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V.A. - SCHNITZELBEAT VOLUME 3: Ready For Take Off (LP)
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V.A. - SCHNITZELBEAT VOLUME 3: Ready For Take Off (LP)


Part Number: DIG-009
Price: $28.00
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V.A. – SCHNITZELBEAT VOL 3: Ready For Take-off (Trash Rock Archives/Konkord) LP

For the past decade, the Vienna-based Trash Rock Archives association has been doing an exemplary job of researching and documenting the rock, pop and youth subculture of 1960s and ‘70s Austria. Their Schnitzelbeat compilations are especially wonderful, presenting some of the most exciting, enthralling and often hopelessly obscure musical artifacts; beautifully packaged, including a full-size 16-page booklet insert with copious liner notes that are hip, informative and steeped in a genuine passion for the music and its place in time and space.

A new volume of Schnitzelbeat has just been released in conjunction with Konkord Records, and it’s loaded with fantastic music and fascinating back stories. Like that, for example, of Leopold Algrubl, a Viennese musician, producer, journalist and amateur pilot who performed under the name Rocky Fips Holicke. Obsessed with flying, according to the liner notes, “Holicke frequently played concerts at airports and preferred to make music for an expert audience of [in his own words] ‘airline pilots, private pilots, glider pilots, parachutists, balloonists, paragliders, ultralight fans and air traffic controllers.’” In 1973, backed by an accomplished (but as yet unidentified) rock group, he recorded “Ready for Take-Off, a mesmerizing six-minute psychedelic piece with jet sound effects swooping through the mix, and pressed it up on his own Aero Sound label.

That track is just one of many highlights here. Others include “Garbage Man’ by Novaks Kapelle, a satirical blues-riffed rocker in the Social Deviants vein, from their first recording session in 1967; Expiration’s “It Wasn’t Right,” a cool Cream-inspired number with Bruce-Clapton-esque harmonies and bendy guitar leads; Generation 2000’s “All Right” a superb freakbeat number with a moody lead vocal, soaring harmonies, chunky bass, churning Hammond organ and a hand-clapping hey-hey Zorba the Greek breakdown, and the Beatniks’ “Fernost” a fabulously exotic sitar- and fuzz-soaked number from their excellent On A Blue Day album (recently reissued by Konkord and reviewed in UT#60). Also present, the utterly transcendent “White Flames” by Charles Ryder Corporation with the intense snaking guitar playing of the prodigiously gifted Karl Ratzer (previously with the Slaves) coiling up, over, around, through the dazedly recited poetry of the lyrics: “White flames where there was once emotion…” Sublime and magnificent.

War—and how it’s good for absolutely nothing—is a theme of several songs here: “War” by the cryptically-named Maybe Hair is a tribal Bo Diddley beater with raucous call and response vocals and atonal guitar scratching; “Stop This War” by the Seals a throbbing garage proto-punker from 1969 with primal drumming, stabbing guitar and eerie, doomy organ; “It’s War” by the Young Society (one of four bonus tracks on the CD edition) an ambitious piece with a chorus of schoolboy voices, rattling machine guns, diving airplanes, and exploding bombs; and “War History” by a teenage band from Vienna called the Cop Stigh (“a name that means nothing: a group with music that means something,” according to one music magazine at the time), a frustratingly rare single that was released in 1973 but harks back to the psychedelic garage sound of 1968-69 with its simple, catchy riff, driving organ and pounding drums. Another teenage group, the Hush recorded their terrific 1970 single “Giny” in a school classroom; it’s pure psychedelicized beat music with haunting vocals, buzzing fuzz guitar, organ, solid drumming and two wah-wah guitar solos panning left and right to memorable effect.

Alongside all of these amazing underground sounds are some slightly more polished and commercial tracks including Jack Grunsky’s “Sally McGregor,” a beautifully orchestrated pop-psych number with a fine melodic vocal and some trippy production touches, Les Sabres’ “Yes I See” with its brassy horn punctuations, Les Marquis’ evocatively romantic, harmony-rich “Silence on the Shore,” and the V-Rangers’ version of the Ivy League’s “Make Love” a fuzz-powered freakbeat mover with a crazed wah-wah solo.

As the Trash Rock Archives continue to make clear, Austria was a happening place. (Mike Stax)