Jeff Kelly has just released his latest Bandcamp download album: A Whisper Of Rain: Home Recordings 1991-1996 Vol. 1 on the Official Green Pajamas Bootleg Page.
JEFF: This is part one of a selection of songs I recorded at home between 1991 – 1996. Some were ad-libbed, unfinished ideas. Some were used as demos. Some could have been released “as is” by The Green Pajamas. All of these songs were recorded on a 4 or 8 track cassette deck, usually in one session. Some were written, recorded and mixed, all in one session. These are a few of the ones that have stuck with us over the years.
A most fine review in Blurt: From start to finish, the record’s a 15-track gas, chock full of familiar gems and obscure nuggets. Among the “likes” you might be thumbs-upping at a social media outlet very soon: the Raiders’ “Hungry,” served up raw and bloody, no medium-cooked meat for Dyer & Co. (there’s also a cover of “Just Like Me”), the Ventures’ timeless surf instro “Walk Don’t Run,” just to remind you that these cats weren’t from SoCal but from Tacoma, Wash.; the Frantics’ “Werewolf,” a freaky, sleazy instro that wouldn’t be out of place on one of those Songs the Cramps Taught Us collections; “Angel of the Morning” by Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts, a sure-to-surprise-you pop classic if you were expecting a straight up garage set from Dyer (and for my money, as one who owns the original 45, far truer to the original Chip Taylor-penned tune than country songstress Juice Newton’s watered-down cover; and of course “Louie Louie,” which in Dyer’s hands takes not only a huge left turn but an unplanned detour down an alley, across the freeway, and off into the hinterlands, so unique is the arrangement.
In his notes Dyer calls this his own “revisionist Northwest history” with “no attempt to duplicate the originals.” Instead, he set out to capture the DIY spirit and the maverick vibe that the songs’ creators represented. Methinks he succeeded. FRED MILLS
Rumors are flying one week before their only show next Saturday (7:30) at Easy Street Records in West Seattle, that the New Pagan Gods have fired leader Tom Dyer and replaced him with go-go dancer and singer Sheila D. Apparently trouble started brewing at the shoot for “Busybody,” where, according to an anonymous source, it was noted “Dyer just can’t dance.” Sheila D., by comparison, was able to do The Twist, The Jerk and The Temp Slide with aplomb. Matters came to a head over this weekend, when lead guitarist Scott Sutherland apparently refused to attend rehearsal if Dyer was present. Green Monkey Records neither confirms or denies this rumor.
The Stranger Recommends: “This here in-store gig is a celebration of the release of Tom Dyer’s New Pagan Gods’ long-awaited album, History of Northwest Rock Vol. 1 1959-1968, which is released on Dyer’s Green Monkey label and produced by Stranger Genius nominee Steve Fisk. On the album, the band (featuring members of the Green Pajamas and King County Queens) comes across strong—not too tough, but not sticky sweet, either, as it blazes through some of the best known, and a couple of unknown, Northwest garage “classics.” The repertoire runs from the Fleetwoods’ chart-topping pop vocal “Come Softly to Me” to favorites like the Sonics’ “You Got Your Head on Backwards” and the Wailers’ “Out of Our Tree ” to a real deep cut like Tiny Tony and the Statics’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” Oh, also, as this is Volume One from Dyer’s NPG, so we should probably be expecting a second volume in the near future. MIKE NIPPER”
My Amazon review of Mr. Chantry’s new book: First, you must know Art can be a curmudgeon. From Tacoma. And highly opinionated. It happens, however, he has a very qualified opinion. Art has designed a couple million album covers and posters. He was Art Director for the long-deceased Seattle music rag The Rocket. He basically gave Sub Pop their look when they started out.
Early in his book, Art claims he is no scholar, but he is in fact an erudite observer, with a passion for thoughtful and obscure detail. He knows his subject deeply and well. He has a keen eye. And most importantly for this book, he can string words together in a way that makes you want to jump to the next page and then go back 5 pages to see if he really said what you thought. His writing is a greedy little pleasure to read.
So what does Art have to say? The first chunk of the book is a reasonably linear description of graphic design in the 20th century. You don’t have to be a designer to get it. It is constantly illustrated, with Art directing the reader to actually focus on the detail that is in front of them. He looks at design through his unique lenses which are punk rock, commercial design and typography (for starters). The second section is his reflection on his design heroes (and a couple villains), some well known, some I had never heard of. In all cases Art is sublimely articulate about why he loves or despises (or both) these designers. The final section is about obsolete items from the printing trade. If you want to know what Art thinks about packaging design for boxes of carbon paper, you may wish to start here.
“A Heretic’s History” is a great read, entertaining, informative and ultimately satisfying. Buy it.