A folkish EP / mini album of organ-based, minimalist pop songs, with unassuming vocals and authentically retro style. These modest jams utilize a couple of vintage Bontempi organs from the 70s and 80s as well as a 1975 Cordovox combo organ. There is some 3/4 acoustic guitar in the title track, and some space theremin is peppered in here and there.
Googie René – Romesville –
This oddball classic 1959 “beatsploitation” song is incredibly catchy and fun. The whole album is filled with beatnik lingo tracks like “Caesar’s Pad.” Could listen to these tunes on repeat for hours while relaxing in the bathtub.
Like Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs’ “Little Red Riding Hood,” Derek’s hit song “Cinnamon” had a charismatic creep theme(the song was actually by Johnny Cymbal, but he released it under his younger brother’s name.) It’s a classic stalker’s anthem, about a guy who isn’t taking no for an answer. It’s never made clear whether the girl might be interested despite his arrogant display, or whether he may even just trying to convince himself to bolster his confidence. There’s a hint that rather than being a predator, he’s the one hurt by the punishment of rejection:
Sneakin down your alley way
And knockin’ on your door
Thought I had enough but I’m back for more
One can almost hear it as a Wonder Years styled inner voice encouraging him to keep trying. After all the stalk talk, he nervously knocks on her door, and she opens it, mildly annoyed. He says meekly, “Cinnamon, do you think we could maybe go out for coffee?”
“No thank you. I have to wash my hair. Maybe some other time.”
As he walks home dejectedly, he begins singing this song again to himself as some sort of defense mechanism and buildup for the next time.
Cinnamon is a pretty hot name for a 60’s suburban teenage girl, maybe even superior to Mercedes(Heather Graham) as the love interest of Corey Haim in the 1980’s film, License to Drive. I definitely empathize with the protagonist of this sexually charged song.
“Cinnamon” by Derek is one of my favorite jams of the 1960s. The lyrics are stalkerish and would trigger most millennials, but it remains to be seen whether it’s a dangerously creepy song or merely a pathetically creepy one. It’s a line fine line we walk. Take a chance and dance around it with us.
You can’t hide girl
I’m comin’ inside girl
Do what you want to
Baby I’ll let you
Might as well face it
Cinnamon you know I’m gonna get ya
Little Fevers is a band from Minneapolis that features two guys and two girls. Their new album “Field Trip” is terrific an is characterized by sort of a vintage indie sound. It’s sort of a combination of 60s folk rock and early 2000s indie pop. One particularly stand out song is “Apple Tree,” which is quite catchy. I would like to see this band really catch on.
An obscure 90’s oddity, Birthday Boy‘s aesthetic resembles something of a “Lo-Fi Leisure Suit Larry.” The song, “Right Back Where I Started” chronicles the love life of the character Michael from the show, “Melrose Place.” If fact, those who remember the show can probably recognize the chronologically accurate storyline and the women being referenced in the lyrics.
Originally released on cassette in 1996, this is one the most unusual recordings from a highly experimental era of indie alternative music.
There’s seemingly a never end of obscure and cleverly themed 60’s bands. Add another to the list with “The Monks.” They were a band formed by two American servicemen who were originally stationed and then remained in West Germany in the mid 60’s. They sported monk haircuts and typically wore nooses as neckties. One of the most experimental and creative bands of the era, The Monks continue to influence avante garde musicians 50 years later.
I picked up a couple of vintage Italian Bontempi organs/synths recently, mainly because I liked the design and aesthetic of them (as a brand, Bontempi was not known for having a great sound.) Their advertising was beautiful though and captures a sort of innocence which resonates with the childhood I experienced. I obtained the Bontempi Memoplay (pictured above) which is a pretty limited but unique, “programmable” synth from the late 70s / early 80s. It only has one sound, but it’s a decent one in my opinion.
The other Bontempi organ I got my hands on is the Mod 109. This was basically a really hip and modern looking organ,(mine is orange in color) but in reality it’s just a standard reed organ which produces a sound similar to an accordion.
For an example of one the better organs Bontempi produced,(which I was not fortunate enough to be able to find) check out the awesome 1979 Bontempi commercial below. It exemplifies a childhood ambiance and European cultural era that my mind/alter ego fights to recapture every day.
Cool your jets and enjoy the afternoon with this swingin’ summertime, 60’s style pop jam. Turn up the dial on your Nobility pocket transistor radio and head to the beach just one last time before summer’s over, and it’s time to blow this popsicle stand. Fickle fadsters come and go, but a few of us stay until the bitter end.
Zeta One – Dreamsnake II, a solo project of one the all time ginchiest gals of the Whittier, CA area (miss Dawn Aquarius) is now out. When I say out I mean like way out…of this galaxy even. Dawn has always been one of those creative creatures that’s simply terrific at everything she gets her palpable paws into and always has been. She is one of the most authentic and talented artists in the world. If you don’t believe me, let me clue you in on her cosmic comic book, Acid Ankh, already a classic. Dreamsnake II is a groovy blend of mod, psychedelia, 70’s synth and noise. You’ll be slated for Zetaville with the first track, “Dreams of Creation.” It only gets more happenin’ from there, with hypnotic jams like Spectrum 5 …and my personal fave “Zephyrus,” which swings like sixteen.
Dreamsnake II appears in the form of a Limited edition cassette. Only 100 are available. Who knows how many even remain now? They come with black and green screen prints on yellow stock, with art by Max Clotfelter . The release is through Eidertown Records, in Seattle, WA.