youth" made by their rad bassist, Ryan Browne -

"Reflections on Youth" by Sonny & the Sunsets from Ryan Browne on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sax In The Garage!!

(photo courtesy of

Who doesn't love loud, hot sax? Whether it be a rad riff or badass solo, you can never have too much sax!

Now before you get turned off (or on!) let me make it clear this isn't the latest release from John Tesh!

01 The Nocturnals - "Because You're Gone" (1965) Vancouver, BC
02 The Reactors - "Do That Thing" (1967) Suffolk, VA
03 The Knights - "Those Things You Do" (1965) Albuquerque, NM
04 The Blazers - "Lovin' To Do" (1966) Kansas City, MO
05 The Sants - "Leaving You, Baby" (1966) AL
06 Clap - "Bluff 'Em All" (1971) Manhattan Beach, CA
07 One Eyed Jacks - "Love" (1967) Champaign, IL
08 What's Happening - "Baby, You're Hurtin' Me" (196?) USA
09 The Vandaliers - "She's Mine" (1964) Toledo-Cleveland, OH
10 The Dominions - "I Need Her" (1966) Eugene, OR
11 Thee Midniters - "Looking Out A Window" (1967) East Los Angeles, CA
12 The Rumblers - "I Don't Need You No More" (1962) Norwalk, CA
13 The Jujus - "I'm Cryin'" (1966) Grand Rapids, MI
14 The Esquires - "Sadie's Ways" (1965) Jonesboro, AR
15 The Imperials - "Crossfiring" (196?) Seattle, WA
16 The Four A While - "Low Class Man" (1966) Charleston, IL
17 The Galaxies - "I'm A Worker" (1965) Tacoma, WA
18 Stairways - "Don't You Care" (196?) PA
19 The Futuras - "Hurt" (1966) Cleveland, OH
20 Phil & The Frantics - "Say What You Will" (1965) Phoenix, AZ
21 The Break-Outs - "Are You Mad At Me?" (1964) Greenup, KY
22 The Plague - "The Face Of Time" (1966) Thunder Bay, ON
23 The Wheel Of Fortune - "Long Long Day" (1967) Salem, OR
24 Wayne & The Impressions - "I Saw You" (1965) Pottsville, PA
25 The Five Of A Kind - "Never Again" (1965) Fort Worth, TX
26 Freddie & The Swingin' Bachelors - "You Had Your Chance" (196?) USA
27 The Dynamic Deadbeats - "No Second Chance" (196?) Philadelphia, PA
28 Banshees - "So Hard To Bear" (1965) Burlingame, CA
29 The Epicureans - "Baby Be Mine" (1966) Fairmont, MN
30 The Executioners - "The Guillotine" (1965) Youngstown, OH

(photo courtesy of

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