Big in Japan
Rather than waste a lot of time and money trying to develop local talent, a number of labels are discovering the benefits of licensing finished product by bands from Japan with an established cult audience. Stoner rock clearinghouse Southern Lord has cut a deal with Japanese thud threesome Boris to reissue their blistering Akuma No Uta disc from 2003. Don't be fooled by the Bryter Layter sleeve homage. This shit crunches. Meanwhile, the Warner-distributed Vice label has just put out the one-two punch of the Boredoms' Seadrum/House Of Sun - two 20-minutes-plus tracks of majestic pounding that should help restore Eye's rep as a master of mind-melting heaviosity. It's about time somebody cut a deal with mighty jazz bashers the Soil & Pimp Sessions .
Dipping into Poole
Long before Hank Williams or Jimmie Rodgers came along, country music's outlaw archetype was already set by the drinking, gambling and womanizing songs of banjo slinger Charlie Poole - the country string band counterpart of Robert Johnson. And with the You Ain't Talkin' To Me three-disc set - housed in a swank cigar box with an illustrated 40-page booklet - Columbia-Legacy is clearly hoping to repeat the astonishing success it had with repackaging Johnson's work. The intriguing difference here is that instead of trying to document every note Poole ever recorded - alternate takes, lost acetates, etc - the label has put just 24 arresting tracks on one disc and then used the other two to contextualize his work with music that influenced him and that he inspired. A shrewd move.
Although, the compilation of 60s and 70s funky rock obscurities that EMI UK recently released as Scorched Earth could've been much more exciting with some deeper digging, there were a few delightful discoveries. Don't hold your breath for a domestic release, but the good news is that two of the standouts - the swingin' and stingin' Sunday For Seven Days, by Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin , and the Sadistic Mika Band 's trippy Silver Child - have been paired on one sizzling 7-inch single mastered hot to rock your next lease-breaker.
King meets the Queen
In the spring of 1971, Aretha Franklin had a new man in her life, a new child, and her brother had become her manager, so she was ready to rock when three nights were set aside in San Francisco for a live recording backed by King Curtis and company. The resulting Live At The Filmore West album focused on Franklin's pop covers with a couple of old faves thrown in, but, sadly, that was it. So the folks at Rhino Handmade went into the vault and dug up the tapes of the entire three-night stand and just issued all of it as the limited-edition four-CD Don't Fight The Feeling box, and it should be no big surprise that the unissued opening sets by King Curtis and his cooking crew - Bernard Purdie , Cornell Dupree , Jerry Jermott with guest Billy Preston - are incredible. They play essentially the same numbers each night, but trust me, you'll want to hear them roar through Whole Lotta Love and Memphis Soul Stew more than once.